Monthly Archives: January 2012

How leading management institutes in India are using Facebook

Kalpana Chauhan and I recently presented a research paper at International Conference in Marketing organized by IIM – Lucknow. The focus of paper was to understand content strategy on Facebook pages of some of the leading management institutions in India. We analyzed firm generated content of four institutions’ Facebook pages – IMT Ghaziabad, IIM-Calcutta, MDI-Gurgaon & XLRI-Jamshedpur. We basically tried to answer three simple questions:

1)   What was the context of content shared by these management institutes on their   Facebook pages?

2)   In what form was content shared?

3)   What was the frequency at which content was shared?

We took a three month period of 2011, with the assumption that data would represent content strategy followed by brands for 25% of entire year. During the time period April – June, 2011 IIM-C made 10 posts, IMT –Ghaziabad made 42 posts, MDI-Gurgaon made 19 posts and XLRI-Jamshedpur made 83 posts. We did content analysis of these updates and answered above three questions. The results are as follows:

Content Context

  • 3 out of four institutions updated content about institution and current students’ achievements.
  • XLRI was the only institution which updated content about management education domain that was informative and insightful in nature.

Content Agility (During Day)

  • The content on XLRI and MDI’s pages were updated at odd hours of the day, either in early morning or during late night.
  • IMT & IIM-C updated majority of their content from 8 am to 8 pm, which seems to be a reasonable time period.

Content Agility (During Week)

  • Majority of content was shared during midweek, i.e. from Wednesday – Friday
  • IIMC completely refrained from updating content on weekends.

 Content Form

  • IIMC followed a Text + Weblink format for 80% of content, which is an effective manner where a brief about content shared is given in text form along with the link for further reference of fans.
  • As MDI shared more internal news, they made use of images along with text that described the image.
  • IMT made use of images but 21.4% of time they had no introductory text about the image, which is not an advisable way to share content.
  • XLRI had even worse content sharing style; they just attached weblink and had no introductory text to the weblink. Moreover, these contents were shared through third party application, which clearly revealed lack of enthusiasm they had in sharing content with their fans.

 The analysis reveals that management institutes in India are using Facebook in a diverse manner. The difference in number of posts shows that some are not very consistent in their approach, while others are. Also the automated posting of links (especially in case of XLRI) shows that there is no separate strategy behind use of Facebook, which doesn’t seem very effective communication /marketing practice. The results show the scope of improvement in the ways institutes use social media.

Some major content topics that we couldn’t find on any of the four Facebook page are:

  • The focus has always been on their flagship program i.e. PGDBM. We rarely found content about other programs offered by these institutions. This could be a serious setback as stakeholders from other programs might feel left out.
  • Employer branding aspect was completely missing in all pages. We rarely found any posts related to their faculty achievement. Given the fact that all these are large institutions, its hard to believe that none of the faculty from any of the college made an achievement over a period of 3 months!
  • There was hardly any content for the administrative staff. Aren’t they part of the organization? We would like to know why any content about them wasn’t posted on the Facebook page.
  • These organizations could also update about their collaborators.
  • Management institutions are known for the intellectual property they create. The intellectual property in these institutions is generally created by either faculties or doctoral students. We noticed no such updates were made by any of the institution.
  • There could be some information dissemination about the training and development programs aimed at external publics.
  • Management institutes could also share knowledge created through consulting assignments handled by their faculty members.
  • The integration between various social media channels should be leveraged effectively.

Evaluating Peers in Knowledge Intensive Businesses

Since beginning of my career, I have been associated with some leading knowledge organizations of the country. The inclination I have towards knowledge domain always spurs in me varied concerns about the knowledge industry. Last year, I attempted a blog on ‘Rewarding Knowledge Workers’, which was very well received.   After about 9 months a related question has bothered me for sometime – How do you evaluate your peers in a knowledge domain? My last year’s post was from an organization’s perspective, however in this post I am focused on how peers evaluate each other when they are working in a team. My urge for this blogpost strengthened when I noticed this Facebook update by my friend @Davenderbisht. Though his update mentions ‘subordinates’ which technically means evaluating a person lower in hierarchy, its no different from evaluating your peers who are on same level, in fact its tougher in latter case.

Teamwork has always been emphasized in the management field as a key success factor for success. A step ahead many a times it has been precisely emphasized that the team should consist of members with complementary skills for the overall success. However, something that is often neglected during discussion is evaluation of peers in a team.  In a well-structured organization the evaluation part could be taken care of by the HR manager or the team leader. The situation is complex in case of small firms or especially with entrepreneurial firms where couple of colleagues get together and start a venture.

In such small firm setup its happy-go situation until everything goes well for the organization, but the blame-game starts once organization faces some tough situations. Well, the evaluation of peers for firms involved in selling products could be still convenient, but let me add another level of complexity to the discussion. In today’s globalized environment we often notice knowledge oriented firms sprouting in various domains. In these firms there’s hardly any tangible output that could differentiate the performance of team members. For instance, a consulting boutique consists of team members with complementary knowledge skills. In such situations its more complex to attribute reasons for a project failure, because ‘knowledge’ is an abstract phenomenon. Now, how do you judge your peers when you are offering knowledge oriented services?

Davender hinted at few factors – performance, attitude, dedication, discipline. I believe in a knowledge oriented business all the four metrics are abstract and its hard to quantify them. Would you consider performance by number of hours a team member contributes? or number of ideas one comes up? or number of hours within which a project is completed? Unlike product oriented or service transaction oriented businesses, measuring performance in a knowledge business is much more complex and debatable.

The other three factors are pretty interesting – attitude, dedication and discipline. When knowledge workers get together these factors are presumed to be at a required levels in each one of them. They are never reviewed and even if reviewed and found to be missing by few notches in a particular peer, it is taken for granted till situations are good for the organization. The moment something bad occurs to the organization these three factors are  questioned and in worse situations even ‘doubted’. This would hurt the individual to a great extent. Now does that mean there are no factors on which peers could be evaluated in a knowledge business? No, the factors need not be tangible however should be identified and tracked over a period of time.

I believe knowledge workers would hardly underperform in a deliberate manner . When a product manufactured through a scientific procedure get result into a defected product, how can’t a knowledge worker’s ideas not result  into unconvincing results? In my experience or with my intuition, I don’t think any knowledge worker would say I would not think ‘x’ times better for a project due to some reasons. Every knowledge worker tries to contribute his best possible efforts, it might do wonders or fail depending on the context. It doesn’t mean the attitude, commitment, dedication of discipline of the person should be questioned. When a person is questioned for one fault, the entire premise of holding him so long in the team gets void.

Hence, I believe its the trust between the peers and among the knowledge workers which matters a lot. I would like to end this post with the same quote with which I ended my ‘Rewarding Knowledge Workers’ post.

“Entire knowledge economy is built on the trust that employees and their employers have in each other; there really is nothing else. It is only this relationship- the one between employees and the organization – that keeps a company going” 

~ Vineet Nayar   Vice Chairman & CEO, HCL Technologies

2011 – Most eventful year of my life

I have always wondered and questioned myself in the past, ‘what did I achieve in my life?’. This question has always bothered me. Even after completing engineering, post graduation, attaining job, I was always skeptical about the contributions I have made to my life. Though, there were one or two instances in the past made me happy, it was 2011 that brought me many such eventful instances that I would relive and cherish throughout my life. Some of them were from professional life, while there was one big personal event that made me joyful, when I became father of a baby boy on 12th August.

My grandfather was a Tamil poet and had authored numerous books. I was always inspired by him and had a dream of writing a book. This dream came true in 2011, when my co-authored book, Social Media Simplified hit stands to be specific online book retailing websites. It was an enthralling experience to author a book on such a recent topic. Many people did comment that such books are useless in long term as this field is evolving fast. But, we both thought that it was more of an eye-opener activity for community at large, who were still unaware about the prospects of social media. Without a formal book launch function and any offline marketing activities, book sold close to 1,000 copies, which was a satisfying experience. Moreover, I dedicated this book to my grandfather which reaped me utmost satisfaction.

This book gave me three opportunities to be a guest speaker on varied topics related to social media. First, opportunity came from the home grounds, i.e. Management Development Institute, from where I am pursuing my doctoral program. This session was for executive MBA students who had an average work experience of about 6.5 years. The purpose was to enlighten them about the usage of social media for varied purposes of business management activities. I delivered a talk on the topic, ‘Demystifying Social Media’.

Demystifying Social Media

Second, opportunity arrived when my ex-colleague at IIMA, Nivedita Sharma invited me for a guest session for her Brand Management course that she taught at Symbiosis Institute of International Business. The students had experienced community building exercise for a month where student groups created community and built engagement on them for about a month. So, my task was to review their activities and share insights on building brand community via social media.

I received third opportunity from another friend, Kalpana Chauhan who invited me for a guest session for her CRM course that she taught at Fortune Institute of International Business. The students had experienced community building exercise for a month where student groups created community and built engagement on them for about a month. So, my task was to review their activities and share insights on building brand community via social media. My role here was to educate students about Social CRM.
Well, doctoral students have an inherent pressure to publish in peer-reviewed research journals as part of their program. I could manage to get following publications this year, for which all hard work was done in 2010:

I have authored in past about 17 case studies on various management topics, but all were based on secondary data sources . The OSSCube case study listed above was my first case study written on primary data. The 2nd case study on primary data, Social Media Content Strategy at Ayojak was adjudged fourth best case study in the ISB Case Study competition, 2011.

After completing doctoral program, candidates are generally expected to join academics and get involved in teaching profession. Though, I have hardly taught in the past, I was invited as guest speaker to address 1st year PG-HR students about Qualitative Research. Though, I was nervous in the beginning, the session went well and I learnt a lot about teaching.Demystifying qualitative research

The most relieving feeling arrived on 5th August when my thesis proposal was approved. Its one of the key hurdles in a doctoral program, which most of my doctoral program friends would easily relate to.
The very next week, i.e. on 12th August arrived the moment of my life, when we were blessed with a baby boy.
It was an indeed action packed year, when I look back. Hope, 2012 brings at least similar fun, if not more.
Happy New Year!