Social Networking Beyond Organization with Karen Stephenson

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - 15:30
OCAD Auditorium, 100 McCaul St.
Community members: 
How can we accelerate healthy organizational change? For renowned social network theorist and corporate anthropologist Karen Stephenson, the answer lies in how we define 'membership' in today’s globally connected culture.

The nature of an organization lies in its barrier to entry — in how 'membership' is defined. This is the raison d'être of organizational culture. This disheartening social fact is all the more lamentable in today's globally interconnected world where, more than ever, we need to integrate across disciplines, cultures and firms meaningfully. Historically, the prevailing wisdom was to let good ideas "bubble up," but along with the economic myth of "trickle down" it is just and only that, myth! Countering these myths are proven anthropological approaches that get to the heart of culture, using interviews and participant-observational techniques, all good, but very time-consuming. What is needed is a new way to reliably and accurately accelerate the diagnosis of an organization, and intervene to produce predictable and sustainable (read: healthy) change.

About the Speaker: 
Dr. Karen Stephenson is a corporate anthropologist and pioneering leader in social network analysis, hailed by Business 2.0 as "The Organization Woman." In 2007, she was one of only three women recognized in Random House's Guide to the Management Gurus. She was named the first Houghton Hepburn Fellow at Bryn Mawr College for her groundbreaking contributions to civic engagement. Her firm, Netform, was recognized as one of the top 100 leading innovation companies by CIO Magazine. Dr. Stephenson was featured in a New Yorker article by Malcolm Gladwell on the social dynamics of office spaces. She has lectured at the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University, Harvard School of Design, and UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from Harvard, an MA in Anthropology from the University of Utah, and a BA in Art & Chemistry from Austin College. View Dr Stephenson's CV at UTexas.