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Network Work Culture Published: Sunday, October 24, 1999 By: Dr. Manuel Angel Morales

We stress the dimension of relationships as a critical way of inducing an organizational evolution process into a more focused, niche player. The whole reason for a profound work culture transformation process is to bring people together to come up with solutions for the customers. The purpose is to win by being faster, better and smarter. The point is that organizations and human beings achieve a competitive advantage through the way they deal with others. Customer delight, flexibility and good interaction skills are three dominant organizational magnets. For example, individuals with specific, often unique, capabilities come together in a team, which subsequently break up and never work together again. Then, the conditions are set for the emergence of the network work culture.

Here, ad hoc groups and temporary alliances create an organization that ceases to exist after its goal is achieved. This type of organization is innovative and flexible, creating value by bringing together key resources that can have an immediate impact on the market. People in this new culture are pragmatic and trailblazing, with power residing with those who possess required skills and the ability to create strategic alliances. These organizations exist to adapt to constant change. Entertainment, consultancies and construction companies are good examples of this type of culture.

The high-priority attributes of this work culture include establishing new ventures or lines of business; applying innovative technology to new situations; using resources outside the company to get things done; building strategic alliances with other organizations.

The network work culture influences largely through building relationships and more elaborate influence strategies, since a key feature of this organization is that it does not have control over all the resources. Flexibility is very important, but in the core of the organization the thinking skills also need to be adaptable. Thus, the competency known as pattern recognition, which involves being able to produce concepts from unrelated data is even more important.

Within this work culture everything is geared around getting the best people together for specific purpose (making a film, building a road, creating a program, designing an institute) and them, if necessary, disbanding. Pay is very much a question of individual contracts reflecting reputation and potential contribution of actors involved. Base salary, as such, may be a low proportion of the total reward or even non-existent.

In the network culture there is a high degree of self-management. Some organizations are developing this arrangement in its relationship with outside suppliers of work that was formerly done in-house. Contributions are required from all team members in order for the venture to be a success. Communication is situational and informal, and the team leader must provide clear direction in this kind of virtual reality.

 


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