Nowadays, globalization and internationalization are ubiquitous processes in all areas of our lives. International cooperation, international collaboration between companies, takeovers of companies or the establishing of new companies in other countries create intercultural formations which require special modes of communication. Furthermore, business processes in companies are becoming increasingly complex and need a good communications infrastructure in order to function smoothly.
Web 2.0 provides opportunities for communication and information, which require an increasing amount of user interaction. A networked world is creating new types of behavior and a culture of participation. The utilization of Web 2.0 applications in the private sector is rapidly expanding. It is interesting to consider how this trend could be used by companies in an economically meaningful way. Many companies are already using their own Social Networks, Wikis, or other so-called Enterprise 2.0 applications, although not always in a completely successful way. In this paper, the following topics will, then, be closely examined:
* The (success) factors involved in the deployment of Enterprise 2.0 solutions in companies.
* The difficulties which may arise between employees out of cultural differences.
* How these difficulties may be taken into consideration by an Enterprise 2.0 solution to avoid any culturally rooted problems.
An increasing number of people collaborate during their normal working day with people from other cultures. This leads unavoidably to "intersecting" situations in which different ways of thinking and of behavior collide. In the working world, different meaning systems that have developed out of different source languages and experiences come into contact with each other. To avoid culture-related difficulties when deploying systems based on social software, the particular aspects involved when different cultures come into contact should be analyzed and correspondingly dealt with.
2. CULTURAL EXAMINATION OF CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS WHEN IMPLEMENTING ENTERPRISE 2.0 SOLUTIONS
In the pertinent literature we find a plethora of advantages which have resulted from implementing Enterprise 2.0 solutions in companies (e.g. Koch and Richter, 2009; Back et al., 2008; Meissner and Engelien 2009). The success of such an implementation, however, entails much more than simply deploying the relevant software. For example, a key requisite for desired effects is the participation of all members of a company, and technological, organizational and human aspects have to be taken into consideration to enable this.
Here, we shall first of all discuss general factors which must be observed when implementing an Enterprise 2.0 solution in a company. Then we shall look at well-known cultural problems which are involved when information systems are deployed in international enterprises. Owing to the similarities of the procedures of introducing information systems in companies, these problems can be used to ascertain success criteria which should also be observed for the deployment of Enterprise 2.0 applications. Consequently, criteria are derived which should be observed for Enterprise 2.0 solutions to ensure their success in intercultural companies.
2.1 Success Factors for the Implementation of Enterprise 2.0 Applications
Analysis of the utilization of Enterprise 2.0 solutions in companies has revealed various critical success factors for the implementation of Enterprise 2.0 concepts. These factors may be split into three core areas, involving technological and organizational aspects as well as human considerations which relate to the employees, management or company.
2.1.1 Technological Factors
One of the technological factors is the user-friendliness of the Enterprise 2.0 solutions. The usability of a software is key to its success, since the desired effectiveness can only be achieved via user-friendliness (Nielsen, 1993). The layout must be straightforward so that the desired content may be quickly and easily found. Also, the system should have a clear-cut …