Issues and Challenges in Enterprise Social Media

Issues and Challenges in Enterprise Social Media

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch610
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Contemporary organizations face the challenge of collaboration among the widely dispersed workforce. Information technology is an enabler and a facilitator of organizational processes. One such application of information technology is Enterprise Social Media (ESM) platform which serves as an effective medium for organizational communication and exchange of ideas among peers in a workplace. The article describes the structural and functional aspects of ESM with a focus on knowledge sharing activities supported by its usage. Issues and challenges in respect of its design and adoption have been discussed.
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Social media provides a platform to create and share user generated content along with the functionality of connecting with people. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, wikis, blogs etc. are some examples of popular social media tools. Users can look for people with similar interests, connect with them, create groups and share varied types of content. Web tools similar to popular social media are being utilized in the enterprise context to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing within the firm. These tools are known by varied names such as Enterprise Social Media (ESM) or Enterprise Social Software Platforms (ESSP).

Defining Enterprise Social Media

Leonardi et al. (2013) define Enterprise Social media (ESM) as “Web-based tools that allow workers to communicate messages with specific coworkers or broadcast messages to everyone in the organization; explicitly indicate or implicitly reveal particular coworkers as communication partners; post, edit, and sort text and files linked to themselves or others; view the messages, connections, text, and files communicated, posted, edited and sorted by anyone else in the organization at any time of their choosing” (p.2). According to Boyd and Ellison (2007), these are “web-based services that allow individuals to construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system; articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection; view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system”(p. 211).

ESM includes tools like as blogs, social network sites (SNSs) and wikis. A lot of different packages are available for use by enterprises. SharePoint by Microsoft, is an online application platform where members can collaborate for team projects, upload and modify files, initiate discussions and work together in a virtual space making the collaborative work easier to execute and monitor. Jive is another name in the same list that provides functionality of enterprise wide connections facilitating online sharing and collaboration among employees across the world. Other tools in use are Yammer and Chatter.

Benefit of ESM Tools

ESM provides an ability to maintain social connections along with accessibility to digital content (Kane, 2015).It gives a way of connecting with employees across the organization facilitating interactions and information sharing. Online connections, social interaction and communication patterns can reveal a lot about the various knowledge communities in the organization. Along with providing a functionality similar to traditional media of communication exchange such as email, it provides a way to connect and display the shared information to a preferred set of people who can further benefit from the exchange. The mutual communication partners, shared information and membership of different online groups can help employees understand the prevalent social dynamics along with locating the relevant support for knowledge (Ellison et al., 2015).

Some of the major benefits are listed below.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Tacit Knowledge: Knowledge that results from internalized information and experiences and is difficult to explicate in a formal way.

Geographically Dispersed Team: A team whose members are located at geographically distant places and employ collaborative web based tools to accomplish group tasks.

Collective Intelligence: Shared intelligence resulting from group efforts where group members collaborate and compete to reach consensus in respect of mutually relevant problem.

Social Ties: Individual connections maintained by people in their social circle within which they interact and exchange varied kinds of information.

Knowledge Management: The practice of creating, recording, sharing and using knowledge generated within organizations for fulfilling organizational goals.

User Generated Content: Content such as text, video, audio, images appearing on blogs, wikis, discussion forums and other social media websites created by users of these online services.

Sense Making: Process by which people understand and attribute meaning to experiences.

Knowledge Communities: Group of people sharing common interest who come together for generating and exchanging information and ideas on specific issues in an organizational context.

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