Stephen Seminar Number 2: Frank Nieuwenhuizen on ‘How Social Structures Influence Formal Organizations’

This week the second of the Stephen Seminars took place on the campus of the University of the Freestate.

As I rushed passed our Main Building on my way to the Seminar I saw several youth rioting for some unknown cause. In class it was assumed that the rioters was part of the ANC Youth League demanding something unknown from Jonathan Jansen.

With that in the background as campus politics the Seminar started. Frank Nieuwenhuizen talked about social structures within society and how the methods of effective communication is shifting.

He took Albania as the playground for his argument posing the question whether the ‘Top Down’ way of communicating was still effective given the environment of non profit organizations within Albania, versus a myriad of networks without structure, for effective implementation of a given cause.

In it all it came out that Frank is very much for the idea of something like Facebook and the ‘Virtual Office’, ideas which has not been winning ground in Albania. This must be seen in the context that until 1992 Albania was still a communistic state and anything outside of the ‘institution’ is looked upon with eyes of skepticism.

A good metaphor that he employed was that of an ice cube. He said that the environment should be like an ice cube in that it should have structure but that structure should have the ability to flow as well and change into new ideas and adopt different forms, but it still remains water. Thales would have liked this.

He then posed the question whether these to types of communication can be merged into something effective? The rigid top down structure of the old together with the loose flowing network of the Facebook phenomenon.

This was left open.

The internet has only been around for roughly the last thirty years and it is still becoming something unknown and expanding evermore, with this in mind, it should be seen as something reletively new and to adopt that into ways of official communication will be a mean feat to say the least.

Cheque needed signature,
Debit card require pin code.

Will the Ice Cube flow?

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