May 20, 2003

More Karasses, less granfalloons

There's been a lot of talk recently (at least on the blogs I consume) about social software. Emerging Technology: Who Loves Ya, Baby? describes some software that extracts the sort of information that the FOAF networks contain, but automatically, from your email repository.

It also gives some background info about how, "In his classic novel Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut explains how the world is divided into two types of social organizations: the karass and the granfalloon. A karass is a spontaneously forming group, joined by unpredictable links, that actually gets stuff doneó as Vonnegut describes it, "a team that do[es] God's Will without ever discovering what they are doing." A granfalloon, on the other hand, is a "false karass," a bureaucratic structure that looks like a team but is "meaningless in terms of the ways God gets things done."

Interesting concepts, and quite true I think. However, whilst I can see that big corporations might want, or need, to find out where the karasses are, I don't think it's a big problem in a smaller company. I suppose the challenge there is in managing the granfalloons so that the karasses can get results without undue interference :-)

Posted by Adrian at May 20, 2003 10:04 PM | TrackBack

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