What I like about this article (well-worth reading the full story on the Wharton site) - is the focus on communication, people, and (perhaps implied) constructing a sense of community around the mission. In some organizations that I talked to as part of the social networking field research study, a resurgence in communication and employee engagement works well when it is not "at" workers but "with" workers. Enabling participatory cultures within organizations augments communication and employee engagement efforts - more effective and sustainable for both employee and employer. What do I mean by “participatory culture”? I am building off the work of Henry Jenkins, Director MIT Comparative Media Studies Program:
“A participatory culture has relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations, and some type of informal mentorship whereby the most experienced members pass along knowledge to novices. A participatory culture also is one where members believe their contributions matter and feel some degree of social connection with one another. Participatory culture shifts the focus of literacy from individual expression to community involvement.”
Threshold, Spring 2009, http://www.ciconline.org/threshold
Thinking-out-loud, I believe this line-of-thought is applicable within the enterprise and enhances what people describe as Enterprise 2.0 - if you stretch is just a bit to not only focus on literacy but also include relationships and the systems of meaning that evolve through creative expression and community involvement. If we agree on that, then we can think of participatory cultures as it applies to certain aspects of what DuPoint CEO Ellen Kullman points out in two of her principles related to communication and mission (reading in-between the lines on my part):
DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman's Four Principles for Moving Ahead during Turbulent Times - Knowledge@Whart
..... Speaking at the recent 13th Annual Wharton Leadership Conference, co-sponsored by the Center for Human Resources and the Center for Leadership & Change Management, Kullman described how she changed the company's thinking about its business model, while reinforcing its 200-year-old culture of innovation. "The question is, given the megatrends in the world and given the new economy, what changes do we have to make to continue to be successful?
..... Kullman identified three trends that would transcend the current crisis and provide a strategic framework for the company's annual $1.4 billion investment in research and development -- increasing agricultural productivity, reducing dependence on fossil fuels and protecting lives.
..... But organizing the company to respond to these long-term trends during a period of extreme uncertainty required strong leadership and specific initiatives "to change the way we think," said Kullman, who joined DuPont in 1988 as a marketing manager for medical imaging, and was named executive vice president and a member of the office of chief executive in 2006, and president in October 2008. Prior to joining DuPont, Kullman, who has a B.S. in engineering from Tufts and a master's in management from Northwestern, worked at GE. She shared four leadership principles that she has implemented to guide DuPont through the financial crisis since October 2008.
..... The first principle: Focus on what you can control. Kullman realized she needed to shift the company's attention from what was going wrong to the immediate action required to protect DuPont's financial position as revenues fell dramatically. "Last October, I saw a lot of people who looked scared and didn't know what to do," she said. So, she directed DuPont's management to "figure out those ... things we can do something about, and get about doing them."
..... The second of her leadership principles for the crisis has been to "adopt a new trajectory by rethinking your business model." For DuPont, that meant "getting people to think differently" about a business model that had always measured success based on plant capacity and capital investment: "We invent, we build, we make, we sell," Kullman said.
..... Kullman's third crisis leadership principle: Communication is key. "I'm a firm believer that there is a direct correlation between growth and the success of our communication. When we have an aligned team that understands" very clearly what the goals and the tradeoffs are, "that's when things can absolutely happen," Kullman said.
..... The last of her four crisis leadership principles is to maintain pride around the company's mission. "There's nothing like a bad economy to get people confused about what their mission is. They start thinking their mission is to reduce cost. That's a tactic, that's not our mission,' Kullman said.
..... During informal weekly meetings with employees, Kullman said she was amazed that the "number one question was about whether we are going to stick with our mission." She quickly realized that "people are scared [and] people want direction." Making sure that people understand the mission -- and linking their daily activities to the company's broader purpose -- is essential to reducing fear, maintaining morale and keeping employees motivated, Kullman said.