Social Networking Sites: Power and responsibility at work

Social networks are providing tremendous opportunities for people to collaborate. But until now, thinking has focused only on how organisations can respond to and capitalise on networks. This new report by Demos argues that we have to look equally at how networks use organisations for their own ends. Encouraging employees to use networking technologies to build relationships and closer links with colleagues and customers could help businesses rather than damage them. Authors Peter Bradwell and Richard Reeves reveal that while companies are using specific systems to share information, online social networking sites could also play a role, helping with productivity, innovation and democratic working. That is where the new contours of inequality and power lie that will shape the network world. We have to face networks’ dark side, as well as their very real potential. Bringing together in-depth case studies of six organisations, Network Citizens maps the key fault-lines that people and organisations will have to address in the future world of work. Not doing so puts at risk the very qualities we had invested in them: openness, innovation, collaboration and meritocracy. Since networks can act for good or ill, incubating the talents and ideas of the many, or promoting the interests of the few, the need for a new set of responsibilities is growing. If we are network members, we must be network citizens, too.

The full report can be downloaded for free: