Mar 24, 2010

IC Class 3 - Social Networks and Competition

So, I derived a pretty good prescriptive idea from reading Stanford's Note on Social Network Structure.

To foster exploration-type product development (use of existing knowledge), build a weak-tie network.

To foster transfer of tacit knowledge, build a strong-tie network.

Structural equivalence is a fascinating new perspective for my strategic tool set. For example, I tended to think of competition in terms of industry or product. Structural equivalence suggests that network similarity defines the real competitor. So, for example, a player occupying overlapping networks and relationships (e.g. b/c they produce similar products and have limited set of suppliers and customers) would be competitors. It's another way of thinking about more traditional concepts applicable to marketing and strategy.


The other day, we were studying strategy mapping in LO. Some students struggled with how map could be appropriately used as a communications tool and executed. Initially, I thought execution was all about metrics used to measure performance (i.e. things that would affect behavior). I was surprised to hear Scott note that in his experience in working with companies, the real value was in fostering conversations about how to implement strategy at the grass roots level. Those companies that were very metrics driven found people gaming the system and abandoned the strategy map. Rather, the real value lay in communications and relationships!!!

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