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Enterprise 2.0: theoretical foundations of social media tools influence on knowledge sharing practices in organizations

Gordeyeva, Iryna (2010) Enterprise 2.0: theoretical foundations of social media tools influence on knowledge sharing practices in organizations.

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Abstract:This research deals with a question whether new Enterprise 2.0 technologies, when adopted, can bring change to organizational communication, information and knowledge processes, and influence the barriers to knowledge sharing. A variety of opinions are expressed, discussions, studies and conferences are initiated in this field. However, as became clear from the initial overview, previous research is mostly focused on either problems of tools adoption or on the peculiarities of the use of certain technologies. The objective of this research is to construct a grounded theory that explains how adoption of Enterprise 2.0 tools (such as wikis, blogs, microblogs, social networks, tagging and social bookmarking) address the barriers to knowledge sharing. To achieve the research objective several steps have been taken. Firstly, an extensive literature review has been done. It consists of two main parts: overview of the main theories of knowledge sharing and of the state-of-the-art research on Enterprise 2.0. Managing organizational knowledge is regarded as important for learning and innovation processes. Organizations put a lot of efforts into motivating their employees to share knowledge, as well as into supporting this process with all kinds of Information Technologies (IT). However, there are different obstacles to successful knowledge sharing. According to the existing research literature the most significant barriers are lack of interpersonal trust between organizational members, costs and complexities of sharing knowledge (described by social dilemma theory), and settings in organizational culture. Second part of the literature review is devoted to the concepts of Enterprise 2.0 and the use of the tools in organizations. After structuring the concepts defined in literature we grouped the impacts of the use of Enterprise 2.0 tools in four groups: first, impact on communications patterns facilitating connections between members, interpersonal trust, and work awareness; second, impact on the knowledge creation process by making the process more collaborative; third, impact on organizational culture by focusing on participation, collaboration and knowledge sharing; fourth, impact on visibility of knowledge sharing activities and authors‘ reputation. The theoretical research resulted in a set of three hypotheses that reflect how Enterprise 2.0 tools, when used in organizations address the barrier to knowledge sharing. The first hypothesis says that the use of social networking tools has positive impact on knowledge sharing by increasing the level of trust among group members. The second hypothesis claims that Enterprise 2.0 implementation has positive effect on the ease of knowledge sharing and knowledge creation process. And the third hypothesis says that Enterprise 2.0 reputation and visibility enabling tools introduction has positive influence on establishing knowledge sharing supporting culture and encourages knowledge sharing behavior. Besides, for every hypothesis the models of the working mechanisms are proposed. The hypotheses were challenged by the empirical study done in the form of interviews with experts. The interviews gave enough evidence and arguments to support the main ideas of the hypotheses and to improve the models of the mechanisms of the influence of Enterprise 2.0 use on knowledge sharing. In addition, some insights shared by the interviewed experts were gathered, included into the improvements of the mechanisms and presented in the conclusions of the empirical study:  The use of social networking functionality creates social presence, context for informal and semi-structured communication, and awareness of employees about the work of their colleagues and about the processes in an organization. III  In the collaborative content and knowledge creation people can take different roles and fulfill different parts of tasks, and this process is dependent on number of collaborators;  Collaborative tools that create discussions and awareness are good at enabling innovation; however, Enterprise 2.0 tools still are not suitable for everybody, in spite of the fact that in general they are regarded as being easy to use.  Building reputation and taking leadership independently from positions in hierarchies is becoming more important than the barrier of losing competitive advantage in case of sharing unique knowledge.  Different kinds of rating and valuing systems can work for building personal reputation, which motivates people to show and share knowledge; while a tendency of organizational culture to become more open can be observed.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Information Technology MSc (60025)
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