Enterprise Social Media: Ethnographic Research on Communication in Entrepreneurial Teams

Enterprise Social Media: Ethnographic Research on Communication in Entrepreneurial Teams

Datis Khajeheian (Department of Media Management, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/IJESMA.2018010103

Abstract

This article reports an ethnographic research on effect of enterprise social media on communication of members in entrepreneurial teams. The researcher acted as an entrepreneur and as a team member in two entrepreneurial projects to observe the communication of team members within the enterprise social media. In addition to observation, he conducted some interviews with team members to collect supplementary data. A theoretical framework developed from an array of three metaphors: leaky pipe, echo chamber and social lubricant, and four organizational learning processes: social capital, boundary work, attention allocation and social analytics. By the interpretation of the collected data, a new metaphor of “living room” was proposed. This metaphor suggests that enterprise social media provide a space for interaction of internal-external people similar to what home members and guests do in a living room (public conversations), as well as possibility of conversation corners (private conversations).
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1. Introduction

The entrepreneurial function need not be embodied in a physical person and in particular in a single physical person. Every social environment has its own ways of filling the entrepreneurial function. (Schumpeter, 1965, p. 51 cited in Harper, 2008)

A considerable portion of innovation, new product development, employment and economic development has been undertaken by entrepreneurial ventures and small enterprises (Salamzadeh and Kirby, 2017; Emami and Talebi, 2011). Especially in knowledge-intensive industries, entrepreneurial firms outperform single entrepreneurs (Lechler, 2001, p.265) and take advantage over large organizations for their innovativeness (Eliasson and Eliasson, 2005; Khajeheian and Tadayoni, 2016). When perform in an entrepreneurial team, individual entrepreneurs experience higher rates of success (Wu et al, 2010), because working in a team lowers entrepreneurial stress because of trust and support among team members (Lechter, 2001; Labafi, 2017). Thus, entrepreneurial teams react faster to the changes and complicate environment and have a greater capacity of opportunity identification, development and utilization (Wu et al, 2010, p. 857; Salamzadeh et al., 2017).

Considering these, understanding of entrepreneurial teams and how they might perform in optimum level has an importance in the economic success; and study of the interaction processes among these teams is part of this knowledge (Chowdhury, 2005; Saud Khan et al, 2014).

Vyakarnam et al (1997, p.2) define an entrepreneurial team as “the top team of individuals who is responsible for the establishment and management of business. Watson et al (1995, p.393) define it more specifically by inclusion of financial interest and size of enterprise: “A venture team is two or more individuals who jointly establish and actively participate in a business in which they have an equity (financial) interest”. Cooney defines entrepreneurial teams as “two or more individuals who have a significant financial interest and participate actively in the development of the enterprise” (2005, p.229). Harper (2008) in his theory of entrepreneurial teams characterizes these teams as entities that operate effectively by profit-seeking, problem-solving process under conditions of structural uncertainty. Respectively, and Implying on their effectiveness, Jariwala et al (2012) show that communication, coordination, structure, and leadership are important factors in team performance. Among these factors, nature of communication in entrepreneurial teams is a complicated one. As Lichter (2001) shows, teams carry the potential of inefficient communication, complex long-lasting decision processes and personal conflicts, and thereby, dysfunctions such as group losses, social loafing, group think, risk-shifting have been documented and seen in these teams frequently.

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