Digital social network technology and the complex organizational systems

Alon Hasgall, Snunith Shoham

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose - In a competitive business environment, organizations must leverage their resources efficiently in order to provide system-wide solutions and maintain the standards all customers expect. To do so, the resources must be integrated; however, the integration of information and resources within organizations has thus far not produced satisfactory results. In contrast, it has been found that efficient, ongoing and timely transfer of information is conducted over the internet. This research seeks to examine whether the use of internet technology within organizations can indeed enhance and streamline the ability of employees to function as fractals in complex organizations. Design/methodology/approach - The research is a qualitative study, allowing for the examination of behavior in the organizational reality as is, by analyzing interviews and observations of over 60 employees in different organizations. Findings - It is found that the ability of a digital social network to create immediate system-wide solutions, together with a management approach that transforms the organization into a complex adaptive system, allows employees to behave as fractals - i.e. to share applied-knowledge, to take responsibility for performance and management of the processes, to update their superiors, and to develop self-management abilities at the local level. Originality/value - Social networks in organizations should be viewed as a shared "knowledge" system. Use of the network is "natural" and less rational and synchronized up front. However, it must be backed by a relevant management culture that enables all employees to serve as fractals in a complex adaptive system. In this manner, employees can contribute personally to work processes, determine their needs, and receive credit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-191
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2007


  • Adaptive system theory
  • Internet
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Social networks


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