HR.com recently had an interview with Karen Stephenson, the professorial founder of NetForm and the leading thinker in social network analysis.
Dr. Stephenson notoriously doesn’t publish anything, preferring to patent her ideas. I think that she has combined hierarchy and social network into something more powerful. Jaques & Co. always needed something to counterbalance the top-down mentality and social network theory is probably it. She even makes the point that hierarchies are a form of network.
I’ve been wondering aloud whether or not hierarchies aren’t really an emergent form. As such, we should expect to see power laws at work in Jaques’s findings. Which we do. Kind of. I would expect to see a different set of years attached to strata, though, with top numbers for longest tasks associated with the strata thus:
- 1 year
- 2 years
- 4 years
- 8 years
- 16 years
- 32 years
- 64 years
- etc. ….
That’s not what he found, but then again, Rowbottom and Billis couldn’t replicate his longest task findings for Stratum 5 and above, either. (See Billis’s somewhat recent paper on that. No, I don’t know where to find it.)
I’ll summarize what I can find later. Right now, here are the very few places you can read mre about it:
- CIO Magazine. “Mapping the Invisible Workplace” by Carol Hildebrand. 1998 July 15.
- Financial Times. “OFFICE NETWORKS: Tending the grapevine“. 1998 November 6. Republished at NetForm website.
- de Lisser, Eleena. “The Corporate Jungle: Anthropologists Find Business; Studying Company Inefficiencies“.The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition. 1998 September 28. Republished at NetForm website.
- “Making Companies Efficient: The year downsizing grew up“.The Economist. 1998 December 21. Republished at NetForm website.
Anyone recall the assignee for these patents she’s supposed to have? I could have sword I’d found them one day during a search of either the US or EU patent offices. Now I can’t recall what they were and I can’t find them in the USP&T databases.