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More on “engage and collaborate” vs. “command and control”

In response to a semi-rhetorical question I posed in my post on Enterprise 2.0 research last week, Niall Cook comments:

You ask: “…what will be lost or gained in the process of force-fitting the “engage and collaborate” functions and culture into the “command and control” of top-down IT directives?”

Simple. The users.

Well, yes, but it is more complex than that. Just as there are good and not-so-good uses of, e.g., wikis (or any technology of course) in enterprises, there are also good and not-so-good uses of policies, procedures, and organizational structures in enterprises. While I agree that there is usually way too much command and control, there are situations where it is just what you want (nuclear plant safety procedures, etc.). We are in the early days yet of figuring out where and how all these 2.0 technologies can be usefully applied, and what corporate culture changes will result.

Part of the debate is continuing with a bit of back and forth between Andrew McAfee and Tom Davenport.


  1. Niall Cook

    Agreed. My comment was of course exaggerated to make the point that try to “force-fit” informal systems into formal ones will almost always result in people feeling dis-enfranchised by the process.

  2. wirearchy

    I have often used the phrase “champion-and-channel” as a counterpoint to “command-and-control”. As in champion ideas and initiatives, and channel resources to said initiatives to see if they develop, and support them further if they do.
    Both are necessary, and it will IMO become a leadership / management challenge as Ent 2.0 continues to evolve to be able to choose which mode is most useful when and why.

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