Business and Social Media: Collaboration for the Sixth Discipline

Business and Social Media: Collaboration for the Sixth Discipline

Kate Andrews (University of Phoenix, USA) and Bethany Mickahail (University of Phoenix, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8182-6.ch052
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During the 21st century, businesses benefit from two key components of effective innovation: social media and collaboration. This chapter provides an in-depth analysis to study the interrelatedness of these components. Featured in this chapter are classroom exercises to deepen the learning of students. By providing multiple recent social media examples, the reality of the integral ways in which social media permeates our lives is delivered. Introduced in the chapter is a sixth discipline, an extension of Senge's five disciplines of collaboration. Through the presentation of a new leadership model based upon the six disciplines, the impact of social media is examined. The conclusion of the chapter contains definitions of the concepts introduced. The use of social media has been and still remains a strategically keen tool in business effectiveness.*
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Social Media and Business

During the 21st century, businesses have benefited from the use of two key interventions: social media and collaboration. What is included in the context of social media? We can only say what is included today because tomorrow will bring new innovations. Social media uses any form of electronic communication connectivity used to enhance collaboration and sharing of information through the internet. Technical support for social media are electronic tools such as, smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. Technical tools that are digitally connected to social media venues are those such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google +, Pinterest, Clouds, and Reddit feeds (Mickahail & Andrews, 2015). These are the well-known social media of today but for tomorrow, the trends reported are wearables, drivables, flyables, and scannables. Present day examples are Google glasses and watches (the purchase and use of wearables has doubled every month since 2012), self-propelled cars (prototypes are running in California), personal drones, and bar code futures (Meeker & Wu, 2013).

There is no question that the use of social media is a strategic direction for business. As the latest innovations enter the market during each business cycle, the reasons for business utilization of social media proliferate. “Consider recent statistics, the number of mobile connected technological devices count more than the number of the entire population of the earth (Cisco, 2013). The average users of cell phones check their text, phone, and Internet contacts on their phones 150 times per day (Meeker & Wu, 2013). Fifty billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020 (Vestberg as cited in GIGAcom, 2013). The average North American uses a mobile device 141 minutes a day and 90% of all Internet traffic in 2017 will be video (Advertising Age Mobile Fact Pack, 2013). Globally, the US ranks 10 in the number of new Internet users from 2008-2012 while China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Russia, Nigeria, are all above the US (Meeker & Wu, 2013). From these predictions and facts, it is clear that social media as a corporate tool for profit, is growing exponentially every year” (Mickahail & Andrews, 2015).

Social Media for Business Innovation-Senge’s Disciplines and Collaboration

Senge first brought the terminology of disciplines as they relate to learning organizations to the forefront as the preeminent guru in his 1990 work, The Fifth Discipline. Senge’s five disciplines are needed for developing modern collaborations for innovation and fostering essential change in business delivery models through social media.

The five disciplines cultivate what Senge (1990) called learning organizations. The disciplines are personal mastery, mental models, shared vision building, team learning that together form systems thinking, which is needed for necessary change. “All five of Senge’s core learning capabilities are actionable collaboration in culture, dialogue, and context revealing the potential of globalization in how we interact with social media (Mickahail & Andrews, 2015).

Because Senge’s (2013) core learning capabilities are tied together with collaboration, a case can be made that collaboration is the sixth discipline for 21st century business innovation. Caldecott (2013) wrote that the success of Inventor Thomas Edison’s “collaborative culture” nurtured 20th century innovation. Senge’s ideas support Edison’s in promoting a growing culture of team communication and collaboration and subsequent business innovation that meets consumer needs of the 21st century and beyond.

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