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What is a hyperlinked organization?

The Web is doing to business organizations what it has done to documents.

Documents traditionally have a hierarchical structure (also known as an "outline") created by an author. Readers move through the hierarchy in the way the author intended. The outline may be quite complex and intricate.

The Web changes all that. The Web pounds documents into many small pieces, loosely joined. Now the reader decides the order in which she'll read the pages. The pages lose their context in the hierarchy. The author loses her position of central author-ity.

Now, take an outline, rotate it 90 degrees, and you have an organizational chart...another hierarchical structure that the Web -- in the form of intranets -- is pounding into many small pieces, loosely joined.

Outlines and Org Charts

Intranets provide the technical infrastructure enabling virtual teams to form themselves quickly, without regard to roles in the org chart, to address rapidly-emerging opportunities and problems. These virtual teams are close to the customer and to the market, and make organizations far more responsive, creative and competitive.

On the other hand, because these hyperlinked teams are formed outside the confines of the hierarchy, management may now have little idea of what's going on in the organization. So these hyperlinked teams require a new type of hyperlinked management that facilitate the teams while also providing the appropriate layer of structure and oversight.

In a hyperlinked organization, people work together in new ways, in a new context, and the organization surges forward in its productivity, responsiveness, customer satisfaction and loyalty, and creativity. With hyperlinking comes a true transformation that touches just about every aspect of business life.

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"The Hyperlinked Organization" is a trademark of Open Text Corp. whom we thank for granting the JOHO permission to use this phrase. (I invented the phrase when I worked there.)