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IBM CEO study: Command & control meets collaboration

A new study from IBM Corp. of more than 1,700 Chief Executive Officers from 64 countries and 18 industries worldwide, reveals that CEOs are changing the nature of work by adding a powerful dose of openness, transparency and employee empowerment...


May 23, 2012  


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A new study from IBM Corp. of more than 1,700 Chief Executive Officers from 64 countries and 18 industries worldwide, reveals that CEOs are changing the nature of work by adding a powerful dose of openness, transparency and employee empowerment to the command-and-control ethos that has characterized the modern corporation for more than a century, the company says.

Findings revealed that companies that outperform their peers are 30% more likely to identify openness –- often characterized by a greater use of social media as a key enabler of collaboration and innovation —  as a key influence on their organization. 

“To forge closer connections with customers, partners and a new generation of employees in the future, CEOs will shift their focus from using e-mail and the phone as primary communication vehicles to using social networks as a new path for direct engagement,” IBM said in a release.

“Today, only 16% of CEOs are using social business platforms to connect with customers, but that number is poised to spike to 57% within the next three to five years. While social media is the least utilized of all customer interaction methods today, it stands to become the number two organizational engagement method within the next five years, a close second to face-to-face interactions.”

Coming after decades of top-down control, the shift has substantial ramifications – not just for the CEOs themselves – but for their organizations, managers, and employees, as well as for universities and business schools, and information technology suppliers, it added.

IBM’s research finds that technology is viewed as a powerful tool to recast organizational structures. More than half of CEOs (53%) are planning to use technology to facilitate greater partnering and collaboration with outside organizations, while 52% are shifting their attention to promoting great internal collaboration.

“One of the most compelling findings is how in tune CEOs are about the implications and impact of social media,” said Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Global Business Services. “Rather than repeating the familiar lament about de-personalizing human relationships, this view leans heavily in favor of deepening them, and using dynamic social networks to harness collective intelligence to unlock new models of collaboration.”