The post below is worth reading. The issue of (in this case, successful use of wikis) culture is critically important when forming, nurturing and sustaining collaboration strategies. A key point is to understand the influence of "directed" collaboration versus "volunteered" collaboration. If we go back to the definition of Enterprise 2.0, one concept that anchors the meme is the notion of "emergence". Enterprise 2.0, by its very definition, does not address all types of collaboration. If I use a wiki within a business process where people are directed by role, workflow and functional needs of the procedure - that's not all that emergent at all - in fact, it's not really a valid Enterprise 2.0 use case scenario. But it is indeed use of a wiki for collaboration and it can thrive without the culture issues that this post correctly points out. However, it the wiki was open and allowed participation from others in the organization even though their role, workflow or functional duties did not direct them to interact with that wiki group - well, now we have crossed over into the emergence aspects of Enterprise 2.0 - and, we're back to "the culture thing". So you can see how tools, context and whether the interaction pattern is directed or volunteered all collide with each other. So some key points:
1. Not all collaboration is Enterprise 2.0. Enterprise 2.0 addresses a key facet of collaboration that involves social software and "emergence".
2. Tools are tools. Tools in-and-of-themselves do not signal an Enterprise 2.0 solution.
3. You can be very successful in use tools associated with E2.0 (blogs, wikis, tag and social bookmarks, etc) even in situations where culture is "unhealthy" - and when participation is more or less "directed" by role, workflow, and functional duties.
4. To enable higher levels of participation and influence people to volunteer their contributions, then culture issues do indeed come to the forefront - you have entered the "E2.0 Zone" which involves not just tools, but addressing culture and other types of organizational dynamics.
5. If you think just tossing tools out there makes you "Enterprise 2.0" - that view is dead wrong. More on this perspective can be found in an earlier post, "Why Is Social Software So Important" which I recommend reading.
Transparent Office: Culture is a destination not a starting point
I was just checking out the results of the recent AIIM Survey on Enterprise 2.0. (My company, Socialtext, was one of the underwriters.) There's a lot of great material there about how managers perceive Enterprise 2.0. I was particularly struck by how prominently culture appears as a theme in the responses. There is a view out there that an organization needs to have a "culture of collaboration" culture in order to successfully employ wikis and other Enterprise 2.0 tools.
That view is dead wrong. I've seen wikis thrive in un-collaborative cultures. I've seen wikis fail in collaborative cultures. I've seen wikis thrive in an organization alongside failing wikis in the same organization.