Cart, meet Horse

When people really want to believe something, they are willing to overlook the most obvious of logical fallacies. Thus is correlation conflated with causation in this InfoWorld article on Web 2.0 in the Enterprise. A social networking site for BestBuy is given credit for nearly magical capabilies:

Turnover appears to have been impacted as well as employee morale. The overall turnover rate at the company is 60 percent while turnover of people using the site is just 8 to 12 percent. The site itself has not required a lot of investment and leverages open source software. Currently, the site is restricted to employees only and customers are not able to access it.

Now there are two possibilities here. Either the participation in an employee social network induced employees not to quit in massive numbers, or more motivated and loyal employees chose to participate in the social network. While it’s possible that there is a combination of both, given the differences in turnover, it’s likely a whole lot of the later and very little of the former.

That’s not to say that Enterprise Social Networking isn’t a great thing. It could well be. But a healthy dose of skepticism is always, well, healthy.


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