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Friday, May 6, 2011

Is Duncan Watt's just another Gladwell...

So I am halfway through Watts' book "Everything is Obvious: Once you know the the answer" and pretty much thinking.. Maybe Watts' should take his own advice...

Watts' rightly points out that Gladwell takes things a bit far with his ideas on nodes and social change, but Watts' commits the same errors himself. While I can agree that online social networking is real... there is clear evidence that online social networking is different from face-to-face social networking.. And pretty much the bulk of Watt's conclusions are based only on his research using online research (so far). While his points are valid when he is describing how humans operate in online communities (itunes purchasing), it really doesn't translate to face-to-face organizational cultures. Watt's assumptions that these environments are the same, and because his sample size is so large.. ignores fundamentals of research design and practice, but it also ignores research done by real OD scientists. It appears he commits the same sins he claims Gladwell does.. and over emphasize his points.. It is obvious to Watt's that Gladwell is wrong... cause he knows the answer.. I would argue they are both partially right and wrong.

That said, I am going to keep reading Watts.. he makes several good points.. and online networking is reshaping our traditional networks.. so it is still good read.. just not as accurate as I would have hoped.

2 comments:

Mitch Owen said...

See.. http://www.drkaren.us/KS_publications01.htm

Vince Verbeke said...

Mitch

As my 6th grade graduate, dairy farmer from rural PA would say, "all things fail in wet and dry weather."

e.g. There is a little right and wrong all mixed up in just about everything.

Vince

p.s. Except for our mothers on Mothers Day. All good there!