“Unleashing the Power of the Informal Organization”
In the August 1, 2010 issue of HR Executive Magazine, Booz & Company’s August Vlak, Scott Thomas and Efram Lebovits wrote that companies returning to long-term performance and good health “will need to embrace both formal and informal structures” present in every organization. To do so, “anxieties must be counter-balanced with more positive emotions, and it is up to HR leaders to support and guide managers to engage employees in the turnaround,” the Booz & Company authors added. So in addition to formal organizational mechanisms, they wrote that companies should consider using a four-pronged attack based on: instilling pride in the organization, developing values behind which everyone can rally, capitalizing on informal organizational networks (especially central “hubs”) to accelerate the rate of change and make the changes “viral,” and instilling pride in the work itself. “By harnessing the untapped potential in the informal organization, in conjunction with traditional formal structures, companies can revitalize their workforces and put themselves in position to emerge stronger than ever,” they add.