Social Networking and Knowledge Sharing in Organizations

Social Networking and Knowledge Sharing in Organizations

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch622
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Knowledge sharing in organizational context is facilitated by communicative process affected by varied social dynamics. It can be a difficult process in case of distributed organizations as employees may not be aware of the right source of getting advice and expertise. In such a scenario, social networking tools provide the required functionality for such sharing and lead to better social ties among knowledge providers and seekers across the organization. The present article brings out some factors that affect knowledge sharing behavior in context of organizations using social networking tools as a communicative media.
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In its simplest form, social networking can be described as the use of internet technology to create and share user generated content by a web of people connected with each other online. Sophia van Zyl (2009) defines social networking as “applications or websites that support the maintenance of personal relationships, the discovery of potential relationships and should aid in the conversion of potential ties into weak and strong ties, by utilizing emergent Web 2.0 technologies.” Social networking allows people to make connections, join groups of their interest, contribute information and discuss issues of relevance. All this is accomplished through various modes such as online communities, blogs, discussion forums and other online collaborative tools.

Enterprise Social Media

An emerging trend in the use of online collaborative tools in organizational context is Enterprise Social Media (ESM). Leonardi et al. (2013) define enterprise social media (ESM) as “web-based platforms 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, 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.” ESM is an effective platform for connecting people across functional domains and making visible the information shared with a wider audience. Similar to popular social platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, ESM platforms may vary in the functionality offered and features supported but primarily they serve similar inherent purpose of bringing people together facilitating information flow and knowledge conversations, crowd source solutions across multiple domains, share relevant expertise and foster collaboration(Riemer & Scifleet, 2012).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Tacit Knowledge: The knowledge which is acquired by experience and practice, often difficult to explicate.

Virtual Communities: A group of individuals communicating over a social network to accomplish a shared goal.

Web 2.0: Web characterized by interactive and collaborative user generated content. The information generated is more dynamic in nature.

Self-Efficacy: The belief in one’s ability to accomplish a task successfully. It affects the way an individual approaches the task.

Altruism: Intention or action showing self-less concern for others potentially benefitting the receiver.

Social Ties: The connections with fellow individuals in one’s communication network. Information moves in different ways across various social ties in a social network.

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