Forbes posts corporate orgporn

Via CV Harquail, a new peephole in the quest for orgporn:

It’s a new way to tap the collective knowledge of our community about the internal network of any company–so new that we are introducing it not only in beta form but in early beta. We know it’s a work in progress, and we want your help to make it better. Wiki away and let us know how we’re doing.

This is an experiment in collaborative problem solving, where our goal is to create something of great value to the whole web community. While it may be tempting for some to erroneously delete people and to create mock titles for others, we hope the community will protect the integrity of this experiment. Thank you for your support!

Not sure what Forbes are thinking with this, but many companies strive to keep their org charts secret as a safeguard against recruiting, competitors poaching their people, and indicators of strategy.  That said, I like it.

3 responses to “Forbes posts corporate orgporn

  1. Towards Discovering Organizational Structure from Email Corpus
    Ding Zhou, Yang Song, Ya Zhang, and Hongyuan Zha
    1 August 2005

    Email logs people’s communication history which provides valuable information regarding the infrastructure of an organization. … Experimental studies are carried out by applying the framework to Enron email corpus
    http://research.microsoft.com/apps/pubs/default.aspx?id=78967

    But, actually, back in the late 1980s, when I was posting to The WELL, I interviewed (via email) two researchers, Jerry J. Vaske and Charles E. Grantham, did this, mapped the real lines of communication in a corporation by tracking the To: and From: fields in emails.

    We have fifty stars in nice alternating rows and columns in the corner of the American flag. Is that a “map” of the states? Then we have the geography that shows Portland, Oregon, “closer” to Idaho than it is to Ann Arbor. Do you agree?

    Org charts are just someone’s theoretical — though neither empirical or rational — construct.

    • Somewhere else I wrote about the map not being the territory and orgporn being clues rather than representations of fact. Rather than providing answers, these bits of information enable better questions. In that context, the American flag–far more than almost any other flag–would give some useful clues to someone who didn’t know much about the US and was trying to construct a picture. Admittedly, that example works better if you don’t use a country that everyone on the face of the planet knows, but the point is that any map is more or less a set of clues rather than a definitive answer.

      Org charts are interesting to me as a starting point. They almost never describe the true power structure of the organization, but they provoke questions about relationships and oversight. And yes, they are very much theoretical constructs.

  2. Pingback: Week in Public Organizations, 7Jun2009 « PublicOrgTheory

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