A Social Network Model for Understanding Technology Use for Knowledge-Intensive Workers

A Social Network Model for Understanding Technology Use for Knowledge-Intensive Workers

Kon Shing Kenneth Chung (University of Wollongong, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-513-7.ch015
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This chapter presents a theoretical model based on social network theories and the social influence model for understanding how knowledge professionals utilise technology. In particular, the association between egocentric network properties (structure, position and tie) and information and communication technology (ICT) use of individuals in knowledge-intensive and geographically dispersed settings is explored. A novel triangulation methodology is adopted where in-depth interviews and observation techniques were utilised to develop constructs for the conceptual model which were then vetted by domain-level experts. A reliable and validated social network-based questionnaire survey is also developed to operationalise the model. Results show that task-level ICT use is significantly associated with degree centrality and functional tie-diversity; and communication-level ICT use is negatively associated with efficiency. The implications of these associations for knowledge-intensive work mean that it is important to consider the professional social network characteristics of potential users of the technology for designing ICT-enabled organisations.
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Conceptual Foundations

The revolution of technology and internet means that the entire communication environment has taken on a virtual dimension. Personal relations are no longer conducted face-to-face only and various forms of ICT are currently available for various purposes (e.g. blogs, wikis, social networking sites like Facebook, Linkedin and so on). Thus, personal networks not only shape the ICT for communication, but the patterns and frequency of ICT use are also shaping personal networks and re drawing social boundaries.

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