Hybrid Intelligence through Business Socialization and Networking: Managing Complexities in the Digital Era

Hybrid Intelligence through Business Socialization and Networking: Managing Complexities in the Digital Era

Jayantha P. Liyanage (University of Stavanger, Norway)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-168-9.ch030


Managing industrial complexities and inherent risks in the modern economic climate has become quite a challenging task for more sectors than ever before. Apart from more formal financial constraints and risks, various industrial environments encounter a wide range of risks and uncertainties due to the inherent dynamics of the business environments. Capitalizing on business opportunities and realizing commercial ambitions in these sensitive business environments demands prudent and innovative solutions to manage different functional and operational modes where resources and capabilities are organized and deployed in a relatively different manner within the business clusters. It not only relies on economical capabilities, but also importantly on technology-dependent social capabilities. Interestingly, this leads to some form of structural re-configuration in a business-to-business transactional context generating an environment of so-called Hybrid Intelligence (Hybrid-I). This chapter explores and elaborates on the Hybrid-I concept as a modern scenario with reference to developments within the offshore oil & gas production sector.
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The global business setting today is subjected to continuous transformative cultures on many fronts. The changes have been quite aggressive in many sectors that notably have been governed by a range of attributes that have emerged from both local and exposed environments. One of the obvious developments includes aggressive technology absorptive trends where technological capability, under current circumstances, represents a modern corporate necessity for risk management, value creation, and thus competitive advantage (Ishikawa & Naka, 2006; Becerra-Fernandez & Leidner, 2008; Burgelman, Christensen, et al., 2009). On the other hand, the socialization interfaces of high-risk and complex businesses in particular have also become very sensitive, which apparently is an obvious development due to advances in information societies and socio-cultural environments in many regions across the globe. The socialization process of such commercial businesses gradually seems to gain momentum, and the developments have begun to occur in many forms and shapes over the last few years (Warschauer, 2004; Kramer, 2010; Klososky, 2011). There is an inherent need today to strategically blend the business development needs, advanced technological platforms, and socialization contexts to create solid growth foundations for those organizations who strive to function with clear foresights and ambitious goals. In a way, these advancements inherit a future-oriented perspective either implicitly or explicitly. The very nature of implicity comes into play as organizations have specific interests in exploring unknown territories to identify hidden risks and opportunities to contribute to business intelligence. The explicity, on the other hand, is driven by the need to stay on a well-defined competitive course based on a set of specific and dedicated action programs to realize a stipulated set of goals or ambitions. This also encompasses a sort of stakeholder perspective where the power distances as well as core capabilities, in respect of business decisions and benefits, come into play, respectively. The stakeholder theory of the firm (Post, Preston, et al., 2002; Friedman & Miles, 2006) clearly indicates the nature and scale in which business transactions are influenced by a growing set of stakeholders as the commercial operations get exposed in socio-economical and socio-political contexts. At the core of these developments, lies the sense of the complexity of modern business life that has own attributes of uncertainty and vulnerability. Based on this perspective, business social networking and socialization processes can be seen as a modern scenario adapted in order to manage the complexities of business-living in the modern digital world (Figure 1), where ‘wrong doing’ induces obvious repercussions resulting in great loss potential to the business advantage and competitive edge.

Figure 1.

Business social networking and socialization processes as a modern scenario to manage inherent complexities arising from socio-economical, socio-political, and socio-technical exposures


Key Terms in this Chapter

Business-Driven Socialization: The socialization processes that are purposely defined, specified, and implemented by an organization to realize implicit or explicit business benefits.

Socialization and Business Social Networking: A purposeful engagement to establish a specific business-driven social structure, or a specific business configuration for that matter, to facilitate the flow of information and knowledge (mostly by use of advanced technological means) that helps support enhanced business intelligence so that it can cope with the complexities and exposures of modern business living.

Socio-Technical Configuration: Physical as well as non-physical arrangements and interfaces made between the social system and the technical system of complex operating environments, taking into consideration various performance influence factors for the purpose of efficiency and effectiveness.

Digital Era: The period where digital technologies play a prominent role in shaping up and regulating the behaviors, performances, standards, etc., of societies, communities, organizations, and individuals.

Integrated eOperations: The advanced operational setting where both production assets and the technical support environment are tightly integrated across technical disciplines and organizations, creating an active collaborative environment around production assets based on enhanced digital capabilities.

Technology Foresight: The visualization, characterization, and prediction of the future technology.

Human-Technology Fusion: Mapping, analysis, and incorporation of human factors and technological features in the design and operation of complex technical systems so that suitable and necessary interactions can be ensured to achieve required performance levels.

Hybrid Intelligence: Co-living of organizational agents, technological components, and sociological processes in harmony creating a highly dynamic environment and complex structural configurations that actively support learning, understanding, reasoning, and decision making processes formally and/or informally, pursuing the very purpose of acquiring core knowledge for cooperation-based competitivity, critical for performance excellence and sustainability.

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