Schlagwort-Archive: Openness

Properties of a network

The boundaries of companies dissolve in favor of cross-border networks. Actors and relationships, interests and data, expectations and information, business models and knowledge find their way on the Internet. Joining an online community can make the difference for individuals and groups. Whether private or business – it is helpful to know the new realities, the properties of a network.

The effects of the net can be better exploited, if you know its characteristics.

  • Size
    The number of actors/nodes amount to the size of the network. The more participants, the greater the benefit of the network. Additional offers, which exceed the actual purpose, expand the scope of application. A historical example illustrates the importance of size: the more people with a telephone, the more people can be reached, the more people have a telephone and the more services (e.g. information, routing, wake-up calls, telephone counseling) can be marketed. Based on the Dunbar number, the natural limit of social relationships is 150 persons, between 100 and 250. Based on the average number of Facebook friends per user of over 300 (between 250 and 500) you can presume that in the social networks of the Internet the Dunbar number doubles.
  • Density
    The actors become interconnected with one another to a more or less close meshed network. The number of actual relationships between the actors/nodes together with the possible number of connections determine the density of meshing. If the resulting connectivity is very dense, the network has a great impact on each individual. Loose attachment appears in the lack of social relationships and subsequently with frustration as well as isolation. The density can be represented by the number of relationships in respect to the possible relationships – e.g. a network of 8 people has (8-1) * (8/2) = 28 possible relationships; in this example all people are centrally only linked to one person, but not to each other, resulting in 7 relationships; this corresponds to a density of 0.25.
  • Openness
    The relationships that get out of the network determine the degree of openness. Prerequisite is the definition of the network boundaries. In companies, they are today much more permeable due to partnerships, joint ventures and outsourcing. The project relationships lead to frequent changes of the network members. The openness results from the number of external relationships in respect to the possible relationships. They are double-edged. On the one hand, a network gains new ideas and members through openness. On the other hand, experiences and insights unintentionally flow out of the network, and people get the opportunity to exert undesirable influence through openness.
  • Perseverance
    Networks have a certain life of their own because of the large number of actors. Perseverance describes the degree of stability. It results from the increase of members and relationships, the changing degree of formal structure, and the general direction, i.e. growth, consolidation or shrinkage of the network Too much change endangers the perseverance and results in the formation of new networks or internal group building.
  • Speed
    The time it takes to bring insights to all nodes defines the speed. This information flows through the relationships. With respective channels, actors can communicate in different ways, such as email, intranet, or by exchanging ideas. The distribution can take place by pull or push principle. The pull principle is based on information needs – knowledge is obligation to search; trigger is the target audience; mostly bottom-up. The push principle is aligned to the needs for informing – knowledge is an obligation to deliver; triggers are the information sources; mostly top-down. Built-in feedback, such as receipt confirmation or collection of comments, allow assumptions about the speed.

Bottom line: The network is the most likely organizational format in times of VUCA. The membership benefits are determined primarily by the number of users. Other characteristics are the density, openness, perseverance and the speed of the information flow. Although the network properties allow a better control, it is still necessary to continuously observe and evaluate the network due to the self-organizing members.


Companies that already exist and grew for a long time mastered many challenges – changed market requirements, new technologies, and various cooperation styles. Over time these companies developed a custom-made armor of rules and stipulations of organizational structures and procedures, which should cover, if possible, every eventuality. As the armament of a knight meant an additional weight of 30 kg, the enterprises also carry around enormous ballast of guidelines. Even if this armor is adapted to the proportions of its user, it limits the mobility and thus creates certain fragility. How to get rid off the “Fr”?

An armament consists of different metal plates that were forged for certain parts of the body of a distinct person – the helmet, the piece of chest, the arm things, the thigh cover, the elbow, the knee piece, the leg tube and much more. Also the enterprise develops internally regulations for its different areas. In order to become agile it is crucial, to consider the following aspects.

  • Vision
    The picture of an ideal, in the future agile state of the enterprise forms the basis for the renouncement of over years developed, detailed determinations. The vision is built upon the ideal employee conception, the other resources and the customer-oriented cooperation. The elements that obstruct this vision have to be dissolved.
  • Convictions
    All involved people developed by and by mindsets that disturb the agilization. The employees have to let the expectation go that they have to be motivated, trained and assigned from the outside. The managers must let go that they directly steer, control, and sanction the employees. The magic word of the future is self-organization.
  • Intrinsic motivation
    In order to keep the momentum in an enterprise, appropriate extrinsic rewards and incentives were developed – the payment, the bonus, the career, and the training. In self-organization other incentives that drive the employee from the inside become important – the satisfaction to accomplish an activity, to have a skill, being able to satisfy one’s curiosity or to be able to reach a personal purpose with the activity.
  • Trust
    The company owners have to carry out the greatest deal of trust. They can’t avoid to give up the direct influence and to believe that the internal society, the employees, steer the economic fate in such a way that the enterprise remains economically viable and lucrative. The confidence that the intrinsic motivation guarantees the necessary employee interaction and that way productive results appear spontaneously is the pre-requisite for the fact that the employees after all get the chance to prove themselves.
  • Organizational openness
    To open the existing chain mail, in order to let evolve the possibility for self-organized networking and team building, requires great courage. The corporate DNA is burned into the consciousness of the employees in such a way that it requires a large effort to get away from the cherished sense of security. One company and two approaches require neutral zones, where the employees can try themselves out, without having to follow the established, old way.
  • Governance
    The introduction of a fundamental set of rules that describes briefly and easy to understand the new principles, the ways of alignment, the common view and clear tasks, authority and responsibility, is an important pre-requisite. It is conceivable to introduce special areas, as China did with its special economic zones (e.g. Shenzhen, Hainan, and Hong Kong). In this area completely new approaches can be tested – Holacracy, pods, platforms.
  • Platform
    Self-organized units are focused on their topic. Repeating activities and generally needed services disturb thereby. For this reason, it is smart to liberate the teams from certain basic tasks. The bundling of these items in a platform increases the effectiveness of the units. In the platform you can find standardized procedures and tools as a service – IT, infrastructure, logistics, etc.

In the course (Fr)agility, the employees consist not only of the executing people, but also the steering ones, the so-called management. The upcoming loss of power that results from the self-organization is the largest challenge, since guidance results in the future out of context and no more from the classical career. The person will lead, who inspires and engages people at most and no more the best adapted careerist.

Bottom line: The (Fr)agility of companies is determined by the armament that limits the mobility. This includes the structures and procedures, the established set of rules that tries to regulate every detail. In order to create the transformation to an agile organization, it needs a vision, common convictions, an intrinsic motivation, trust, an organizational openness, governance and a common platform that is available for the agile units. The agility is threatened by those, who loose the most – the leaders. For this reason, they need perspectives that show them opportunities for survival.