The enterprise is a social place. This is the epistemological fundament of the German-inspired social market economy. If the enterprise is truly a social place, it follows that its decisional life and its labor organization must reduce the socio-economical differences among its employees. The social conflict must be reduced since its impact on society’s cohesion and on the respect of predetermined civil norms can become dramatic, as we witness daily at least on a European level.
The Socialing Institute, together with leading Italian and international experts, has been developing in the last few years research and informative events on:
– Public Authorities and Institutions
– Trade Associations
The research is generally divided in three main areas:
1. On-line Socialing
Our discussion begins with the analysis of the birth and development of community and social marketing on web 2.0. The web is an organizational model of thought and social living based on universal accessibility, the sharing and socialization of information and the interconnection of all the fields of activity located in remote geographical areas. The network economy has changed the subject of trade in markets: “What is exchanged today is not the property but the access to a property, whether physical or intellectual” [Rifkin, 2000].
We refer, in particular, to the studies of Castells and Wallace on network activities and forms of interaction in “Telematic tribes.” The cultural and social proximity of web-based relations reproduces the “square” of pre-industrial markets: the suppression of spatial and time barriers enhanced the value of the social dimension rather than the value of information itself. Online communication has built a new collective subject, the virtual community, “made up of real people that work, play and learn by sharing experiences, projects and opinions on the network, (thus) obtaining the opportunity to become major stakeholders of businesses that produce goods and services” [Micelli, 1997].
It is important, in our opinion, to guarantee a distance between any sales-driven initiative and the people meeting and mutually socializing online. If it is true that competition between companies is played more and more on ethical and moral grounds, affirming elements of differentiation for the company offer, community marketing must disregard the supply and demand logic, thus gradually abandoning marketing to embrace Socialing.
The word marketing itself is now devoid of meaning, too often indicating manipulation and conditioning of consumption, seduction and narcissistic symbolism. In order to provide empirical evidence to our reflections, we will analyze Socialing cases in the so-called profit and non-profit worlds with a clear objective.
This demarcation is now unsatisfactory. We can no longer tolerate the notion of a wild jungle on one side, populated by bandits and opportunists who fight recklessly, opposed to clear souls defending universal feelings on the other. The for-profit world needs to become social while the not-for-profit must embrace profit in order to survive.
2. Off-line Socialing
Our research activity envisages the insertion, in those companies that are actively engaged in Corporate Social Responsibility, of an independent Socialing business function, parallel and integrated with marketing. In ethically certified companies, Socialing plays both an analytical and strategic role.
Starting from the analysis of communication with all internal and external stakeholders, the Socialing business function must be able to deliver a range of services for the territory and initiatives of socialization of its experiences in the local community. In our research process we try to outline the guidelines for the implementation of a strategy and an operational plan capable of activating feasible forms of Socialing even in those developing countries engaged with the activities of multinational corporations.
3. Socialing in art, culture, agri-business, health, education
Our reflection begins with the assumption that in art, culture, the agri-business, health, education as well as in politics and non-profit organizations, the economic paradigm based on the law of supply and demand is unenforceable or should be revisited based on the principles of Humanistic Economics or Humanistic Capitalism.
The “offer” cannot anticipate and determine “demand”, the latter needs the opportunity to formulate “ex-ante” autonomously. The categories of thought and the dynamics of the market economy can not regulate the building phase of the “offer” but may rather contribute, with their analytical precision, to improve the effectiveness in controlling the forms of communication and socialization of the results. The demand economy must give way to the centrality of the cultural offer in the Socialing approach, whose regulatory mechanism does not depend on sale and purchase but on the proposal and acceptance of a project having the common good as its main denominator. Our experience in recent years has focused on the agribusiness where quality assurance, product integrity and the quality of the whole supply chain are essential to ensure the success of the made in Italy.
We are focusing our efforts on the EXPO 2015 in Milan as it represents a great opportunity for the cultural and industrial development of our economic system.