Is Your Company Culture Linked to Social Learning Success?

A wonderful article was recently posted by Marcia Conner and Steve LeBlanc over at Fast Company entitled “Where Social Learning Thrives“. The entire piece purports that a fun, productive and consistent culture will help ensure social learning takes flight.

What struck me, however, is the following line itself:

Social learning thrives in a culture of service and wonder. It is inspired by leaders, enabled by technology and ignited by opportunities that have only recently unfolded.

There are those companies that certainly have instilled a fun, productive and consistent culture (see Zappos, SouthWest Airlines, Google, etc.) but what happens to your social learning quest if your company culture is, well … anti-fun, anti-productive and anti-consistent?

Is it the CLO who single handedly is required to change the culture, in order to ensure social learning thrives?

Will the social learning quest succeed if the executives don’t help foster the ‘culture of collaboration’, connected by fun, productive and consistent attributes?

Frankly speaking, the 90-9-1 phenomenon scares me greatly. If a company’s culture is one that is suppressed, or driven by a ‘culture of fear’, there is no way 90-9-1 improves, and to me, there is a very difficult path ahead to drive the social learning quest itself.

I am a firm believer in social learning. I am an advocate, a poster boy, a model citizen describing its inherent benefits. If the culture of a company, however, is riddled with apathy, even bleeding edge people like me could find the ultimate success of the social learning quest extremely difficult to achieve.

What do you think? Is your company culture linked to how successful your various social learning/media/networking initiatives, projects and actions will be?

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2 comments on “Is Your Company Culture Linked to Social Learning Success?”

  1. Dan, I also loved Marcia and Steve’s article. It’s been a while since anyone injected feelings into the success formula.

    As a “1”, the 90-9-1 rule drives me nuts. Then I remember that this snapshot of “participation inequality” was taken before social networks became part of our lives. Way back when people believed Jakob Nielsen’s pronouncements.

    You and I probably both remember the days when many “communities” turned out to be ghost towns. There are still plenty of ghost towns — but that’s in part due to the fact that you can set up a community on, say, Ning, in a few minutes.

    What would you guess the participation ratios would be for Facebook? Twitter? 1-9-90 is dated.

    There’s hope for 20-70-10.


  2. hey jay – yes, many ‘communities’ remind me of downtown detroit … full of promise, but mostly abandoned

    twitter seems to be at a 40-40-20 ratio (some data points here

    facebook seems to be at a a 40-50-10 ratio (with some rudimentary user math applied to these stats

    truly there is hope for 20-70-10, but frankly speaking, I’d love it to be in the neighbourhood of 0-70-30 by the year 2015

Hey! I'd love to read what you think. Surely you have an opinion. Love, Dan.