A Networked Business Can Reflect a Pathogen Epidemic

influenza_virus1Image sourced from: telecomfuturecentre 

Society has become very dependent on technology as evident with the worlds economy now being intertwined in our networked society. Consequently, many business’s have developed their business hierarchy and strategies around our networked society.  Many  processes within a business structure have taken on an intangible form, for example my current work place provided training through online readings and quizzes rather than hiring an individual to train me. This allows them to train a group of individuals faster and at an effective cost.

This could be seen as part of the new flatter form of organisation where organisations are distributed and decentralized. They are breaking down the hierarchy of workers therefore, when you flatten an organisation a section of the hierarchy must be relocated or let go. With the example of my current employment, it is clear they have limited their hierarchy and have removed the layer of trainers for new employees.  Although the invention of new technologies, especially within factories, have seen the loss of jobs; on the other end of the spectrum it has also caused the expansion of careers in other areas; Bradwell (2008) states how firms are now developing in new sectors such as silicon design and Bluetooth technology just to name a few.  We are seeing old sectors of business’s close down, however, we are also seeing new sectors opening, expanding and excelling.

However, these technological  advances in the business structure are changing transaction costs (Bradwell 2008 p.29). As Mitew (2013) discussed, when you view the business structure of Android you will see fairly cheap transaction costs due to the delegation of activities from Android being an open platform. However, in a company such as Apple, where they have a tight hierarchical structure from owning closed devices, it would be speculated that their transaction costs would be quite high.

Though moving away from cost and employment Bradwell (2008) notes the “rippling” effects that can occur within a business that is networked. Bradwell (2008 p.31) states that an individuals sole act can;

“ripple across others” within their local business and “across the world”

Bradwell (2008 ) goes on to state that employees of a networked business need to better understand their responsibilities in a networked business structure. This is a point that really stood out to me. I view this point as a virus moving through a village, once one person has the pathogen (unless they are isolated or cured) they will continue to pass it on. This seems to be the same in a business as once one franchise has a complication, if it is networked with other franchises across the nation or globally, it could potentially effect these business’s as well. A great example for my analogy is the Global Economic crisis where the debt from mortgage’s in America is said to have lead to global economic downturn.

 Therefore, a networked business seems to be effective and as Bradwell(2008 p.27) also states  “networked firms are happy firms” , however, we can see that often networked business can lead to unemployment and complications spreading to each firm.



*Bradwell, P., and Reeves, R. (2008) Economies. In Networked Citizens (pp. 25-31)

Mitew, T 2013, ‘Liquid Labour: global media industries and the price of immaterial production’ prezi slides, DIGC202, University Of Wollongong, viewed 20th August 2013 .


5 thoughts on “A Networked Business Can Reflect a Pathogen Epidemic

  1. My current workplace also requires constant online training and quizzes. As we work on planes there is a lot of safety updates and awareness training that is required. If the weeks training or notices aren’t read online then you are unable to start your shift and you will not get paid. It is made clear that it is unacceptable to do them on shift and you will receive a text message off the company during the week if too much accumulates, regardless if you are working or not. Much of this job is manual labour, not even the corporate world, and they are utilising the fact that we can be connected at anytime of the day.

  2. Great that you used Bradwell’s comment about how jobs are now developing in new sectors such as silicon design and Bluetooth technology, as honestly this is not something I would’ve realised on my own so thanks for that Amy! For some strange reason I had been holding the notion that technology is bad and is taking away all our jobs, stemming from a fear I held that maybe one day there will be no jobs at all as they all will be replaced by technology. This post however gave me hope that even if there is a shortage in one job sector I am sure another thousand will pop up thanks to the possibility and opportunities technology gives us.

  3. This has really helped me to understand the nature of this rippling effect as jobs develop ad change to suit our ever changing global environment, especially as you stated, “They are breaking down the hierarchy of workers therefore, when you flatten an organisation a section of the hierarchy must be relocated or let go.”

  4. I know of a few places which have now taken online training as opposed to normal one on one training newer employees. I know that Dominos down in Ulladulla, and probably all of them really, put incentives for their employees to do the online training. They offer pay rises to new employees after they have completed certain parts of the training and allows for them to get in and start working as soon as they can. I think this will be the way most major businesses will go in the future because it saves them time and money. I also love the virus metaphor you used, it really hammers home your ideas of the rippling effect. Great post 🙂

  5. Great Post Amy. I myself have applied for a few jobs and so far all of it has been online. I think I actually prefer face to face contact when it comes to job applications because then I can better present and explain myself than in a preset form. But oh well. I loved how you related this back to the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 as well. This was a really interesting post.

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