The Use of Online Social Networks in Higher Education and Its Influence on Job Performance

The Use of Online Social Networks in Higher Education and Its Influence on Job Performance

Vera Silva Carlos (University of Aveiro, Portugal) and Ricardo Gouveia Rodrigues (NECE – University of Beira Interior, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3917-9.ch031


There is plenty of evidence on a positive influence of social relationships on work-related attitudes and behaviors. Besides, online social networks (OSNs), made possible by Web 2.0, have become a global phenomenon and have a considerable impact on the way people communicate and interact with each other. Our purpose is to evaluate the effect of using OSNs on the worker's attitudes and behaviors, particularly in the context of Higher Education. In this sense, we used a questionnaire, to evaluate the attitudes of 157 faculty members. To assess the use of OSNs, we resorted to a dichotomous variable. After analyzing and discussing the results we conclude that the use of OSNs influences the worker's performance, but not Job satisfaction, Organizational commitment or extra-role performance. The relationships we propose in what concerns the worker's attitudes are all empirically proved. Lastly, we describe the study limitations and we 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 (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 its more democratic utilization. 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 handled 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).

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