The Ask and The Why

This follows my earlier post on organization culture – here . I had looked at public domain content on cultural tenants of known disruptors and abstracted that into 5 buckets.

In this post, I look at two fundamental differences between traditional hierarchical organizations and an viral ad-hoc new generation organization of wikipedia editors. Mind you that wikipedia disrupted the traditional hold of encyclopedias which were most likely published through a traditional organization.

I see a fundamental difference of how work gets propagated in both the types of organizations – in the traditional, the higher ups ‘ask’ the lowers downs to do something. Whereas in the viral and ad-hoc new generation organization, there is no higher-up, the reason works gets propagated to them is because they follow a ‘why’ (i.e. keep content referenced, keep content understandable, help other contributors, etc).

I think as organizations (both traditional and new) want to enter into the new-age economies, they should begin to evaluate their culture against this question – are their people driven by an ‘Ask’ or by a ‘Why’ ?


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