The dark side of social network and relations

The dark side of social network and relations

The Dark Side Of Social Network And Relations. Normally when there is talk of professional relations we tend to put the accent on the positive side of developing this sort of network.

Normally when there is talk of professional relations we tend to put the accent on the positive side of developing this sort of network. It is a good thing to communicate with colleagues and those higher up the hierarchal ladder.Doing so creates a better working environment, encourages greater understandingand can help to boost the career of the person in question. What is seldom discussed is what can be seen as the ‘dark side’ of this sort of relationship.

From the very first studies into this subject researchers have spoken of the benefits to be gained from nurturing relations within the professional sphere.Internet networks that focus on career rather than personal profiles create a huge professional community and are now a firm part of the working life of a vast number of employees worldwide. Given the success of these sites, the accepted truth appears to be that to join this kind of network is without a doubt a good career move.

It is difficult to oppose such a view. However, what happens when someone does not wish to use such professional internet networks to make a difference interms of career?This is where the dark side of the networking culture shows its face.

If certain employees prefer to remain discrete and keep a distance in the workplace, instead letting skills and results speak for them, they do not adhere to the dominant logic.In this way, they can finds themselves penalised against, not because they are inefficient but rather because they do not exploit networking as is deemed normal. It is comparatively easy to imagine a situation where a person who is as good if not better qualified than another evolves less quickly at work because he or she does not play the professional network game

If many employees further their careers more thanks to the quality of their relations than because of their real value to a firm this is bad news for businesses. In such a world it is not necessarily the best elements of the workforce that hold the key posts.Instead, it tends to be those employees who know how best to use their contacts. As a result, employees of this kind will keep on giving priority to their own preoccupations and always be in favour of a career path that relies on the strength of a professional network. This being so, the system persists.

While transparencyanddemocratisation are often cited as benefits of the internet revolution,the worldwide web has not ultimately wiped out the old logic of ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know.’ In fact, it can be argued that it is almost the opposite. What if internet’s enormous potential for increasing professional networks simply made this old, accepted logic stronger?

Today, employeeswho do not have a profile on the right network sites and who choose not to cultivate these sorts of relations both within and outside the workplace are perhaps condemned not to achieve their full potential. They become victims of the dark side.

By Nikos Bozionelos, Professor de Management, Organisation and Law, Audencia Nantes School of Management, France

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