Groundswell social trend in technology

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Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff in the book Groundswell describe groundswell as a phenomenon that is "A social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other rather than from traditional institutions like corporations." Critically evaluate this statement considering the implications for organizations and the impact on communication and globalization


In the analysis of Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff in their book Groundswell give an up-to-date guide for online trading practitioners. It presents useful schema on how we view the opportunities of groundswell as marketers. Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff in this book have defined groundswell as a social trend that involves use of technologies to obtain things wanted from each other unlike in traditional institutions like the corporations. The clarity of one's objective is stressed to be the one that break strategy. Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff define five primary objectives that can be pursued successfully by the companies in the groundswell. Groundswell is a common trend used by individuals to obtain things they require from one another instead of using the other institutions like the corporations. Quoting Charlene and Bernoff the author of the book, Groundswell, the greater the understanding one has on individuals who compose the groundswell around your company's brand, the more easy it is to use new social networking trends to your advantage. Companies which ad infinitum keep track of updates regarding them online will understand their consumers better than those who do not have the track on groundswell. Groundswell as a social trend then is used by people use technologies to attain what they need from other individual.


The first part of the book is dedicated to understanding groundswells. It states that while it is a modern reality which is enabled by accelerated convergence of people Groundswell has been scary to big companies due to its economic and big trends. As stated by Kleindorfer, Et al (2001), groundswell is democracy at its utmost. It enables both transparency and immediacy. Individuals and companies defining groundswell as a challenge and opportunity get an opportunity to leverage and embrace its technological trends. Other companies that do not embrace these technologies definitely fall behind. In future, lack of online brand will determine if one gets an interview with a company of choice. This will also determine whether the clients sides with a company or its competitors.

Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff are Forrester research analysts. Their book is filled with great illustrations of how large companies ride the groundswell. It is about enabling corporate change. Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff arm the reader with ample data and references needed to support groundswell's strategies and in managing stressful changes. A major tool available on the groundswell blog is the social profile tool. This tool breaks down statistically the number of creators, collectors, inactive, spectators, critics for a given for a specified demographic cluster. Upon analyzing Malcolm Gladwell's article on the tipping spot and its maven, the sales man silhouettes and the connector. He indicates that companies can leverage online network and turn their collectors and critics to be connectors and salespersons.

On the outline of the world Maven state that there are people paid in non-monetary goods. These are those who spend a lot of their time energizing other people and sharing their knowledge. Such people are the real representatives of the company value. Embracing the groundswell is uncomforting and scary. The resistance to change is strong (both to individuals and corporate) but the paybacks are amazing. Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff book is filled with success stories and demonstrates how use of technology can be extremely rewarding example if one gets in to implementation of a corporate Wiki.

Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff have warned those individual who practice or intend to practice groundswell of numerous possibilities of encountering risk during practice. According to Kleindorfer, Et al (2001), embracing the groundswell ought to resemble any other open-minded learning experience. It will involve personal skills, opportunism, collaboration, flexibility, humbleness, patience and listening. Corporate executives have in recent days faced with numerous potentially inexplicable situations. Many people express their opinion on companies and corporate through blogs, on you tube from their own commentaries, rebroadcasting TV commercials, editing and defining organizations on Wikipedia, on company website's catalogue which contains tags, on social sites like the twitter and the face book etc. these social technologies combined enable the social trend of technologies used by people and corporate to attain what they want from other corporate and individuals; "the groundswell." The executives can make a choice of succumbing to groundswell and are swallowed whole by the prevailing challenges. Alternatively they choose to utilize the advantages this helps them to thrive in the groundswell.

Those executives who opt to choose thriving in the groundswell, according to Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, they use the Japanese basic strategy of the martial art jujitsu to be the basic approach in groundswell point of view. The Japanese Jujitsu teaches on how to utilize the opponents' power to one's own advantage. For an individual or a corporate to do that, it is shrewd to comprehend in a vast approach the opponents' way before engaging them. The most imperative concept to keep in mind in regard to groundswell is the reality that the focus is not on the technologies but on the relationships.

The technologies provide the platforms that enable relationships as well as the connectedness among people. It also present the ever available ability to stay connected as it is the true source of power. In absence of the people, technologies are ineffectual. However, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff put across that it is still necessary to comprise a working understanding of these technologies. This will help in understanding how technologies facilitate interaction among people. It is only after understanding exactly how they enable relationships that one can establish their potential hazard to institutional power, and determine how to use these power to own benefit.

Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff in their book present Social Techno graphics Profile (STP) as a groundswell application understanding. The Social Techno graphics Profile (STP) provides data on a few groups of customers. An example is from Japanese PC owners to the Toys Shoppers; it allows the company to analyze their customers' media predispositions socially. These classifications entail spectators, collectors, joiners, creators and inactive, these are the least involved in the groundswell to the principally involved in the groundswell. The second part of the Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff book concentrates on engaging groundswell in a suitable way for association. This entails a four-step planning development to construction a unique groundswell strategy for ones organization and it is called POST method. The People Objective Strategy and Technology (POST) starts with a primary question. "What are customers' expectations?" In this initial step the answer can be obtained in using right Social Techno graphics Profile (STP). The following step which entails Objectives, on analyzing objectives the major question is; "what is your goal?" A good example is if someone is looking to create sales or enhance employee efficiency. The third step is the strategy.

On strategizing the major question has been. "How is one supposed to perceive the relationship between the company and the customer?" and finally the last step of the POST is Technology and its major question is "what are the most valuable applications?"In the course of this progression it is imperative that management remember the process commences with clients and ends with technology. Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff gets into details for every objective observed as most significant for the company to adopt. The five objectives include; listening to the groundswell (this helps to gain insights), energizing the groundswell (this inspires customers to trade each other), talking to groundswell (entails sparking conversation), assisting groundswell to support itself (support each other to cut cost), and finally embracing groundswell (this provides that one be open to customer input in regard to products and services).

The third part of the Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff book entails gradual transformation of groundswell. This is a phenomenon that can transform rapidly, although these rapid changes pile on each other gradually. As discussed in this chapter groundswell is not limited to external publics only; it can also be applied within the organization. Groundswells' future is unknown but it is irremediable and will be in practice interminably.

As the web becomes entirely social, there is need to allow users to three things. These include establishment of single identity to log on several sites; share classified resources like the photos credentials and contacts and distribution of information to multiple social application. Some of the examples of companies which are sophisticated to an extent of using groundswell are the Del Monte pet foods which use a classified online society too regularly, they chat with approximately four hundred lovers of pet from whom they get opinions that assist in improving their products. Another is Ernst & Young which recruit about four thousand graduates hired annually through career group. Mini USA is another company that has been using groundswell in its operation through blogs, discussion groups and uses the information to guide advertising campaigns. According to Charlene Li, being a social trend in which corporate use technologies to get what they need from each other.

Disruptive social technologies

When discussing disruptive social technology we observe ground well to demonstrate fundamentally changing concepts of communication, organization and dynamicity of technology. This is well demonstrated in the Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff book "groundswell" analysis on social technologies. The prospective of mass-collaboration on open-source scheme like the Wordpress, Linux, Drupal and Firefox has been challenging the conventional top-down hierarchies of great institution like churches, governments and corporate.

There are numerous old institutional hierarchies some which are breaking down and others that are supported with bailouts. However, the ground has temporarily shifted below them. Corporate as well as people have always drawn strength from each other and often they have drawn strength from one another. On other occurrences they have rebelled against social institutional power in social activities like the labor unions as well as political revolutions. But the rough balance between the scale of economics of institutions and the rebellion of the constituents have shifted with time for the lack of advent and spread of social technologies. Critically analyzing the groundswell the notion that hierarchical process that are mainly observed among the old age corporate are built to control ideas; (like the copy right and the slogan). However, the rapidly changing online social technologies have undermined these traditional technologies and presented difficult challenges for numerous traditional institutions.

According to Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, reforms give relevance to the message or gives way for replacement of messages with something new and that which is substituted with people's expectations and desire. Most online social drifts and technologies advances from their contemporary adolescent position that they offer to establish a legitimate social justice meritocracy and democracy instead of the usual pay slip services to the common ideals.

Changing consumer habits

With the emergence of social networks there are several managerial fundamental shifts in the society and the major one of all is the dynamics of the customer. As depicted by the Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, customers are becoming more empowered and in recent times the financial crisis hitting the corporate are due to lack of trust and confidence in the institutions. Thus the enormous advancement of the social network and increased interdependence among states since corporate have resulted from widening market segment through bloggers. Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff depicts that there is a tendency of corporate and its partners to create a chain and realize the value of managing a huge network of companies. At this level social network become an essential tool of the context.

In order to understand the social technologies and how it can improve the way an individual can better improve messages. These social platforms can be easily substituted when something well off comes along. It is good to concentrate on utilization of social tools to put up momentous relationships. There are three major trends of social networking in the way corporate use the internet today. Initially, the process in regard to information discovery is changing from a introverted activity to a collective activity. Secondly, the manner in which exchanging of information is changing i.e. from sharing information keenly through emailing and sending photos to friends to sharing it passively through uploading the photos to social networks like twitter and emailing notification to acquaintances. On the third account, it is essential to understand that the web has entirely become social. Currently, social network is not a site but a concept. Any brand building activity or research associated with the internet must have an intrinsic social nature in it for success.

Evolving opportunities

Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff demonstrate the work of the technological networks in artificial intelligence to the business structures that have been formed today. They show the need of the people to incorporate their business to these networks to catalyze growth. These social network provide some degree of humility that corporation should have about the current understanding and capability to have power over networks. According to (Ashill & Yavas, 2005),they also represent in some way the growing imperative to cover peripheral visions to evaluate, scan and look for prospects that might emerge from the social networks that the corporate won't look for in case they were if they were to take the typical firm-centric view which includes that everything come about from the headquarter . Several companies have decided to open architecture and have created a social network to both the customers and the employees in every division and they have also created a social network for developers to join in and understand the policy. They have also commenced on development of products and services on such platform.

Customer Centric Strategy

In reference to Del Rio, et al. (2001), it is essential to understand that every company recognizes the centrality of its customers in its business model. Companies must start with designing of strategies by understanding on its evolving needs to the customers and the increased significance of social network in the life of a customer. This way it is easy to capitalize and implement a customer centric strategy where you realize what you have empowered all the customers and that they are all part of the network.

The biggest obstacle faced by the companies today is that the more they edge to network and start to try on controlling the network they more they lose their grip on traditional control. That is the biggest problem that the management must put up with in the network times. It is also important to understand how companies achieve their objectives when they are operating on social technology and blogs than when they were on the firm-centric world. Involvement of the customers to start with is part of innovative work. However, open innovation is very broad. Companies like the InnoCentive or the eBay of innovations solve problem for so many companies that seek advice from them. Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff illustrates that there are numerous developments in the world and it will just take a little time before they capitalize on new managerial skills involved in networks and social technology (Del Rio, et al. 2001).

The more one knows and understands individuals who make up the groundswell around the company brand the more one can use new social networking brand for the company to their advantage. Such comprehension comes from being better than the conventional surveys used earlier. Conversely, according to Li & Bernoff (2008), very few companies study on how people essentially interact with the web in addition to exploiting online collaborative mechanism. Much of today's internet turn around individual users and the content they generate, the transactions they choose and the community they form.

As indicated by Shawndra (1999), upon quoting Elizabeth Churchill the lives of people are affluent and complex that mean one has to retrieve data from the large and the small. This means quantitative data from large groups on answering who, how and where these data can be extracted. It is significantly sound to look keenly at people's disposition in regard to social network to uncover surprises. For instance most youth are adept at internet usage. Li & Bernoff (2008), in the Forrester research about the ranges of behavior on the web which is more often based on demographics and skills. To assist the companies on targeting internet strategies Li & Bernoff (2008) illustrates well on social technology ladder, this classifies consumers based on their contributions in various categories of social networks.


From a manager's perspective, this book can help improve a collapsing company and can also be a lifeline to numerous companies struggling to acclimatize to social technology faction. Those managers equipped with a working knowledge on the subject, the book can present them with additional insight on technologies. This will help them to use technologies and execute full potential. Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff do not only analyze leadership, but it is based on how to manage in a specified area. There is no doubt Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff have been inclined to Drucker's MBO perspective to management. Half of the book particularly addresses laying of goals and objectives together with development of strategies to accomplishment of those objectives. Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff have taken the existing business functions of marketing, research, sales, development and support turning them to objectives of the groundswell like listening, energizing, talking, embracing and supporting.

They highly accentuate that one corporation need not implementation of all five objectives while deciding which among the two fits best in their company require and zeroing in achieving and those desired results. Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff is an indispensible resource that can be used for open relations scholars and professionals alike. The book is set on the course of reliable data, practical applications and the current real world cases. Many of the cases in the real world describe a crisis scenario and most often give the company adequate reaction to the crisis thanks to outstanding public affairs practices. Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff in the book groundswell provide tables that illustrate the ROI on blogging to managers and on ratings and the reviews of the organization. With the public relation going beyond the traditional news release and practitioners often get lost in the vast social technology movement. Groundswell is demonstrated to be like a map not only demonstrated to be facing on the right direction but also reading someone every step on the way (Ashill & Yavas, 2005).