Friday, November 11, 2005

What WOM Tells Us About Organizational Decision Making

A reader of my blog recently posted the following comment:

Good morning,

I am a (young)resaercher in the field of Information Management and Mass Media Studies. I have discovered (few days ago)the field of WOM.

My question is: In what way this field could be invovolved in the comprehension of the organisation decision-making process ?

Thank you in advance for your answer.


Jeremy Depauw | Homepage | 11.10.05 - 2:58 am | #

Here's my response (and I invite others to post how they would respond):

Hi Jeremy,

This is an excellent question. I'll just start a response here and invite others to contribute. You ask about how WOM can help us better understand how organizations make decisions (if I captured what you are asking correctly).

I think one way to answer that question is to think of word-of-mouth as a process of consumer-to-consumer communication (or substitute any appropriate term other than consumer, such as user, stakeholder, citizen, constituent, etc.; I'll use stakeholders). Many stakeholders want to be more involved in the decision-making process of organizations, or at the very least, feel "heard" or "listened to" by the organization. Organizations of all flavors should sieze on the opportunity to be responsive to this desire and involve their stakeholders in decisions that affect the stakeholders (such as product design, policies, etc.) and figure out ways to become partners in these conversations among their stakeholders (blogging could be one example, being responsive to any feedback is another, creating educational resources that stakeholders will find relevant to their lives, etc.).

Thus, the organizational decision-making process would potentially become more open and clear to those outside of the organization (what many call transparency), or even to those internal stakeholders as well (such as employees). In this process I think many organizations are realizing the line between internal and external needs to be blurred to facilitate this communication. For example, employees of an organization can often be the organization's best ambassadors.

This is certainly not a comprehensive answer, but just a starting point.

Thanks for your question and I invite you and others to contribute their thoughts!