Aug 1, 2007

The Informal Organization

Well, we all knew it intuitively but it's good to see it confirmed by a large survey. The question is, so what? What will organizations do differently if they see this report?

A new survey
of American workers confirms what many have long suspected: Informal relationships, rather than formal management structures, are where work really gets done, problems are solved and companies gain competitive advantage.

The informal organization is also what keeps people upbeat about work. According to the survey conducted by Katzenbach Partners LLC, a management consulting firm that works with leading global companies to achieve breakthroughs in organizational performance, the informal organization gives workers confidence that they can solve problems and the encouragement that they contribute to their companys success.

The lesson from this research is that the informal organization the way work gets done outside formal organizational charts and processes is real, and that employees recognize it and value it, said Zia Khan, a Principal with Katzenbach Partners, and co-author of a major upcoming report on the informal organization. The question is, does management also value it? Our research shows that the informal organization is a strategic asset executives need to actively manage instead of leaving to chance.