Circumstances Beyond Control

An example of an organization that had a good plan but had something go wrong because of circumstances beyond their control was Yahoo! 360o, Yahoo’s venture into social media. Originally launched on March 29, 2005 as an invitation only-service, Yahoo! 360o was launched to the general public on June 24, 2005.  At the time, Yahoo! 360o was innovative, as it included many of the modern features of current social networking sites, including “Quick Comments” to leave messages on other people’s pages, “Friend Updates” which kept users abreast of activity and statuses of their friends, and “Photos”, which allowed users to share photos with their friends. While initially popular, from 2006 to 2007, the service experienced a 50% drop in visitors and traffic (Schonfeld, 2007). This can most likely be attributed to the entrance of another innovative competitor, Facebook, which opened its competing social media website to all users on September 26, 2006 (Abram, 2006).

My proposed innovation for my sociotechnical plan for this class’s individual project is the introduction of a synchronous component to traditionally asynchronous organizational training, namely the use of computer-based instructors and tutors to enhance content delivery and to monitor for attention of online learners. This example is relevant, as it demonstrates a simple, but important principle of innovation – being first to the market and first to deploy does not guarantee success nor continued support (Cadogan, Diamantopoulos, & Siguaw, 2002). Even though Yahoo! 360o was made available to the general public as a comparable social media platform almost a year before Facebook opened access to the general public, it failed due to circumstances beyond Yahoo’s control, namely the introduction of another competitor. With regards to introducing a synchronous component to asynchronous online learning, the relevancy is that another competing technology or capability to computer-based tutors may enter the market as a more viable and successful method of adding this synchronous component to asynchronous learning.

Although social and technical forces are obvious impacting forces for a sociotechnical plan, they are also the two most relevant forces for the proposed introduction of computer-based tutoring and interaction to asynchronous online learning to create a synchronous learning platform. Technical forces have the potential to be facilitating or reducing factors. Technology could potentially facilitate the use of computer-based tutors by providing increased AI and emotional sensing capabilities to make the relevant synchronous interaction more personalized and more acceptable to the receiving user. At the same time, technological forces can be reducing factors, as there is always potential that a new, more effective technology for introducing true synchronous interaction to the asynchronous learning platform may be developed and introduced. Social forces are most likely to be reducing forces. This can be attributed to the fact that, while humans embrace technological advances in the field of learning, as demonstrated by the acceptance and demand for online learning platforms, they may be unwilling to accept the idea of a computer-based tutor for creating a synchronous learning platform as they either may desire an asynchronous learning platform only, or may socially be uncomfortable with the idea of being in a subservient position (student) to technology (the computer-based tutor).


Abram, C. (2006). Welcome to Facebook, everyone. Retrieved May 24, 2016 from

Cadogan, J. W., Diamantopoulos, A., & Siguaw, J. A. (2002). Export market-oriented activities: their antecedents and performance consequences. Journal of International Business Studies, 615-626.

Schonfeld, E. (2007). Yang Decides to Shut Down Yahoo 360—Nobody Notices. Retrieved May 24, 2016 from


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