Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Enterprise Social Networking: Innovation Difficult to Adopt?

Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Enterprise Social Networking: Innovation Difficult to Adopt?

Article excerpt

Introduction

The promotion of social innovation has been widely identified as one of the EU's priorities because it contributes to the improvement of the quality of life of citizens and national competitiveness (Dobele et al., 2015). The concept of social innovation often refers also to social media as tools affecting everyday communication. It is clear that in the contemporary world social media tools are becoming a more prominent form of communication, not only among individual consumers but also within enterprises (McKinsey Global Institute, 2012). Every day, organizations use different social media platforms, including one of the most popular tools, social networking sites (Goeman, 2013). In fact, the adoption of social networking services together with other social media platforms in different organizational contexts is considered to hold potential for value creation in such areas as internal and external communication, collaboration, knowledge sharing, etc. (Ahlqvist et al., 2008). Evidence from different researches shows that information-rich social media enabled networks have a positive effect on management sustainability: they affect work outcomes, change network structures, give economic benefits (for example, lowering transaction costs or contributing toward becoming more profitable), improve work performance (especially in information diversity and social communication) and affect productivity and job security (Wu, 2013; Zyl, 2009). Although the positive effects are undeniable for both business and public sector organizations' sustainable management, the risks and dangers are the reason to go deeper into the analysis of whether to put effort into social media adoption. Researchers have discovered risks in legal, security, privacy, intellectual property, copyright matters, misuse, waste of time and other resources, and even employees' reluctance or resistance to participate themselves (Turban et al., 2011).

Almost everybody is now affected by social media (Vasko and Abrhám, 2015). Usage of social media technologies affects the previously established structure of organization (for example the emergence of virtual organizations) and has led to the development of so-called internal Social Networking services or Enterprise Social Networking (hereafter ESN) tools: private social networks created for use within organizations. One leading example of this innovation is Yammer, launched in 2008. Yammer is described by the company itself as a "collaboration software and business applications [that] allow you to get connected to the right people, share information across teams and organize around projects" and which is "used by more than 200,000 companies worldwide", including DHL, Shell, Unicef UK, various universities, etc. (Yammer.com; Pinto, 2014). Lithuania is no exception: even though the concept of ESN is still very new, it was announced in October 2014 that within the website www.3erdve.lt a social network Yammer was integrated as a personal and safe platform for communication between all Lithuanian libraries (Lietuvos nacionaline biblioteka, lnb.lt).

The newest research (Durkin, Lokshina, 2015) confirms that "integrated wireless and mobile communication technologies are key success factors, even if there are challenges presented by such issues as the SLA (Service Level Agreement), security, privacy, mixed mode usage and deployment, and finding the appropriate business models for profitable growth". However, despite the reasonably predictable benefits of ESN tools for communication and information sharing within organizations, the experience in a number of companies shows that such innovations are not easily adoptable. After a rapid spread across various enterprises and being adopted by most leading companies in the world, news began to appear that the actual use of ESN has not been as high as hoped and that management is struggling to make it work (Roe, 2014). Thus, a number of organizations which choose to adopt ESN tools are possibly facing an implementation failure, mostly due to a lack of sufficient knowledge about this particular type of innovation and their diffusion process. …

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