Collaborating in a Social Era

Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 6 customer ratings
(6 customer reviews)


SKU: collaborating Category:


Ideas, insights and models that inspire new ways of thinking about collaboration

Download the first chapter from the book for free (no registration)
Chapter 1: The Curse of Physical Proximity

Illustrations from the book are available for viewing and use.

There’s a disconnect between who we are as people and how we work together. We have always been social creatures; few, if any, of us work without relying on contributions from our teammates and stakeholders. Yet the organizations we work within are making us dumb when it comes to collaboration and innovation. Our organizations have been built around optimising highly repeatable processes – the industrial production line. But work is changing; work has changed. We are more often than not involved with barely repeatable processes, challenged to quickly mobilise teams to meet poorly defined but urgent challenges. The solution isn’t simply flexible working and mobile devices, it’s a mindset shift about how we work and with whom we work. It starts with you. It starts with how you communicate, how you build and use your professional network, and how you collaborate with those within and without your designated team.

Oscar Berg tackles the big organizational problems and brings human scale solutions. Learn how the Collaboration Pyramid and the Five Principles of Collaborative Communication can transform your ways of working.

Start now. Start with yourself. Bring your team along. You don’t need permission to improve your communication. Lead the transformation.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword 8
  • Introduction 12
  • The curse of physical proximity 17
  • A new business reality 35
  • The changing nature of work 47
  • The struggling knowledge worker 61
  • The lifeblood of organizations 75
  • The cost of not finding 93
  • The tyranny of email 105
  • The knowledge work capability framework 119
  • The collaboration pyramid 139
  • The five principles of collaborative communication 157
  • The power of social networks 171
  • An introduction to social technology 187
  • The new collaboration 205
  • Use cases for social collaboration 219
  • Making change happen 241
  • Acknowledgements 248
  • References 250

About the author

Oscar BergOscar Berg is a noted digital strategist and expert in Enterprise Collaboration. Based in Sweden, he helps organizations to empower their people to communicate and collaborate better with digital technology. Read more about Oscar and his work at, or @oscarbergFacebook and LinkedIn.


Additional information

Weight0.63 kg
Dimensions24 × 17 × 2 cm

Ebook, Ebook and print, Print, Organizational license, Free sample

6 reviews for Collaborating in a Social Era

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Mark Morrell

    I have often wondered how we lose touch with the customer as our organisations become more complex and we become distant from our work colleagues. Why? More importantly how can we collaborate with each other to help recover that close relationship with customers again? After reading Oscar Berg’s book ‘Collaborating in a Social Era’ I am now more optimistic this can be achieved and confident that following his approach we can collaborate more easily and better.

    I recommend anyone interested to read Oscar’s book.

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    Marcus Österberg

    This book was not what I expected – in a good way. I noticed that I’ve dropped some facts about collaboration on my colleagues recently, afterwards realizing I got them from this book.

    This book offers the digital perspective my favorite book on management; Managing the professional service firm, by David Maister, missed out on. I can recommend this book to anyone interested in the digital workplace, intranets or managing knowledge-workers.

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    Henrik Gustafsson

    Oscar Berg has written an enlightening book about the connection between digital business transformation and collaborative knowledge work.
    The book talks about the need for productive, responsive and innovative organizations in a fast changing world. There are other books highlighting new requirements on organizations brought about by digitization and higher customer expectations. What is unique about “Collaborating in a social era” is that Oscar Berg clearly describes how knowledge work and collaborative capabilities is at the centre of this required organizational transformation.
    The last decades, many companies have spent plenty of time and effort optimizing business processes. A lot of IT investments have concerned automation of repetitive processes and transactions.
    Knowledge work, especially the non-routine and more cognitively demanding type, has so far been largely neglected in business development and IT development efforts. It means that all the work that happens between processes and hierarchies, often more than 50% of the work in a typical business, has been seriously neglected.
    The book explains the changing nature of work and the burdens that face knowledge workers such as the “tyranny of e-mail”, digital waste and information overload causing stress and disengagement.
    After presenting the context for working in a modern business, the author starts to guide the reader into constructive ways to face these challenges. One of the key models in the book, the “collaboration pyramid”, illustrates how collaboration comes about. Many books about collaboration talk about formal projects and meetings. In a more responsive organization it is of critical importance that collaboration can happen spontaneously e.g. ad-hoc problem solving using professional networks. These types of social collaboration demand different supportive layers, including an open communication culture and flexible social technologies.
    Clearly, it has been important for Oscar Berg to present the complex relationships between ways of working, culture and technology in a clear and understandable way.
    The book also bridge the business and IT aspects of collaboration by providing a simple but powerful capability framework. The capabilities such as Find people and Share content are seen as generic building blocks that can be used in different collaborative situations. Thus, the framework becomes a great tool for driving improvements in digitally enabled new ways of working for teams, projects, communities, networks and similar.
    To sum up, Oscar Berg has put together a clearly written and illustrated book, for anyone seriously interested in digital transformation, providing practical tools to analyse and improve knowledge work and collaborative practices.

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    Martin Risgaard

    This book introduces some very useful frameworks for addressing this in both a programmatic and pragmatic way. If you are expecting revolutionary thinking and new ideas, you may find yourself slightly disappointed, however, the big strength of the book is just that: It applies some down-to-earth principles that make it very useful in the daily work.

    The content pivots around three key themes: Proximity between people, the ability to find information, and the role of communication which is something everyone struggles with to some degree and this helps make the content relevant and the frameworks make it actionable.

    My full review:

  5. Rated 5 out of 5

    Kris Dejongh

    I have simply devoured this book. The many insights it provides have the power to transform a community, an organization, our society at large.

    To comment on only one of the many principles it advocates: The need to move from sharing information on a ‘need to know’ to a ‘need to share’ basis. This I see as a key element of transformation.
    I was outside Maelbeek metro station last Tuesday, immediately after the event. I saw the first victims being carried outside, or being supported, stumbling along. Our offices are just next door, close colleagues of mine passed through this metro station that same morning, one of them minutes before.
    In the aftermath, and already prior to the attack, basically all everyone throughout my country and beyond our borders discusses about is who knew what, and how such information could and should have been shared. Even a foreign president was keen to comment on this. As it turns out, those responsible for the Paris and Brussels massacres were not unknown. Different organizations at different places both locally and across different countries held pieces of the puzzle that might have identified the suspects prior to their actions. The issue, in my view, is not that of individuals in those organizations who may have or have not passed information along. The information simply cannot reach everyone who might have been interested or needed to know, due to how we are organized in a ‘need to know’ basis, at all levels. Things won’t change if this does not get broken.
    The need to move to a ‘need to share’ basis offers tremendous opportunities, at any organization of any scale. It can save lives.

    This book is not firstly about technology, while the enabling capacity of technology is being addressed. It is about collaborating. I have been working for more than twenty years on how governments exchange information and work together. The ideas expressed strike many a chord to me.

    This book has certainly affected my way of thinking. It puts many communication issues that I encountered privately or professionally in perspective. I simply love the quote: “E-mail is where information goes to die”. For many-to-many information sharing, this is SO true.

    I feel an urge to act. This book is already affecting my way of working. I have started pestering relatives, friends and colleagues, suggesting them to read the book. I have asked at work for an organizational license to be purchased. My colleagues are discussing on how to organize our informal knowledge in a shared way. I strive to address communication improvement in a local organization of which I am a member, with some support of social media. First thing is to address the mindset. Tools can only help.

    This book should come with a warning. “Reading this may change your life”.

    I don’t recall ever ‘liking’ anything on the internet. I generally preferred to stay anonymous, not seeing the point of why I should even bother to comment. I now feel compelled to do so.

    Oscar Berg, I for one LIKE your book. Big time.

  6. Rated 5 out of 5

    James Robertson (verified owner)

    The world is changing, and not always in ways that we expect. The same is true of the business environment.

    This book provides a very solid exploration of the need for collaboration in modern business. Well crafted, and to-the-point, the book examines the challenges facing organisations of all types, and how new ways of working will be required to overcome them.

    The most valuable aspect of the book are the very simple — but very powerful — models that Oscar has created. These help to position collaboration as more than a do-or-don’t activity. Instead, collaboration and social activities are a spectrum of interactions for a variety of purposes, and Oscar’s models provide real shape around this.

    A valuable book, highly recommended.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.