The Global OSML Index Project – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What does the acronym OSML stand for?

A: OSML stands for Organizational Social Media Literacy and refers to a company’s ability to leverage the potential of social technologies for competitive advantage. To learn more about the OSML framework, please refer to the article Six Social Media Skills Every Leader Needs published in McKinsey Quarterly (February 2013).


How does “Social Media” relate to business and organizations?

A: Social media applications (web 2.0) allow people to create, share, and annotate various forms of information (text, images, and video). With their participative, interactive, and collaborative nature they can change the way we communicate, work, and design business processes – across virtually every functional vertical. Companies that are faster and smarter in embracing the opportunities and risks that come with the new ball game will outperform those who lag behind. They will enjoy a new form of competitive advantage.


What is the Global OSML Index about?

A: The Global OSML Index is designed to identify and monitor the development of Organizational Social Media Literacy, especially in large and complex organizations. It will provide tangible metrics that allow companies to assess their capability for competing in an increasingly interconnected world. Based on a proprietary framework, we have developed a scientifically tested survey instrument that measures the various dimensions of OSML. In addition, we are also looking at key enablers and barriers along the path to this important element of digital acumen and collect cases about smart practices.


What is the target group of the project? How big is it?

A: The target group of the project are senior leaders in large and global organizations who have a say in the design of their organizational environment. They are the ones who can make a difference when it comes to implementing digital competencies on an organizational level. The survey strives to ultimately include thousands of senior leaders from more than 100 international Fortune 500 companies. The large and global sample allows for analyses along multiple dimensions (age, gender, education, industry, geography, seniority, function, and more). We expect that the rich data set the project is generating will trigger additional in-depth research on selected topics.


How relevant is this project for the challenges organizations and their leaders face?

A: Very relevant. This is not a project designed for academic journals. Its main purpose is to provide tangible diagnostic feedback and actionable recommendations for organizations so they can improve on relevant digital capabilities.


How do you collect the data?

A: We collect data via Qualtrics, the leading survey engine for academic research.  Survey participants will receive an anonymous web link which will lead them directly to the questionnaire.  The link will not reveal the respondent’s email address or identity. Larger corporate samples may receive a dedicated company link which allows for the identification of company-specific data sets.


How much time does it take to complete the survey?

A: In most cases the survey should not take more than 15 minutes. We are very considerate of the time constraints of senior executives.


Are the data confidential?

A: Yes. All data will be treated strictly confidential. We are using an anonymous web-link that does not allow the identification of individual respondents. While participating companies have the option to receive “their” results, we will share these only in their aggregate form, without the possibility to identify individual data points


Are the data safe?

A: Yes.  Data are protected through the state of the art security architecture of Qualtrics, a global leader in online surveys that is used by thousands of corporations and academic institutions.



How can we participate in this effort?  Do you offer partnership options?

A: We cordially invite everybody who meets the target criteria to participate in this project. We also offer various tiers of partnership options for large corporations that come with significant benefit packages. If you are interested to participate, please contact the Center for the Future of Organization. We will then reach out to you with more details.


What are the benefits for a participating organization?

A: Companies can use the Index to get a comprehensive and differentiated picture of their Organizational Social Media Literacy. They will discover pockets of excellence and areas of weaknesses and capability gaps they may want to address. They can benchmark themselves against the overall results and the results of their industry segment.


Is it possible to customize the OSML Index for the specific context of an organization?

A: Yes. Via our corporate partnership program, we offer also a full screening of an organizations entire senior leadership population, with the option to add up to 10 customized questions. Results will be analyzed and presented in a separate confidential detailed report, allowing for benchmark insights against the global Index. Please contact us if you are interested in exploring this option.



What else do you do to investigate the impact of Social media on Leadership and Organization?

A: Parallel with the global OSML Index, which is empirical and quantitative in nature, we are inviting thought leaders and executives from around the globe to participate in a global dialogue about this topic. The objective is to establish an ongoing platform for collaborative exchange between academia, business and consulting on the transformational dynamic of digital network technologies – an exchange that will ultimately be enriched by the results of the Index study, and vice versa. You are cordially invited to participate in this dialogue. Please visit www.futureorg.org/sixskills to learn more and sign up for this ideation initiative.


What are the guiding principles of your work? How does it build on the tradition of Peter Drucker?

A: In the tradition of Peter Drucker, we work across disciplines, combining conceptual depth with practical applicability  and ethical responsibility. Emphasizing relevance that provides tangible value, our activities are designed to provide actionable insights for organizations and their leaders, and help businesses to thrive in the 21st century. Consistent with our topical focus, we aim to work in close collaboration and connection with global thought leaders from academia, business, and consulting and a high-level network of executive supporters and members. By using an interdisciplinary approach we tap into multiple perspectives that relate not only to organizations, but to business and society at large. Together, these elements form an innovative multi stakeholder learning architecture.


If you have questions that were not addressed, please submit your inquiries by contacting us via email.