In the 21st century, the idea of leadership development is related to social networking. Society is looking for ways of changing; modifying, improving or transforming things in terms of the social, economic, structural, political and cultural causes of the problems and environment in which we live. Cyber communication gives us the opportunity to connect with people (customers, employees, leaders, friends, community) directly and indirectly. Not in just a one-way, but a two-way conversation.” Leaders today are expected to be customer-centric and responsive, and social media helps them to meet and exceed these expectations. Social media helps companies to find out what their customers really think. This helps leaders make decisions that better support with customers’ emerging needs. Cyber communication helps leaders stay on top of trends in their industry like never before. This helps leaders see new opportunities for growth. Social media delivers news fast.
This means leaders hear about issues early and can respond before they become big problems. Many leaders today feel isolated. Every day we show up and work hard, but we feel disconnected from our colleagues and peers. Cyber communication can be a simple and effective way to connect leaders across your organization and even outside it. Social media also allows you to share information before, during and after formal development activities. It’s a great way to prepare leaders for development and an even better way to sustain momentum after a program ends. You can even use social media to let leaders help you design your leadership development programs. Leaders can talk about topics that matter to them and reach out to get advice from one another, and if you participate in this conversation, you’ll learn how to make development programs more relevant to their needs.
Leadership development practitioners are increasingly interested in cyber communication as a way to strengthen relationships among leaders in communities, and organizations. Evaluating leadership networks is a challenge for leadership development. Social network analysis (SNA) is an approach that uses to represent the structure of relationships between people, organizations, goals, interests, and other entities within a larger system. In this article we describe core social network concepts and the application of them to understand the effect of cyber communication on leadership development.
Key words: Leader, leadership development, cyber communication, social networking, bonding, bridging, network building, network analysis, network savvy, scalability of networking, social capital.
The cyber communication provides innumerable possibilities for growth among youth, benefit such as social support, identity, exploration, and development of interpersonal thinking skills, educational benefits, academic support and worldwide cross-cultural interaction. Online social networking allows people to connect with each other. This concept arises from basic need of human beings to stay together in groups forming a community. Wikipedia defines social network service as online platform that focus on building and reflecting social networks or social relations among people who share interests and activities. Social networking sites, mobile phones email, instant messaging, video- and photo- sharing sites and comment posting are all tools that help people to communicate and socialize with each other and are the elements of reach social development. In fact little research has been conducted on the subject. Researchers have suggested that the excessive busy life of human beings made them to depend on the new technologies.
This article will address the following questions:
Network analysis to understand leadership development
It is the process of getting useful, accurate information about leader’s organization network by looking at the connections between people. It allows leaders to see the networks within their organization, identify leverage points, and assess change in networks over time. The analysis of organizational networks starts with a close look at the people-systems involved, the organization’s strategy, the critical challenges facing the organization, and the boundaries that need to be spanned to enact the strategy and address these challenges. Understanding the context and what is happening in the organization (through observation, interviews, focus groups, and other qualitative approaches) provides the information needed to ask appropriate and informative questions that reveal the key network connections. Different types of connections or ties can be mapped through network analysis, including communication, leadership, energy, creativity, development, and culture. It is useful to examine a range of networks and levels to gain insight into the challenges facing the organization. In fact, strategic leadership development and organizational transformations are enhanced when leaders explore their own personal networks, plus group and organizational level networks. Although the results of a network analysis can yield immediate insights, careful interpretation based on an understanding of the people-systems and organizational strategy is required in order to make sound system.
Bonding and Bridging
Bonding and bridging are two different kinds of connectivity. Bonding denotes connections in a tightly knit group. Bridging denotes connections to diverse others. These terms are commonly used in the social capital literature (Putnam, 2001). In the SNA and cyber communication literature, bonding and bridging are often called “closure” and “brokerage” respectively (Burt, 2005). It also explains “strong ties” and “weak ties” are important related SNA concepts that we incorporate into our bonding–bridging usage (Granovetter, 1983). Analyzing network data to measure bonding and bridging helps to predict important outcomes for the leaders. The extent to which bonding or bridging occurs in a network often represents an intermediary outcome of leadership development.
Dimension of Leadership Development
Leaders are involved at different levels in taking care of the human person in educational sector, in the health sector, in social aid sector or in whatever other sector that directly or very concretely affects the human dimension. Here two dimensions to be cleared.
a) The first one is to try to more forward and to make progress in their own way of working, communication and of tackling matters.No matter whatever their working condition and working situation.
b) Another dimension is related to the experience, environment, the problems the situation they face. They are looking for ways of changing; modifying, improving or transforming things in terms of the actual social, economic structural, political and cultural causes of the problems and environment in which they live.
Cyber Communication supports the Leaders
The term cyber communication is freely used by everyone in modern society, including members of the general public, scholars and management practitioners. Communication is defined as the interaction, giving and taking of information, sending and receiving of messages through verbal and non verbal means. A function of cyber communication varies as one must determine the function of the communication. It is known as the primary function and in certain circumstances the situation or position may have one, two or three other secondary function. For example, informing, controlling, persuading and co-ordinating. In cyber form of communication, there is a sender and receiver of the message. The question of whether the message is sent and how the message is received is of vital importance in communication. Cyber communication is successful only when the receiver receives the intended message of the sender. The simplest way can be followed.
Mobilize more people to your cause: A Case Study
Network strategies and platforms can engage significantly more people in the democratic process. Social media is transforming how we can mobilize for social change. The 2008 Obama for President Campaign: The 2008 Obama campaign mobilized 13 million supporters and generated more than $750,000 in small donations, demonstrating the power of social networks to activate citizen leadership. Online tools made it possible for people new to leadership to raise money, find each other, and organize house parties, and coordinate canvassing and phone banks.
Activities of Network-savvy Leaders
1) Improve the understanding of how the organization works
Organizational charts provide a poor picture of how work actually happens. Leaders with a network perspective look beyond prescribed flows and connections to informal structures and processes. They understand how information flows through the complex web of relationships within and across departments and up and down organizational levels. This perspective reveals densely connected clusters, bridging ties, and influential people who are often not formal leaders.
2) Identify and develop hidden leaders
They expand their view of people beyond the formal roles and positions. They seek the hidden leaders, change agents, and key players in their organization. A network perspective allows leaders to recognize and support the people who are crucial to the work and the culture, but whose importance is underemphasized in formal systems and structures.
3) Understand and strengthen the personal network
They examine their current network, the opportunities and constraints it presents, and make choices to strengthen it. They see how their position in the organizational network and the position of their group or team influences whether they achieve desired outcomes.
4) Recognize network variety
Multiple networks exist within organizations including communication, leadership, energy, creativity, and development networks. These networks are dynamic. Network savvy leaders focus on the networks most relevant to the strategic challenges they face and how those networks change over time.
5) Promote a leadership culture of collaboration and interdependence
The cultural beliefs and behaviours of an organization determine how members interact within the network. Most organizations strive for more effective collaboration across boundaries. This process is aided by an awareness of networks and an understanding of interdependence.
Leadership Network Classification
1) Peer leadership network
A system of social ties among leaders who are connected through shared interests and commitments, shared work, or shared experiences. Leaders in the network share information provide advice and support learn from one another, and occasionally collaborate together. Peer leadership networks provide leaders with access to resources that they can trust. Leadership development programs often seek to create and catalyze peer leadership networks to expand the trusted ties that leaders have with one another. At other times peer networks emerge when leaders with something in common personal benefit in sharing and connecting their experiences.
2) Organizational leadership network
A set of social ties that are structured to increase performance. These ties are often informal and exist outside the formal organizational structure, such as when an employee seeks advice from a colleague other than her supervisor to help solve a problem more quickly. A network connecting leaders who share common interests.
3) Collective leadership network
A self-organized system of social ties among people attracted to a common cause or focused on a shared goal. Network members exercise leadership locally. As the number of local groupings grows and there is increasing interaction, these groups begin to connect to form larger networks. These networks are often rooted in a sense of community and purpose.
Theoretical perspective of Cyber communication for leaders
Great man theory is well studied by political scientist, philosopher, sociologist, psychologist and management scholars. Here they have tried to pinpoint the essence of leadership. Some wits said that leadership is like pornography – you know it when you see it. Although we may recognize leadership when we see it, describing what it is all about is another matter. Leadership is a complicated concept. The assumption is that certain people possess inherit ant qualities traits that make them perfect for leadership. Under this theory leadership is born. But the present society contradicts the theory.
A Case study on Coaching and Mentoring
The apprentice model has seen recovery for grooming leadership. Coaching and mentoring have been gaining favour as elements of succession planning programs. A 2008 American Medical Association (AMA) study, “Coaching: A Global Study of Successful Practices,” surveyed more than 1,000 business leaders around the world and found that nearly 60 percent of North American companies use coaching for high-potential employees frequently or a great deal and that about 42 percent use coaching of executives to the same extent. These percentages were even higher in the international sample of the same AMA study. Using social media in mentoring programs is beginning to be a popular way to support external mentoring programs.
On SNS we are judged by the company we keep it is based on the strength of social capital that we are related. Signalling theory and Warranting theory also propose that people assess other-generated statements as more credible compared to self-generated information. These early studies offer compelling evidence that what one puts on one’s SNS profile is assessed by others and the characteristics of friends are strongly related to how one is viewed. In addition, the feedback provided by one’s network in an SNS is influential in the development of the image of leader and social relationship.
Social network sites provide a platform for all age group to develop personal and social relationship. Developing identities in SNS is very similar to offline contexts. Donath and Boyd (2004) observe some of the ways that individuals reflect their social identity. In the physical world, people display their connections in many ways. The leaders have parties in which they introduce friends who they think would like or impress each other. Political people drop the names of high status acquaintances casually in their conversation. Simply appearing in public with one’s acquaintances is a display of connection. These are the basic background of the present social image development for the leader.
There are many theories about and techniques for determining the right leadership styles for an organization. The situational leadership theory, for example, argues that the best type of leadership is determined by situational variables and that no one style of leadership pertains to all given workplace situations.6Identifying the leadership style for an organization by using this approach includes identification of the type of work, the complexity of the organization.
Scalability of Networking from Personal to Social for the Leader
A key feature of network perspective for the leader is the ability to “zoom” to different levels of social interaction, from the scale of one’s personal network all the way up to the scale of the social networks that make up the larger society. Each scale offers its own perspective with unique applications to leadership and leadership development.
Think of network perspective as a powerful zoom lens. It can be expanded or contracted to get a wide range of information and insight, like “Google Maps” for the connectedness of your workplace. Leaders have a 360-degree view of ground level at a specific place. This view is like their personal network. They can see the immediate surrounding environment — the individuals they are directly connected. Zoom out to the neighbourhood and look down on where they were standing. They see themselves as part of their own neighbourhood. A neighbourhood view is similar to mapping a group network within your organization. From this view they begin to get a sense of how their group fit within the larger organizational community.
Case study: Bring projects to scale
Network strategies encourage self-organizing by giving small groups of people access to tools, models, and resources that they can use and adapt to make a difference in their communities. Projects that empower people to take action in their local communities can more easily evolve to be effective at a larger scale. The national nonprofits KaBOOM! (kaboom.org) aspires to create a “great place to play within walking distance of every child.” To bring their idea to scale, they used a network strategy: they posted an online “do-it-yourself” direction kit making it possible for more communities to access the resources needed to build playgrounds without direct support
Cyber Communication Signify Supporter for Leaders
Research done by the Pew Internet and American Life Project (Lenhart, Rainie, & Lewis, 2001) found that the Internet has a pivotal role in the lives of American. It has been found that 87% today go online (Weiss, 2005), representing 21 million youth. Family-rescource.com states that 48 percent believe the Internet improves their friendships. With social networking sites becoming increasingly popular, people are able to stay connected to real and online friends. Estimated 13 million allow conversations with friends in social networking sites. On average, people on Facebook install apps every day. Every month, more than 500 million people use an app on Facebook or experience Face book platform on other websites to add social capital. More than 7 million apps and websites are integrated with Face book. More than 350 million active users currently access Face book through mobile. Face book has more than 800 million active users .50% of the active users log on to Facebook in any given day. Average user had 130 friends. People interact with 900 million objects like pages, groups, events and community pages. Average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events. On average 250 million photos are uploaded per day. Face book has 550,000,000 monthly visitors. 95,800,000 people visit Twitter every month. Monthly 50,000,000 people use LinkedIn. At the end all it means that human cannot move without the social group.
Case study: Change hearts and minds
Network leadership strategies can increase exposure significantly enough to encourage new thinking and behaviours on a large scale. The Story of Stuff (www.storyofstuff.org) is a narrated animated film about how our obsession with stuff is trashing our planet, our communities, and our health. Its engaging presentation, powerful message, and use of social media have made the film go viral, with 10,000 views a day and more than 12 million online views
Views on Social Capital and Development of Leadership
The basic idea of “social capital” is that one’s family, friends, and associates constitute an important asset, one that can be called upon in a crisis. They enjoyed for own sake or leveraged for material gain. It is true for individuals to holds for groups. So social capital is essential back bone for leadership development.
Case study: Build social capital
Network leadership strategies connect leaders across boundaries of race, sector, and geography and create an environment that builds and fosters trusted relationships. In Boston, a diverse network of social change leaders is forming unlikely partnerships, bridging across boundaries of race, ethnicity, sector, neighbourhood, and more. New ideas, approaches, and solutions to persistent challenges are coming from leaders who break out of the silos and “groupthink” of homogenous networks
1) The Communitarian View
This perspective is called the communitarian view, equates social capital with local level organizations, namely associations, clubs, and civic groups.This view, measured most simply by the number of these groups in a given community. This indicates that social capital is inherently “good,” that “more is better,” and that its presence always has a positive effect on a community’s welfare. This perspective gives important contributions to leaders to analyses of education, economy, and health.
2) The Networks View
Here the perspective on social capital can be identified that attempts to account for both its “upside” and “downside.” This view stresses the importance of vertical as well as horizontal associations between people, and relations within and among other organizational entities such as community groups and firms. Building on the influential work of Granovetter (1973), it recognizes that intra-community (or “strong”) ties are needed to give leaders a sense of identity and common purpose.
3) The Institutional View
The perspective of social capital, which we call the institutional view, argues that the vitality of community networks and civil society is largely the product of the political, legal, and institutional environment. Where the communitarian and networks perspectives largely treat social capital as an independent variable giving rise to various “goods” and/or “bad”, the institutional view instead puts the emphasis on social capital as a dependent variable. This view argues that the very capacity of social groups to act in their collective interest depends crucially on the quality of the formal institutions under which they reside (North 1990), and that emerging qualities such as high levels of “generalized trust” in turn correspond to superior rates of economic growth. It also stresses that the performance of states and firms themselves depends on their own internal coherence, communication, credibility, and competence, and their external accountability to civil society.
4) The Synergy View
A number of scholars have recently proposed what might be called a synergy view, which attempts to integrate the compelling work emerging from the networks and institutional camps. While the synergy view traces its intellectual antecedents to earlier work in comparative political economy and anthropology, its most influential body of research was published in a special issue of World Development (1996). The contributors to this volume examined cases from India, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, and Brazil in search of the conditions fostering developmental “synergies”—i.e. dynamic professional alliances and relationships—between and within state bureaucracies and various civil society actors.
In closing some vital reasons are given why developing network perspective is a 21st-century leadership imperative.
1) Work often happens through informal channels
Even after decades of restructuring, work activities often occur happen through interactions outside of formal reporting and working relationships. Understanding informal networks is especially important in flat, team-based, and agile work environments where formal structure provides little guidance.
2) Leadership occurs through relationships
Direction, alignment, and commitment are created through relationships between people working on shared challenges. All people contribute to this process and thus, leadership may be shared throughout the network. Further, boundary spanning leadership requires network perspective to accurately see and build connections between groups.
3) Successful leaders develop networks of strong, diverse relationships
They realize that under and over connectivity stifles performance and limits outcomes. Purposeful (strategic) and authentic networking is the key to developing healthy networks that prevent insularity.
4) Network knowledge is an asset in change efforts
Relying on formal, vertical channels alone hinders capacity to adapt to emerging issues. Change efforts may be accelerated by activating informal networks and enhancing the network’s capacity to span boundaries. This approach is critically important in cultural transformation because organizational culture lives largely within the connections between people. Understanding these connections provides insights into subcultures, pockets of resistance, and hidden champions of the transformation.
5) The most important challenges leaders face today is interdependent
Complex challenges cannot be addressed by individuals alone. They can only be solved by groups of people working collaboratively across boundaries (hierarchies, geographic regions, functional silos, stakeholder interests, and demographic differences). A network perspective is key to thriving in a world in which everything is, or will be, connected.
1. Barr Foundation, http://www.barrfoundation.org.
2. Balkundi, P., & Kilduff, M. (2006). The ties that lead: A social network approach to leadership. Leadership Quarterly
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4. Coleman, J. S. (1988). Social capital in the creation of human capital. The American Journal of Sociology
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6. Day, D. V. (2000). Leadership development: A review in context. LeadershipQuarterly
7. Drath, W. H., McCauley, C. D., Palus, C. J., Van Velsor, E., O’Connor, P. M. G., & McGuire, J. B. (2008). Direction, alignment, commitment: Toward a more integrative ontology of leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 19(6), 635–653
8. Dizard, Wilson. (1997). Old Media New Media: Mass Communications in the Information Age. New York: Longman
9. Fidler, Roger. (1997). Mediamorphosis: Understanding New Media. Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge Press
10. Holley, June, Network Weaver Handbook: A Guide to Transformational Networks, Network Weaver Publishing,
11. Leadership for a New Era wiki, http://www.leadershipforanewera.org
12. Monitor Institute, Breaking New Ground: Using the Internet to Scale, A Case Study of KaBOOM!
http://kaboom.org/about_kaboom/ reports_and_studies/breaking_new_ground_using_internet_scale (June 2010).
13. Story of Stuff Project, http://www.storyofstuff.org.
Dr. B.T. Lawani
Director, YCISSR, Bharati Vidyapeeth University, Pune-38.
Senior Research Fellow, Bharati Vidyapeeth University, Pune-38.
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