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The Network Society

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The Network Society


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Social networks have emerged due to high development of technology and multidimensional processes. Networks can build a strong bond in an organisation because it is made of who share common ideals and ideas. Technology ensures great flow of information hence high rate of communication. Most of the time technology used in the society is determined by the same people so as to shape it according to their specifications (Cardoso and Castells, 2005, pp4). The society that emerges is based on information and regular communication, due to technology advancement.

According to Novak (2005,pp2) new organizations that emerge due to network society need to have a clear way of management for what happens in the organization since it is treated on a global perspective.

The paper in general seeks to review network society and strategies that an organization needs so as to be at par with social network developments. The case study will review how society networks have affected the way organizations work.

At the same time it will review how network society’s helps in close relation and interaction in that people can share more information and stay in touch with each other. This case study will explain theories in relation to IBM International Company.


Network society

According to Castells (2004, pp 2) “network society is a society whose social structure is made of networks powered by microelectronics-based information and communication technologies”. Networks in the 21st century are a way of life that is to be embraced by all. This is a way of communication for generation Y since they have grown with full interaction to technology. Social networks interaction and production leads to the formulation of communication networks so that people can share information (Castells, 2004, pp 3).

Social networks create a global community where people can mingle freely and share information without any restriction unlike past years when information was classified. With free interactions organisations can make use of the information to ensure productivity. According to Kollanyi et al (2007, pp7) with networked computers, information can be accessed by all individuals leading to accumulation in social network. With the network society new and valuable information can be transferred in an organization, which leads to high production of the company. An organization is able to meet its goals due to workers’ efficiency and new information management. Improvement leads to a generation that has grown with full knowledge of what is happening hence taking complete advantage of the offer that technology brings.

Digital networking technologies have a significant contribution to how networks operate in the present day, unlike the historical ones. Organizations are flexible in their operations due to decentralized performance and need to make decisions that are in line with the information provided in social platforms (Cardoso and Castells 2005, pp5). It is in view of all this that organizations view digital networks as the backbone of the network society. Network society is one global community where information reaches all in the planet. Organizations should indulge in social networking, in view of this so that they are able to reach out to a diverse client profile.

According to Kollanyi et al (2007, pp8) network society emergence can be traced back to the 60s where subsystems of society and economy were affected. Network society is made of people who have close relationships to the system and the change that comes with it. Castells (2004, pp6) views network society as one that has digitalized interactions hence turning away from mass communication, which is dependent on publishing, radio and television.

According to Qiu (2009, pp4) network society framework helps in understanding of global space flow and transformations of 21stcentury generation. The 21st generation mostly rely on information they get in social places; a factor that Castells (2004, pp10) says cannot help an organization if knowledge is not linked to information so as to help the organization play its role effectively and efficiently.

According to Christen (2011, pp3) “network society is a combination of social and media networks that articulate structures for modern societies.” The structure is mostly influenced by technology and globalization hence distributing information worldwide. Christen (2011, pp4) is of the view that communication is not dependent on time as technology has provided various tools for information dissemination such as mobile which means information can flow around the network.

At the same time, management of material resources is not that hard due to the fact that technology has developed over time. Decentralization occurs due to dispersed geographical connections and communication technologies. To an organization, decentralization means no top-down means of communication since everyone is in the network society of the organization. It makes it hard to manage information in an organization and at the same time making decision has to be carefully evaluated due to the flow of information (Christen 2011, pp4). Fuchs (2007,10) is of the view that diffusion of technology is due to the role they played in restructuring capitalism though they were not invented in economic. This has lead to the emergence of global capitalism causing diffusion and reorganization.

Ployhart (2011, pp7) says that social media, a contributing factor for network society, affect the sharing of information in an organization and how people connect to each other. Ployhart is of the view that if social media is used well it can benefit the organization. However, it can also create many problems for the company if not monitored for accurate information sharing. With this in mind, managers and other decision makers develop policies that guide employees on usage of social media in the organization.

According to Castells (2005, pp6) information is a key factor in economic productivity because the management team is able to get details on the performance of the organization. On the same level clients being the backbone of an organization (Ployhart 2011, pp13) are able to gather all the information they need about their organization of interest (Castells 2005, pp8). Guidelines need to be set to assist in the management of social media for organizations, a thing that has not yet been accomplished.

In the digital world, organizations customers and clients help shape the company. In this respect, they need to have all the positive information on the company when doing product/service review and at the same time be able to have a platform where they can leave their comments. Organizations in the 21st century have turned to social media to help in recruiting and advertising a thing that could have various influences on customers and the organization in general (Ployhart 2011, pp16).According to Ericsson (2013, pp1) network society changes the work place in as far as the activities of the business are concerned. Organizations change their structure or the way they are organized so that they can factor in the network society at the workplace. At times organizations are forced to change development processes, skills and knowledge that need to be acquired by workforce all this so that they can integrate networks.

 According to Ericsson (2013, pp2) Changes in the workforce can be determined by various factors of technology advancement like in cases where the millennial generation has grown up with internet. Once this group enters the workforce they have utterly different perceptions of work compared to baby boomers who are retiring. Technology advancement has it that one person can serve various roles in organization hence reducing work load .At the same time,  there is an entirely different attitude to the way work is done with improved technology (Ployhart 2011, pp17). According to Castells (2005, pp12) review of teamwork in the network society is of importance in accomplishing set goal.

Network societies create teamwork at the workplace so that the task assigned can be completed with ease. To participate in network, individuals should contribute towards achieving the goal.With this notion, then organization benefit a great deal from network societies because there is teamwork. Teamwork helps the group to accomplish set goals within the stipulated time hence contributing to organization effectiveness and realization of its set goals. Organizations global trend depends on social relationships so as to enhance productivity. Structural markets are crucial for the organization and global relations through the internet to help achieve money capital, power and accumulation of natural resources (Fuchs 2007, pp20).

Networking produces capital accumulation at the same time giving alternatives for new production models to the organization. This leads to corporate power for the organization suggesting social spaces that goods can be produced and sold freely. Internet networking provides a wide market for organization products and services and at the same time acts as venture of new ideas that could be used in production. In order to remain relevance in the market in the 21st century, there is the need to embrace network society and integrate the best technology for it. This helps in data collection for new products or services that an organization may wish to introduce in the market and at the same time get feedback on the products/services that they offer.

According to Ployhart (2011, pp21), social media is evolving each day, and organizations need to put strategies that govern and regulate usage of media in organizations. Human resource management needs to evaluate social media policies because it is becoming hard produce academic evaluation for organization effectiveness. Social networking is a powerful tool for organizations in the 21st century though most of them struggle to move from utilizing them to gaining potential benefits from them. Top management of organizations need to realize that the world is becoming a global village and the more they are socially connected, the greater the benefits they gain.

Case Study: IBM Company

International Business Machines is a US based multinational company that conducts research on their young workforce and find ways to cope up with challenges that they pose in the work environment (Client Server News, 2004, pp. 55).

In the last 100 years, the company experienced serious depression brought about by political instability and economic downturns. According to the IBM China CEO Dalai (2011), such disturbances not only affected the company’s development but also resulted to crucial influence on how employees interaction at work. Socials networks helps an organisation build a culture of information participation rather that gathering because everybody in the network society have they own contributions on the best way forward. ICT had had influence on the life of those born in the 90s when technology developed drastically.

According to Castells (2004, pp14) networks in an organization help formulate strategies that will yield favourable results at the end. Competition in organizations depends on abilities to outperform cooperation capacity. To ensure consistency in business growth and increase production, the company hires a high population of employees most of whom join the company as trainees or in attachment programs (Client Server News, 2004, pp. 55). By 2010, the company recorded a turnover of 99.9 billion dollars from all the operations (Hostettler, 1987, pp. 350). As warriors of Research and Development, IBM managed to penetrate the global economies with less obscurity because they were technologically prepared, and they had build social and media networks.

According to Harper (1993), workforce vicissitudes occur in every organization that started up way before the 80s. As such, the only option is to find strategies that will help pick up and play the same roles in the economy. Social networks in the organisation help build productivity of employees through information sharing and open communications. This can take effect by creating social media network strategies that will allow growth of the organization (Ployhart2011, pp22-24). This is a proactive strategy to change that IBM picks to remain relevant in its markets over the years. Managers in corporate establishments find the generation problematic.

According to Valentine, Marsh, and Pattie (2005), generation Y makes the highest percent in social networks and they need to be handled with care in an organisation to ensure high level of discipline in information sharing. However, the company embraces the fact that the millennium is here, and the post 80s belong to a different team. As baby boomers prepare to retire, their interaction in network society helps the company records even higher sales and high production compared to the previous years. The company accords its greatest innovations to this young generation who pick up valuable experience from the older employees. Novelty and originality are vital for the company’s market positioning.

IBM imparts experience to their young employees, nurture their abilities, protect their needs, and help them to achieve personal and organizational objectives (Howe, 1993, pp. 1-4). Their familiarity with the technological world makes their life attitude tangible and more social based. This group is IBM’s major resource rich team since they depend so much on communication and search for information. The company receives service awards, and for 18 consecutive years, it maintained a top service provider in the United States.

While sourcing for employees, the company draws candidates’ expectations and abilities. This helps it acquire a team that delivers according to company standards and hire individuals who believe in their abilities as reviewed by Amor (1999). For the generation of extremes, IBM understands their desires, which they reconcile them with organizational objectives and business requirements. They satisfy their employment demands without jeopardizing the resentment of other employees. In such a case, reward system works equally for all employees. The company accords rewards such as monetary appreciation, pay rise, promotions as well as leadership responsibility with regard to individual performance and attitudes. This helps the company deal with the future employees, ensuring professional maturity, experience and entrepreneurship (Client Server News, 2004, pp. 55).

Operating in an era of planned families where children access everything they require, this workforce joins the company with an aim to achieve self-satisfaction and not to reduce pressure from family. The company always provides adequate resources for its employees and offers a wide access to information and people. This helps its employees to exhaust their skills and abilities without limitation.

IBM embraces network society because people are able to work as a team and yield more results. This is so because people in societies challenge each other at what they can do and each day one seeks to better their skills so as to be part of the society. They work beyond their ability, do extensive research, and get out of their way to try something new just to feel good about themselves. In return, the company benefits from a team that is competitive and creative. In accordance to their need for achievement, they do not focus on making large amounts of money; they first focus on building a reputation before filling the pocket. Another reason IBM invests in young professionals is to help them create a satisfactory career (Hostettler, 1987, pp. 361).

New employees help in the growth of the company’s network society and hence more information flows in the organisation. This is so because new employees come as an asset to the organization by providing new ideas and knowledge that can lead to competitive advantage in the industry. At the same time, they have the will to do their work well. Networking hold IBM’s future, therefore, mentoring employees into networking turns them into a more productive workforce that is vital for the company, as advised by Stephanie (2006). The company advocates for visionary and self-oriented individuals motivated by results.

The company also offers an environment for relationship building. With this, they yield a team that holds a sense of belonging. Howe (1993) explains that IBM provides a family setting for its employees. These strategies help cope up with the young employees reduces the cost of handling potential vicissitudes that may occur due to shift of generations in the employment systems (Howe, 1993, pp. 1-4). The team of young employees poses characteristics that facilitates networking, promotes diversification, embrace technology, and improve productivity (Star Tribune, 2013). Realizing their benefits distinctly positions the company in the ICT map.

The company identifies areas of motivation to ensure long-term retention of employees. This helps reduce employee turnover cost since hiring employees on a frequent basis requires so many resources. The company invests in career mentorship and reward systems during employee probation or attachment period; therefore, it assigns experienced employees to work closely to the new ones. The HR clearly defines responsibilities and sets targets by the end of the training program. With that, the millennial are acquainted to the work environment; acquire new skills and get an opportunity to practice. After a series of results, the management decides on how to offer tangible reward in respect to performance. This keeps employees on toes since they acquire both self-satisfaction and the need for recognition.

IBM also offers training for its employees to ensure that they continually improve their skills, which in turn helps improve the organizations efficiency. The study does cove all on network society but at the same time does not cover the various ways an organisation introduces and governs networks. There is need for clear policies to ensure monitoring of network societies at the work place.


Network societies act as a frame for any organisation growth. The way employees interact help in ensuring growth for the organisation since there is free flow of information. Digital and ICT inventions take the blame for creating the population that matures so fast, expects so much, produces effectively, but applies less energy. This kind of demand leads to dramatic changes in social and cultural relationships.

IBM Company is a good example for organizations that have embraced the realities of technology and social networks, and possibly hire a high percentage of the current workforce and future managers made up of individuals with great insight on network societies. The management also seeks to ensure that network societies in the organisation are guarded because it is a platform where potential clients are free to get information. In respect to organization performance, there is the need to utilize information gathered from social networks and turn it into knowledge to create advantage over competitors.


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Castells, M. (2004) (Ed).Informationalism, networks, and the network society: a theoretical blueprint.A cross-cultural perspective.Northampton,MA:Edward Elgar.

Castells, M. (2005).Manuel Castells’s network society. Retrieved March 28, 2014 from http://www.geof.net/research/2005/castells-network-society

Christen,N. (2011). Networked society. Retrieved March 28, 2014 from http://etec.ctlt.ubc.ca/510wiki/Networked_Society

Client Server News.2004, IBM’s employment plans (will hire 15,000 people this year) p. 55.

Dalai, R. O. 2011, “IBM China: Collaborating with generation Y”, N-Dynamic Market research Institute, 3:12

Ericsson, B, M. (2013).The changing natural of working life-part I.The networked society. Retrieved March 28, 2014 from http://www.ericsson.com/thinkingahead/the-networked-society-blog/2013/04/11/the-changing-nature-of-working-life-part-i/

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Harper, C.L. 1993, Exploring Social Change. 2 ed. New Jersey: Englewood Cliffs.

Hostettler, J. 1987, IBM academic information systems (ACIS): The IBM-PC on the IBM token-ring network. Computer Standards & Interfaces, 6(3): 347-350.

Kollanyi, B, Molnar, S &Szekely, L. social networks and the network society. Retrieved March 28, 2014 from http://www.ittk.hu/netis/doc/ISCB_eng/04_MKSZ_final.pdf

Novak, T. (2005).A critical examination of the “network society”.Media and social theory new school for social research. Retrieved March 28, 2014 from http://timnovak.org/uploads/Critical_Examinat_proofed.pdf

Ployhart, R, E. (2011). Social media in the workplace: issues and strategic questions. Retrieved March 28, 2014 from https://www.shrm.org/about/foundation/products/Documents/Social%20Media%20Briefing-%20FINAL.pdf

Qiu, J, L. (2009) working class network society: communication technology and the information have-less in urban china.London, MIT press Cambridge.

Stephanie F. Gardner. August 15, 2006. “Preparing for the Nexters”. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education 70 (1V): 87


Cite this The Network Society

The Network Society. (2016, Apr 23). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-network-society/

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