reflexive intranet

This is a refer link to introduce a specific policy term:

A reflexive intranet is an intranet at the core of a learning organization, one whose explicit structure becomes slowly a user-authored structure.

Building on the explicit structure requires three primary components:

The most reflexive functions are required to reach the "fourth and fifth levels of the five levels of intranet" - see that article for introduction and display of reactive and reflective levels. Organizations must master levels 0, 1, 2 and 3 before proceeding to the reflexive:

"Level 4: 'mandatory' nets which perform knowledge management and enable mobility"

  • all documents circulated in the organization are available to employees through the intranet.
  • employees on corporate premises are fully supported - top management visibly contributes.
  • mobile and off-site employees are well-supported and can operate effectively for sustained periods without physically entering any corporate office.
  • visibility to management, physical presence probably still determine chances for advancement (opportunities for remote employees to be noticed and promoted still tend to be more limited)..

"Level 5: 'ubiquitous' nets which support very personal computers in a global secure network of easy task and decision delegation"

  • any employee can access any corporate information from anywhere they might be (some unusual restrictions may apply due, for instance, to laws restricting encryption or privacy)
  • management is also distributed - may operate from home, field offices, points of crisis, etc.
  • management recognizes and rewards performance independently of physical circumstances (corporate advancement no longer depends on physical access to particular decision-makers).

Due mostly to this last item, talented individuals anywhere are motivated to work with the organization. No longer must people move to a particular geographic location to achieve a degree of influence in the organization. There are however more financial requirements which must be met to make this possible:

Ethical and instructional discipline should in theory evolve to a point where the decisions that can only be made "live" (like those dealing with actual political decisions) are framed and all participants notified by intranet, and fully funded to get to the venue where the decision is made. The Green Party of Canada for instance funds travel costs for members of its committees to meet periodically, though it does not compensate them for the travel or meeting time involved.

Where this is not possible, other major decisions may be referred to some other, lowest-common-denominator-but-equal-power medium, e.g. mark up and mail back.

Major decisions are clearly differentiated from those that are more casual and can be made in the unequal power relationships that prevail in the intranet/wiki.

Namespace discipline must be good enough to be certain that the organization's various factions, tendencies and arguments are adequately represented so that no one can claim that they or their faction was not "really consulted".

At this point the network is fully reflexive and command verbs are handled in the same command hierarchy as the positions themselves.

Mobility means that consulting the information from worn devices is common, and reliable enough to enable speeches and other public appearances, e.g. an all-candidates meeting or an encounter with the press at a protest:

Eventually the decisions themselves are delegated in the same manner as is seen in today's offshoring software market, which offloads low-level decisions involved in software work, or in the 24x7 financial markets which run on mobile devices, or in political work relying on BlackBerry technologies: A position protocol evolves that relies on access to these tools and conveys positions to the press based on these tools.

There are significant hazards of downtime at this level but part of ubiquity is dealing with emergency response as routine - ensuring that such groups as community emergency response teams remain in operating order during emergency operations. An election protocol evolves that starts to rely exclusively on these devices.

citation of original article including abstract

full original text of 1996 article