Information Technology

Gartner Glossary


Collectives are aggregations of people who are outside the control of the enterprise, bound by a common action or opinion, and who affect the enterprise’s success. Mobs, formal communities, and informal networks of friends and groups linked by their liking for a particular product or location are examples of collectives. Collectives refers to all informal human forces outside the control of the enterprise that can impact the enterprise’s success or failure. These forces permeate enterprise and social boundaries, existing within and outside the formal enterprise. There are many related (but not identical) concepts, including collective intelligence, “wikinomics,” collaborative decision making, network-centric strategy, wisdom of crowds, social media, open innovation and crowdsourcing. Collectives influences innovation, sourcing, branding, positioning, fads, trends, customer support, hiring and other key aspects of every enterprise’s essential processes. As an adjective, collective is one of the core principles that distinguishes social solutions from nonsocial solutions.

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