The Influence of (Online) Social Networks on Workers’ Attitudes and Behaviours in Higher Education Institutions

The Influence of (Online) Social Networks on Workers’ Attitudes and Behaviours in Higher Education Institutions

Vera Silva Carlos, Ricardo Gouveia Rodrigues
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4373-4.ch014
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According to the literature, social relationships have a positive influence on work-related attitudes and behaviours. Taking into account that Online Social Networks (OSNs), brought about by Web 2.0, have become an international phenomena and have a considerable impact on the way people communicate and interact with each other, the chapter’s purpose is to evaluate the effect that the use of OSNs has on the worker’s attitudes and behaviours. In this way, the authors use a questionnaire to evaluate the attitudes of 157 faculty members in Higher Education Institutions (HEI). To assess the use of OSNs by faculty members, they use a binary variable. After analysing and discussing the results, the authors conclude that the use of OSNs influences the workers’ performance traits. The relations they propose in what concerns the workers’ attitudes are all empirically proven. At last, the authors describe the study limitations and suggest some perspectives for future research.
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The Web 2.0

Web 2.0 refers to the appearance of the Internet as an interpersonal resource and a service delivery platform (Barnatt, 2008). The term Web 2.0 is used to describe applications that distinguish themselves from preceding generations of software by a number of principles. Existing work shows that Web 2.0 applications can be successfully exploited for technology learning enhancement (Ullrich et al., 2008).

The second incarnation of the Web (Web 2.0) has been called the ‘social Web’, because, in contrast to Web 1.0, its content can be more easily generated and published by users, and because the collective intelligence of users encourages more democratic use. Originally, the World Wide Web (WWW) was intended to be used to share ideas and encourage discussion within a scientific community. Web 2.0 heralds a return to these original uses, and prompts important changes in the ways the World Wide Web is being used in education. In this context, there is a need to raise awareness of Web 2.0 tools and the possibilities they offer, and an imperative need to carry out quality research to inform better use of Web 2.0 applications (Boulos & Wheeler, 2007).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Job Satisfaction: A positive emotional state—feelings and affective responses—or a generalized positive attitude towards work and the experiences that occur in the work environment, that depends on situational factors and/or on personality and personal factors, and that can be measured according to a global approach—based on the attitude towards work in general, not being a result of the sum of different aspects related to work, but depending on them—or to a multidimensional approach—satisfaction that reverses from a number of factors associated with work, being possible to measure satisfaction for each one of them.

Attitude: Describes an internal arrangement of the individual in relation to an element of the social world, which guides the conduct they adopt in the presence, real or symbolic, of that element.

Organizational Commitment: It is a force of connection—a psychological or attitude stage—with the goals and values of the organization, which determines a direction at the level of the individual’s behaviour towards the employer organization, with the aim of benefiting it.

Online Social Networks: They function as communication interfaces between millions of users, providing an efficient and user-friendly way to maintain social connections and to easily create and share information.

Social Networks: They function as communication channels and allow the exchange of resources to several levels, as a form of spreading and sharing ideas. The social relationships established at work are an important tool for the understanding of the workers’ outcomes in the organizations.

Behaviour: It is the activity of an organism interacting with its environment.

Higher Education Institutions: Community service providers, specifically of transference and economic value increase of the scientific and technological knowledge, which have as main goals to facilitate environments in which people collaborate to create, share and advance knowledge.

Organizational Citizenship Behaviours: Characterized as extra-role behaviours, that is, behaviours that arise as a way of acting beyond what is defined by work requirements (in-role behaviours), which means that the workers do non-mandatory tasks without expecting any rewards or recognition.

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