Teaching Young Dogs Old Tricks
Hierarchies have long been the dominant approach among large organizations; most corporations and government agencies still rely on hierarchical structures to control different levels of management, power, and authority. Hierarchical organizations remain popular and successful today for good reason - they are typically easier to coordinate and manage than organic (flat) organizations; however, employees working within bureaucratic structures may find it more difficult to cope with rapid change. Conventional wisdom often asserts that the modern work place needs to change and adapt for the new, younger employees entering the work force. But in large organizations, is it really possible for the work place to adapt to the younger incoming work force? Or does it make more sense for hierarchical organizations to leverage current computer-mediated communication (CMC) technologies to help the new work force readily adapt to the existing work place? This paper will: (1) examine CMC usage in an organizational context, (2) challenge some of the key assumptions made about the effects of CMC on hierarchical structures; and (3) offer evidence to support the argument that large organizations can embrace social media because it is possible to leverage the benefits of new CMC tools to attract and retain new talent without undermining successful established hierarchies.