Predictors of Social Networking and Individual Performance

Predictors of Social Networking and Individual Performance

Michael A. Brown (Old Dominion University, USA) and Mohamad Alkadry (Florida International University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0318-9.ch008
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Public organizations that can successfully predict participation and understand the value propositions that drive performance can be very effective in social networking, which is a process and practice by which people and organizations are drawn together by family, work, or hobby to interact via websites. This chapter examines the relationship between social networking and individual performance and suggests a social networking participation model that takes advantage of innovation adoption and other important theories to help public organizations understand acceptance or rejection of participation. In a recent study, responses from 191 public administrators were analyzed using structural equation modeling (SEM) to focus on the relationship between participation and five constructs: perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, perceived improvement potential (PIP), intra-organizational trust, and type of use. The study found favorable model fit statistics that support positive correlations between the latent variables examined and the dependent variable, participation. The results demonstrate the potential of the survey instrument to serve as an adoption and participation methodology that can provide public organizations with knowledge that predicts and promotes social networking activities as they relate to perceived performance improvement. This approach arms organizations and leaders with a new lens with which to focus on the value proposition regarding perceived improvement potential based on social networking participation.
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The lack of research and discovery in social networking as it pertains to social networking and individual performance constructs is primarily caused by the relative newness of the social networking phenomenon. The lack of research also indicates the need to examine social networking with a particular focus on perceived performance improvement. As many organizations work to create social media policies, performance is neglected or reserved for later consideration. Organizations do not tend to inquire about return on investment or performance implications until they are well into social networking activities. This article offers ways to understand participation in the beginning stages of social networking activities and policy decisions. It offers organizations tools with which to impact online interactions as they happen, and to affect behaviors that support the organization’s goals and objectives.

The newness of social networking leads to limitations in the body of research in terms of available data and depth of examination of the construct. There appear to be no direct examinations of social networking as it pertains to individual improvement potential, whether one considers productivity, performance or some other aspect of personal- or organizational-driven improvement possibilities. Further, a review of the literature does not reveal much in terms of organizations that evaluate individual improvement, skill, capacity, time, etc., in concert with innovation adoption prior to making the decision to engage in social networking. Studies show that it is relatively easy to convince individuals, and organizations, about the benefits of social networking activities (Boyd & Ellison, 2008; Brandyberry et al., 2010; Pallis et al., 2011; Preece & Shneiderman, 2009).

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