Community management Vs Socio-Collaborative management : how to make the right choice


I already wrote how dangerous it was to use community management for every kind of purpose, and that instead of seing communities everywhere (which need community managers), enterprises have to learn to recognize groups who only need a “simple” manager who’s doing his job right.

Using social platforms in the context of teamwork has a purpose : increase both individual and collective performance and I can’t imagine that a manager will let a community manager speak to his staff, start discussions or even try a grab a bit of their time. That’s not the purpose and, anyway, legitimity and competences related issues will quickly emerge. Exchanges, discussions, will be driven by people everyday’s work, by social routine,  and in no way by marketing and communication established as a managent model.

On the other hand, there a cases when the purpose is to make a group emerge, convince them, make them aware of something… where community management is the right choice.

In the on case, a community manager, a “communication perso”, will be needed. In the other, it will be a manager (THE manager) who should has improved his practices, heading to what we could call management 2.0, social management or whatever you want. Reminding of the brillant speach of Andrew McAfee at the last enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston and the discussions that followed, above all on twitter, I’ll suggest socio-collaborative management. Quite a bit longer but more meaningful, and does not sound “buzzy” than social. Anyway, it doesn’t matter since it’s nothing more than a manager with an improved toolbox (on both behavioral and technical sides).

So we need to know what’s the difference between community management and socio-collaborative management in order to make the right choices and apply the right model to each case. By the way, knowing how many people are offering community management services to businesses that are totally lost, it may be a good anti-quack weapon.

Community ManagementSocio-Collaborative Management / Management 2.0
Kind of 'social group'People one need to sensibilize or make exchange on a given subject. Not necessarily related to their position / roleExisting team with an clear assigned objective in terms of production/delivery they have to meet together. Department / team / project team.
Objective of the social groupExchange, discuss, explain, understand, make people aware of something.Meet objectives, reach a goal (one-off or recurring)
Publication of contentsTop-down, hoping members will also do so. Contents of all kinds, various, studied. Seldom spontaneous.Bottom-up or horizontal, factual, raw. Sometimes spontaneous because driven by action.
Scope of the social groupMay be restricted to a defined category of people or open to whoever wants. No strict boundaries in theory (but sometimes practically in its managers' mind).Clear boundaries based on the belonging to a team / project.
What drives participationPeople feel like participating / being a part of...Execution of assigned / everyday tasks
What prevents from participatingLack of time / interestTool is irrilevant regarding to people need / actual business practices
Expected participationThe "famous" 1-9-90. Optional.100% (subject for employee's lack of engagement what is a problem on its own) because related to what people are assigned to do and are paid for. Not optional.
The social groupNearly a project and a purpose by itselfA mean to meet objectives.
Manager's activityCommunicating / making people aware of something, appeal to people, create interest and participation. His activity counts a lot in the community's global activity.Facilitate his staff's work, bring solutions. His activity may be qualitatively important but not necessarily quantitatively. In a "good" team, things are supposed to go on even if the manager is inactive for a while.
Profil du managerCommunication personTraditional manager, project manager.
Manager's responsibilityMeans obligation. If nobdoy's interested, if people have no time to participate or if management don't let them do so, even the best community manager will fail.Results obligation provided the tools and the way they're used bring a real and quantifiable benefit that staff identify at first sight.

Let’s be clear : communicating, explaining things, delivering a message and answering employee’s questions during a merger is about community manageamnt, your staff’s work is about socio-collabortive management and open innovation uses both.

Believe me or not, but it seems to me that the most common cause of failure for projets aiming at implementing a social platform is not that people did one or the other, but that they applied the methods that apply to one to the other…and vice-versa, for reasons like bad counsel, lack of understanding or fear of dealing with people day-to-day work.