MBA Course on Enterprise Social Media Strategy

By | May 5, 2012

Enterprise Social Media Strategy CourseThis summer, I’m going to be teaching an MBA seminar course titled: “Enterprise Social Media Strategy” – Link to Course Outline (PDF).

As a professor at the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management, I’m delighted to say that this course uniquely positions us among the very few business schools in Canada that have a holistic course offering in social media management. I’m excited about offering this course at the graduate level and am looking forward to discussions with students and guest speakers about the various opportunities and challenges of social computing in business contexts.

While contemplating the course curriculum, I decided to structure the themes of discussion around four primary use-cases for enterprise social media – which include:
i) fostering dialog;
ii) promoting advocacy;
iii) facilitating support; and
iv) encouraging innovation

During the course, I’m not only expecting to be able to draw upon my own experiences from various consulting engagements and research projects, but also to learn from students’ experiences in their own work contexts. Consequently, I’m hoping that these discussions can help the student audience cut through the hype and deliberate the key elements that are required in developing a practical social media strategy for customer-facing, external collaboration, and internal business contexts.

At a broad level, I’ve attempted to plan each course module within a framework that aims to advance the students’ understanding of:
i) goals and strategies for the use of social media in organizations, especially with respect to the value drivers for enterprise social media (encourage sharing, capture knowledge, enable action, empower people).
ii) maintenance and control of inventory of social media assets
iii) integration of social media programs for information sharing and decision-making processes in various business functions (e.g. marketing, supply chain, finance).
iv) coordination of employee tasks and customer experiences across a variety of social media channels
v) measurement and analysis of key performance indicators relevant to specific social media use cases

As a strong proponent of constructivist teaching methods, I’ve planned most course activities to be interactive and student-centered. Toward this, the performance assessment criteria for students includes a component that expects and encourages reflective microblogging (using Twitter) on course discussion topics. Additionally, students will also draft and publish individual as well as co-authored blog posts on social media tools and business issues related to the implementation and institutionalization of social media in organizations. In the spirit of being social, all deliverables will be published on the public domain and will be open to comments by students as well as other website visitors.

This being an MBA course, the case method will be utilized for content delivery and class discussions drawing upon case studies from various industry sectors. Additionally, there won’t be a prescribed textbook for the course which is befitting a subject area that is continually evolving. As a starting point, I’ve provided a list of academic and practitioner articles in the course outline. Students can read these to familiarize themselves with various themes and topics that the course will cover. I plan on providing readings on a week-by-week basis with the aim of keeping current with relevant issues surrounding the use of social media for business value.

To conclude, I’m offering this course because of my personal conviction of the important role that social media has to play in organizations of all sizes. While many business schools have started to offer some courses in social media to their students, a recent op-ed in Forbes suggests that many top schools are lagging behind. I’m glad to have the opportunity to offer this course at the Telfer School of Management and am pleased to say that our school – if not a pioneer in this area, it is certainly on its way to be a front-runner for advancing educational offerings in social media management.

Please feel free to share your comments about this course or if you have any other suggestions, I’m all ears. Please let me know in the comments section below, or fire me a tweet with your thoughts or feedback.

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