E-Business Perspectives through Social Networks

E-Business Perspectives through Social Networks

Mahesh Raisinghani (Texas Women’s University, USA) and Elon Marques (University of Dallas, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-671-6.ch016
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Abstract

This chapter is focused on some of the current research being conducted in the field of social network theory. The importance of studying the social network concepts is attached to a better understanding of individuals and how and why people interact with each other, as well as how technology and the Internet can affect this interaction. The social network theory field has grown significantly in the last years, and the use of the Internet and advanced computing technology has contributed to new research in this growing area. The first aspect to be covered is the social network theory and some applications for social networks. Also virtual communities, as well as the control over communications tools through social networks will be discussed. Finally, the technology side of social networks will be presented, as mobile social networks, internet social networking systems and e-business correlation, social network software and future trends of social networks. The main objective of this research is to illustrate the correlation between electronic (e-) business (of which e-government is a subset) and social networking.
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Introduction: Social Network Theory

A network is a set of objects or nodes mapped according to the relationship between these objects. For social networks, the objects refer to people or groups of people. A social network is a map representing the relationships among individuals, indicating the ways in which they are connected according to their social familiarities. The networks of communication and interpersonal relationships that develop naturally within an organization form channels for the flow of organizational knowledge and can promote organizational learning, innovation and change management (Smith and McKeen, 2007).

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, 2008a), broadband plays a critical role in the workings of the economy and society. It connects consumers, businesses, and governments and facilitates social interaction. Hence, broadband policies are now a vital instrument to ensure the competitiveness of OECD countries and to address pressing societal concerns. The following OECD broadband statistics serve as a rationale for examining Internet based social networks and e-government readiness (OECD, 2008b):

The United States is the largest broadband market in the OECD with 75 million subscribers. US broadband subscribers consistently represent 30% of all broadband connections in the OECD.

The number of broadband subscribers in the OECD reached 251 million by June 2008, an increase of 14% from June 2007. This growth increased broadband penetration rates to 21.3 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, up from 20% in December 2007.


Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Sweden, Korea and Finland lead the OECD with broadband penetration well above the OECD average, each surpassing the 30 subscribers per 100 inhabitants threshold.

  • The strongest per-capita subscriber growth over the year was in Luxembourg and Germany. Each country added more than 5 subscribers per 100 inhabitants during the past year. On average, the OECD area increased 2.7 subscribers per 100 inhabitants over the year.

Table 1 illustrates the developments in e-government from1996-2008 versus 2008-2020.

Table 1.
199620082020
Infrastructure     • Secure private networks (SWIFT)
     • BitNet
     • Infancy of the www
     • Convergence
     • Mobile/ubiquitous internet
     • Broadband
     • Digital divide issues remain
     • Ubiquitous broadband ?
     • Commoditized network ?
Information exchange     • EDI
     • ‘unsecured’ packet switching
     • Web-based secured (https)
     • Open networks
     • Web 2.0 ?
     • Two-tier internet ?
     (security, pricing)
E-government purposes     • Public spending
     • Shared data bases
     • Public spending
     • Public sector reform
     • Better government
     • Governance
     • Economic development
     • Public spending
     • Local vs central govt
     • Socio-economic efficiency
     • The death of e-govt ?
E-government drivers     • Public sector
     • IT departments
     • Finance/accounting
     • Public sector (+ PPPs)
     • Reform/change agents
     • Government as a whole
     • Local governments
     • Mostly PPPs and ‘franchise’ models
     • Internationalized
     • Localized
E-government concerns     • Security
     • Sharing of info resources and equipment
     • Security/privacy
     • Institutions/enterprise architecture
     • Standards/interoperability
     • ROI
     • Security/privacy
     • Innovation/change mangt
     • Transparency/Governance
     • Democracy/empowerment
     • Democracy/empowerment
     • Inclusion (worldwide)
     • Skills (worldwide)

Adopted from: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/42/57/40304889.pdf, e-leaders conference 2008 The Hague -6-7 March 2008, Where is e-government going in 2020?, Bruno Lanvin, eLab, INSEAD

Key Terms in this Chapter

social networking sites: Online communities for expanding users’ business or social contacts by making connections through their mutual business or personal connections.

Closeness Centrality: This measures the best visibility into what is happening in the social network.

Sociometry: One of the methods of socio-psychology developed by the psychiatrist Jacob Levi Moreno that analyzes the interpersonal emotive relationships within groups.

Social Network: A map representing the relationships among individuals, indicating the ways in which they are connected according to their social familiarities. The networks of communication and interpersonal relationships that develop naturally within an organization form channels for the flow of organizational knowledge and can promote organizational learning, innovation and change management.

Virtual Organization: An organization that uses networks to link people, assets and ideas to create and distribute products and services without being limited to traditional organizational boundaries or physical locations.

Socio-Technical Design: Design to produce information systems that blend technical efficiency with sensitivity to organizational and human needs.

Betweenness Centrality: This has great influence on the flows of the social network. It is one of the best locations or highest betweenness centrality in the network because it is between two important constituencies and is a point of failure because without it, the others would be cut off from information and knowledge from the cluster.

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