Wall Street Journal / Gary Hamel’s Management 2.0 / March 24, 2009 / 5:38 PM ET
The Facebook Generation vs. the Fortune 500
The experience of growing up online will profoundly shape the workplace expectations of “Generation F” – the Facebook Generation. At a minimum, they’ll expect the social environment of work to reflect the social context of the Web, [snip].
If your company hopes to attract the most creative and energetic members of Gen F, it will need to understand these Internet-derived expectations, and then reinvent its management practices accordingly. [snip]
With that in mind, I compiled a list of 12 work-relevant characteristics of online life. These are the post-bureaucratic realities that tomorrow’s employees will use as yardsticks in determining whether your company is “with it” or “past it.” [snip]
1. All ideas compete on an equal footing. On the Web, every idea has the chance to gain a following—or not, and no one has the power to kill off a subversive idea or squelch an embarrassing debate. [snip]
2. Contribution counts for more than credentials. When you post a video to YouTube, no one asks you if you went to film school. When you write a blog, no one cares whether you have a journalism degree. [snip] . On the Web, what counts is not your resume, but what you can contribute.
3. Hierarchies are natural, not prescribed. In any Web forum there are some individuals who command more respect and attention than others—and have more influence as a consequence. [snip] On the Web, authority trickles up, not down.
4. Leaders serve rather than preside. On the Web, every leader is a servant leader; no one has the power to command or sanction. Credible arguments, demonstrated expertise and selfless behavior are the only levers for getting things done through other people. [snip]
5. Tasks are chosen, not assigned. The Web is an opt-in economy. Whether contributing to a blog, working on an open source project, or sharing advice in a forum, people choose to work on the things that interest them. [snip]
6. Groups are self-defining and -organizing. On the Web, you get to choose your compatriots. In any online community, you have the freedom to link up with some individuals and ignore the rest, to share deeply with some folks and not at all with others. [snip]
7. Resources get attracted, not allocated.In large organizations, resources get allocated top-down, ... [snip]. On the Web, human effort flows towards ideas and projects that are attractive ... and away from those that aren’t. [snip]
8. Power comes from sharing information, not hoarding it. The Web is also a gift economy. To gain influence and status, you have to give away your expertise and content. [snip] Online, there are a lot of incentives to share, and few incentives to hoard.
9. Opinions compound and decisions are peer-reviewed. On the Internet, truly smart ideas rapidly gain a following no matter how disruptive they may be. The Web is a near-perfect medium for aggregating the wisdom of the crowd—whether in formally organized opinion markets or in casual discussion groups.[snip]
10. Users can veto most policy decisions. As many Internet moguls have learned to their sorrow, online users are opinionated and vociferous—and will quickly attack any decision or policy change that seems contrary to the community’s interests. [snip]
11. Intrinsic rewards matter most. The web is a testament to the power of intrinsic rewards. Think of all the articles contributed to Wikipedia, all the open source software created, all the advice freely given— [snip]. Money’s great, but so is recognition and the joy of accomplishment.
12. Hackers are heroes. Large organizations tend to make life uncomfortable for activists and rabble-rousers—however constructive they may be. In contrast, online communities frequently embrace those with strong anti-authoritarian views. On the Web, muckraking malcontents are frequently celebrated as champions of the Internet’s democratic values— [snip]
These features of Web-based life are written into the social DNA of Generation F—and mostly missing from the managerial DNA of the average Fortune 500 company. [snip]