A general view is that today's workforce is distributed, mobile, and always connected.Organisations are expected to grow ever more reliant on collaboration between widelydispersed workers, and customers expect to have instant access to information and eenabledservices. The individual on the move who is temporarily deprived of broadbandaccess becomes handicapped, cut off from the recently adopted always-connectedlifestyle. And socially, both at work and with family and friends, social networking toolshelp us keep connected with a host of people, ranging from friends and close associatesto casual acquaintances.How are organizations coping with this recently emerging communication environment?In this article, we present and analyse the Swedish Sports example. Swedish Sports is afederation of close to 70 sports associations, who in turn count 20,000 local clubs asmembers. In these local clubs, close to a third of the Swedish population are members.Based on a study performed in the winter and spring of 2009-2010, and comparing witha study performed in 2003, we chart the changing communication patterns from a cluband association perspective. We note similarities and differences in the communicationfrom club to members, from members to clubs and between members.In general, broadband-enabled and mobile telephony-based communication is gainingground and has come to dominate the scene, while a number of classical forms ofcommunication are still not discontinued. However, in contrast to the current “generalknowledge” view, social networking tools still play a very minor role in the clubs. Forexample, Facebook use typically neither challenges, nor supports, organizationalcommunication in sports clubs. In the cases where it is used, it mostly appears to bebased on grassroots initiatives, rather than club-directed ones. There are also very fewexamples of social networking tools as an alternative way of organizing sports activities.But on the sports association and federation level, alternatives based on Facebook keepappearing. However, the important, influential ones need functionality that require wellsystematiseddatabases tailored to the specific needs of the sport. And although theinitial growth rate of some Facebook groups is impressive, it takes time to build afollowing that makes a site important.Our conclusions are that the communication landscape is changing, in favour ofbroadband and mobile telephony-enabled forms. However, the established sports clubsare still in charge of organising sports activities. The challenges arise in the fan andinterest group areas, where virtual alternatives are created and developed by interestedand enthusiastic individuals, rather than by established organisations. The example explored is in the Swedish Sports sphere, but the results are likely to be of importancealso to other organisations with a large customer base or potential interest groupexposure.
Honolulu: Pacific Telecommunications Council , 2011. 1587-1597 p.
communication channels; social networking tools; organisational communication; connected enterprise; e-communication