Disentangling the Effects of Collaborative Social Platforms on Organizational Knowledge Practices and Innovation

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Disentangling the Effects of Collaborative Social Platforms on Organizational Knowledge Practices and Innovation

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Title: Disentangling the Effects of Collaborative Social Platforms on Organizational Knowledge Practices and Innovation
A Mixed-Methods Study of a Non-Profit Organization
Author: Razmerita, Liana; Tan, Chee-Wee
Abstract: Social media has given birth to a novel paradigm of knowledge management that entails both formal and informal communication to bring about collaboration via diverse applications. Through online conversations and virtual interactions, the advent of social media is accompanied by unprecedented means of sharing, externalizing and retaining knowledge. In doing so, social media allows the articulation of personal and collective knowledge for innovation and value co-creation (Razmerita et al. 2014). Emerging social-collaborative platforms in the likes of Podio, Jive, Trello, Yammer, and Slack promote communication, collaboration, and project work. These platforms incorporate social media and networking functionalities for realizing both synchronous and asynchronous cooperative efforts. This study hence takes a critical view of the adoption and deployment of collaborative social platforms in a knowledge-intensive organization through a mixed methods approach. Past studies have alluded to the instrumental role of collaboration and teamwork in driving knowledge creation, learning, and innovation, which in turn culminates in changing patterns of work organization (Brown and Duguid 1991, Weick et al. 2005) or technologyinduced organizational transformation (Leonardi and Barley 2008). Within extant literature, both academics and practitioners have begun to experiment with the usage of social media within organizations, hoping to either reap the benefits of lightweight informal collaboration among employees (Brzozowski et al. 2009, Skeels and Grudin 2009) or, more recently, to introduce new affordances into work routines such as communication visibility, personal and communal knowledge management, as well as strategic self-presentation (Leonardi and Treem 2012, Majchrzak et al. 2013, Razmerita et al., 2009). Organizations are framing the role of technology as mutual interactions between human agents and technical systems. Consequently, technology can be deemed to be structurally and socially constructed (Orlikowski and Barley 2001). As alleged by Orlikowski (1992), “there is no compelling evidence on the precise role of technology in organizational affairs” despite extensive investigation. We hence contend that an in-depth appreciation of both the scope and effects of technology, especially in the form of collaborative social platforms, is indispensable for deciphering the changing nature of work within organizations. To this end, we present preliminary findings of an empirical study that endeavors to unravel the impact of deploying socio-collaborative platforms on knowledge practices and innovation in a non-profit organization. Through a mixed methods study, we strive to provide answers to the following research question: How do knowledge practices affect innovation within organizations and what is the role of collaborative social platforms in facilitating these knowledge practices?
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/9549
Date: 2017-11-24
Notes: Paper presented at The 5th International Workshop on the Changing Nature of Work (CNoW): Transforming Work with Digital Innovation. Seoul December 10, 2017

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