The Dichotomy Between Knowledge Management And Technology Commerce Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Submitted to BPP Business School, BPP University College as part of the assessment for an academic qualification of BPP University College of Professional Education.

I confirm that I have read and understood the BPP General Academic Regulations and Manual of Policies and Procedures on the presentation of written work, and the specific requirements relating to this piece of work including any Code of Practice relating to the degree for which it is presented.

I declare that the work attached to this declaration complies with the University's requirements and is my own work.

I consent to reference of this work to a plagiarism detection service at the discretion of BPP.

I further declare that the work (in whole or in part) attached to this declaration has not been submitted in full or partial satisfaction of an academic award in another university.

I certify that the number of words in this assessed work including footnotes is _______________

Signed: EA Dated: 2ND JANUARY, 2013


Executive Summary 3-4

Introduction 5

Academic Literature Review 6-8

Knowledge Management Systems in Meeting Business Goals

Knowledge Management & Technology

Social Networking Site Use: Applying the Uses and Gratifications Theory

Typologies of Social Networking Sites

Companies Using Social Networking Tools and Practices 9

John Wiley & Sons Inc. and Social Networking Practice Background 10-12

History of the Company

Why the company adopted social networking practice?

Using Philosophical Foundation of Dialogic Theory

Social Networking Sites used by the Company and

How they use to Achieved their Objectives

Amazon & eBay

Measuring the Business value of Social Networking Practice 13-17

Benefits Derived from SNSs by John Wiley & Sons Co.

Challenging's As Introduced Social Networking

Using Social Contract Theory to Analysis the Rules 18-20

Governing the Use of SNS

Future Impact of Enterprise Social Networking Practices 19-20

Conclusion 20-21


1.0. Executive Summary

Social Networking Practices have become popular in the modern business world. It is a fast growing phenomenon in both social and business sectors. It provides user friendly and efficient way to maintain social connections and share information. It facilitates building of social capital and business relationships using electronic media. Companies striving competitive advantage are expected to be comfortable with the use of the social networking tools and practices. This has however, created new challenges for enterprise IT and business leaders in developing both knowledge management strategies and information.

This paper aims at providing an existing academic literature on the application of Knowledge management systems (KMSs) in meeting organizational goals. The paper reveals the dichotomy between Knowledge Management and Technology. It also discusses the uses of Social Networking sites applying the Uses and Gratification Theory. It provides a case study where John Wiley & Sons Inc. has adopted social networking practices as part of their business strategy and how it has influenced their business process outcome. The paper gives the background history of the company, discusses the reasons why the company adopted social networking practices and tools using the philosophical foundation of Dialogic Theory and briefly explains the varieties of social networking sites used by the company and how they are used to meet the company's business goals. The paper introduces theory and data gathered from IT leaders to develop an initial model assessing the value of social networking tools and practices in the business environment; provides the major benefits and challenges of using social networking practices and tools as part of the business strategy. The study discusses the rules governing the use of social networking sites using the social contract theory. This work concludes by using the findings and the peer-reviewed literature to assess the future impact of enterprise social networking practices and tools for organisations striving competitive advantage.

Abbreviations: Social Networking Site (SNS), Knowledge Management (KM), Knowledge Management System (KMS).


This report seeks to focus attention on the benefits and challenges of social networking practices and tools on business organizations. The method adopted in completing this report includes;

Literature review

Data analysis at John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Books, articles, journals and the use of internet

Conceptual framework

This paper has adopted marketing framework for the study. The framework explains the functions that links the business with customer needs and wants in order to get the right product to the right place at the right time.

Key Issues & Findings

Reducing cost for product development

Providing management with better information for sales forecasting

Increasing customer loyalty and repeat purchases which simultaneously increase revenue while reducing customer acquisition cost.

Difficulty in Managing the company's information security and privacy

The Risk of Integrity, predation and Cyber bullying

Loss in Staff Productivity leading to Low Productivity

2.0. Introduction

Ellison et al. (2007) observes that, "the introduction of social network sites (SNSs) such as MySpace, Facebook, Cyberworld, and Bebo have attracted millions of users, many of whom have integrated these sites into their daily practices". However, to be able to adapt and shift to the use of these social networking sites requires individual's tacit and explicit knowledge. Knowledge, according to Grey (2002), is the full utilization of information and data, coupled with the potential of people's skills, competencies, ideas, intuitions, commitments and motivations. On the contrary, in order to ensure effective delivering of intellectual and knowledge-based asset at the workplace requires the help of information technology and knowledge management tools. Organizations through the support of KM tools such as network devices, automobiles among others generate values from their workers explicit and tacit knowledge.

Although knowledge management is seen as a backbone of every successful business, it is also the most neglected asset in most business organizations. This is because, the concept is seen as a technology discipline. However, technology as a supporting tool of knowledge management (KM) only inspires but cannot deliver KM. Social Network as a network device plays important role in knowledge management delivering. There are varieties of social networking tools ranging from Facebook, LinkedIn, private enterprise social networks such as Yammer, Socialcast, Jive, content-sharing websites such as Youtube, Flickr to Wikis, blogs and micro-blogs which includes Twitter.

3.0. Academic Literature Review

This section review academic writings on Knowledge Management Systems and social networking sites.

3.1. Knowledge Management Systems in Meeting Business Goals

According to O'Sullivan (2007), Knowledge Management is the process of capturing a company's collective expertise wherever it resides, and distributing it to wherever it can help to produce the biggest payoffs. From the definition, knowledge management is not only about managing knowledge but the ability to capture and share information effectively to ensure business goals is what the concept is all about. Knowledge management is about managing people, culture, and organizational practices & structures but not a technological discipline (Alan 2010). Duhon, (1998) maintains that, the concept promotes an integrated approach by capturing, identifying, evaluating, retrieving, and sharing all of an enterprise's information assets. These assets may include documents, procedures, policies, databases, and previously uncaptured expertise and experience in individual workers. Therefore, knowledge management systems in this sense, refers to any kind of IT systems that stores and retrieves information, locates knowledge sources, improves collaboration, capture and uses hidden information, to enhance knowledge management process (Alan, 2010).

3.2. Knowledge Management & Technology

Based on the elucidations above, Quan (2005) argued that network products, PC manufacturing, real estate management and automobiles are collaborative tools that support KM to improve both internal and external Business processes. Sheng (2005) continue that mobile technologies support business process such as sales and marketing, internal communication and knowledge sharing. Robertson (2007) argue that, the fact that KM is enhanced by technology, does not necessarily mean that it is a technology discipline, and thinking in terms of KMS's leads to expectations of "silver bullet" solutions. Scholars like Hayes and Walsham, (2003) maintain that, IT only has influence on KM but the subject itself is not technology discipline.

On the contrary, Jones (2010) argues that, collaborative KM tools that allow people to share documents, make comments, engage in discussion, create schematic diagrams, and so on can be valuable aids to support organizational learning. An example of a collaborative KM tool is LiveLink by OpenText, Inc. ( LiveLink includes a variety of functions such as email, newsgroups/bulletin boards, task lists, document management (check-in/check-out systems, version control), and workflow management"

Conclusively, the definition says nothing about technology; meanwhile KM is often facilitated by IT, technology by itself is not KM.

3.3. Social Networking Site Use: Applying The Uses and Gratifications Theory

As noted earlier, the use of social networking sites have tremendously increased nowadays. Ellison et al. (2007) opine that, "SNSs are increasingly attracting the attention of academic and industry researchers intrigued by their affordances and reach". It ranges from friend-networking sites, romantic dating sites, professional or business networking sites to even sites that promotes politicians and bands (Ellison, et al, 2007, p.1). In order to understand the formation of social network, scholars like Lampe et al (2006) among others have researched on how people meet in an offline settings and how network structure affects the propensity of groups to form online. Thus the online settings have allowed individuals to meet new friends in an offline. From the explanations above, social networking sites refers to web-based services that allow individuals to build relationships online by means of collecting useful information and sharing it with people. This allows interacting among users with similar interest (Kwon and Wen 2010), Facebook, which happens to be the most popular SNS, has recently increased in the registrations of people in their mid-careers (Dutta and Fraser, 2009).

On the contrary, the Uses & Gratifications Theory focuses on why people use particular media, its effects on the people and what people do with that media. The approach springs from functionalist paradigm in the social science. It presents the use of media in terms of gratification of social or psychological needs of the people (Blumler & Katz 1974). However, due to this recent growth of SNSs, scholars have started using the Uses and the Gratification Theory (U & G) to explain why companies and individuals find this new media to be so enticing.

The application of the U & G to social networking sites is very important in today's mass communication research. This is because this form of mass media is new in relation to radio, film and television (Gallion, 2009, p.1). The most striking factors of the U&G Theory in relation to SNSs were found by Park, Valenzuela, Kee (2009), LaRose and Eastin (2004). Park et al. (2009, p.731) see the major uses and gratification factors of SNS users to be: self-status seeking, entertainment, information and socializing. It is believe that individuals participate in SNSs to gratify socialization needs such as meeting new people, sustaining offline relationships, and creating a sense of community (Ellison et al.,( 2007, p. 2); Park et al.,(2009, p. 731). Besides, Park et al. (2009, p.731) observed that entertainment gratification amongst SNS users pertained solely to leisure and amusement needs.

SNSs are useful in every aspect of life. It is of no surprise that most business organizations and individuals are penetrating and adopting the SN tools such as,, etc. to connect with their partners, family, audience and their customers. Besides, SN offers users the possibility to obtain more information about companies, brands and products (often in the form of user reviews) and make better buying decisions (Lorenzo et al., 2009).

3.4. Typologies of Social Networking Sites

Ellison et al. (2007), grouped social networking sites into;

Work-related contexts (e.g.,

romantic relationship initiation (the original goal of

connecting those with shared interests such as music or politics (e.g.,, or

the college student population (the original incarnation of" (p. 1143).

4.0. Companies/Institutions Using Social Networking Tools and Practices

SN is surprisingly changing the way people interact, make friends and do business. SNS has really gone to the extent of allowing politicians to use it as platform to reach their voters. Park et al. (2008, p.732) opine that, Facebook users seek out information about on- and off-campus events, political and civic issues. Ancu & Cozma, (2009, p. 570) cited that, about 2/3 of all Americans partake in an SNS and barely half of these users used it to provide political information during the 2008 Presidential Election. For instance, Barrack Obama of USA in pursuing the 2008 and 2012 elections sets up his own Facebook page. This allowed supporters and people to post their comments and blog on the page. Supporters could also create and join groups on the page and invite their friends to join (Bettison, 2009).

Not only politicians but also, authors like M.E Porter, Prof. Kotter, Mckensey and others have adopted these tools to promote their books and gather a following of dedicated fans. Bands and musicians like Lil. Wayne, P. Daddy, 50 Cent, etc are using these tools to link up with their fans.

Companies and business organizations such as Nestle Ghana Ltd. Tiffany & Co., Marks and Spencer, are all using social networking sites to brand themselves. The companies use Twitter and Facebook to market their new products as well as refurbished products. They also post details about the newest products on their twitter feed. For example, Tiffany & Co. has adopted the use of Facebook site and can boast of over 410,000 fans. The company has active community where fans and followers can comment and update it Facebook wall. Although there may be some spam comments, the majority of the posts are people expressing and discussing how much they love Tiffany & Co product. The company maintains that the use of social networking site has helped to reduce costs and increase sales through free advertisement and marketing.

5.0. Case Study: John Wiley & Sons Inc. and Social Networking Practices

5.1. Background History of the Company

John Wiley & Sons Inc., popularly known as Wiley is a renowned global publishing company. It specializes in academic publishing. Its headquarters is in Hoboken, New Jersey-USA. The company publishes educational books and markets its products worldwide to professionals, consumers, students and instructors in higher education, researchers and practitioners. The company was founded in 1807 in New York City by an American, Charles Willy. The company was established when Charles Wiley opened a print shop in Manhattan at the age of 25. Later, Charles Wiley's son, John Wiley (born in Flatbush) took over the business after the death of His father in 1826. Later, the company was named Wiley, Lane & Co.

The company has 5100 employees as of 2011 with revenue of US$1.7 billion (source: Wikipedia). The company has received Nobel Prize Award in 1901 and been considered as one of the world's oldest publishing companies.

The official website of the company is "". Besides, the company has adopted several social networking sites such as, and Facebook to markets its products (Source: Wikipedia).

D:\kenyas\book cover pasco.jpgC:\Users\KENYAS SERIES\Desktop\KENYA1.jpg D:\Personal\kenya series.jpgC:\Users\KENYAS SERIES\Desktop\KENYAS SERIES G COVER 2 copy copy.jpg

(Source: of the products of John Wiley)

5.2. Why the company adopted social networking practices: Using Philosophical Foundation of Dialogic Theory

The concept of Dialogic Theory focuses on communication that exists between individuals. The theory emphasizes on effective communication as a tool to ensure Customer Relationships Management in an organization. The theory, called Grunig's Excellence Theory (1989-1992) provides theoretical framework for understanding and evaluating ethical public relations through;

Mutuality: Thus, the recognition of organization-public relationships.

Propinquity: The spontaneity and temporality of interactions with public and customers

Empathy: The confirmation and supportiveness of customer goals and interest

Risk: The willingness of the company to interact with their customers and public on their own terms

Commitment: To give itself over to dialogue, interpretation and understanding of its interactions with customers and public.

Therefore, in order for Wiley & Co. to shift in the paradigm, there was the need to adopt online strategy where they can fulfill the dialogic promise, response and adjust to the new economy of e-commerce, e-business, e-marketing, and e-purchasing. They opined that SNSs use will ensure mutuality, propinquity, empathy, risk and commitment between the company and their customers. The site will allow public to query the company and offer the company opportunity to respond to questions through dialogic (feedback) loops. Kent & Taylor (2008) argued that SNSs are emerging as key public relations tools for both non-profit and profit seeking organisations. The company said, through this dialogue, they are able to showcase their products to their customers as well as share link with their customers. The marketing theory popularized by Phil Kotler below explains the firm's objectives for adopting social networking practices as part of their business strategy.

(Adapted from http//

5.3. Social Networking Sites used by the Company and How they use to Achieved their Objectives

There are several social networking tools but the ones adopted by Wiley & Sons are; (@wiley)

John Willey & Sons uses twitter to sell refurbished Books and also post details about the newest products and special offers on their twitter feed. They send information about sales and discount vouchers to their followers through the site. The company has generated about £1.7 million from this site as revenue (source: Wikipedia). This really shows the power and strength of SN use.

With their successful experience of internet marketing through twitter, the company adopted Facebook as another site to connect with its customers. To do this, the company has set up a small team of dedicated staff to run the site to their customers with information. The CEO explains, whenever a customer complains about their products or service, they quickly respond by posting to answer them. This has helped the customers to develop customer loyalty.

Amazon & eBay

The company has recently adopted Amazon and eBay with the aim of using them to outpace their competitors. The CEO believes that the competitive advantage comes from mass buyers and sellers. And as a result, it makes any new entrant offering the same services become less attractive.

6.0. Measuring the Business value of Social Networking Practice

In order to understand the impact of SNSs on business process, it is necessary to know the value of IT as a collaborative tool that supports KM in meeting business goals. Therefore, this section uses the value of IT on business process to analyse how the emergence of SN tools and practices has affected modern Business Organisations. Hartaman and Beck (2010) observed that SNSs offers companies the opportunity to improve how they do business by re-envisioning how they utilize IT.

Although organisational performance can be affected by a number of factors such as governmental regulations, competitors and business process within the organisation. Melville (2004) on the value of IT on business reveals that, firm level and IT indirectly affects organisational performance such as maximizing sales and reducing marketing costs. The model characterizes Information Technology as an input device to Business Process.

iii. Macro Environment

Country Characteristics

ii. Competitive Environment

Industry characteristics

i. Focal firm

IT Resources: Technology & Human

Business Process

Business process performance

Complementary Organisational Resources

Trading Partner Resources & Business Process

Organisational performance

{Business Value Model, Melville et al (Adapted from Kettles & David 2008)}

To apply this model, the researcher has critically analysed the domain and developed a path from IT, through its process-level impacts to company's performance. Viewing from the Focal Firm Level, IT resources indirectly affects Organisational Performance such as reducing costs and increasing sales. However, a direct link from IT investment can foster organizational performance. This analysis will result in a much clearer view of how KMS can provide a return on investment (Hubbard, 2007).

Competitive Environment

Business Process Performance

Industry Characteristics

Social Network Technology

Business Process

Supplier Business Processes

Customer Processes

Focal Firm

Organisational Performance

{Business Value Model of SN (Adapted from Kettles & David, 2008)}.

6.1. Benefits Derived from SNSs by John Wiley & Sons Co.

Effective communication and Information sharing in the company

To the company, SN tools and sites have enabled them to communicate and exchange information with their suppliers. From the model, suppliers communicate with a focal firm to improve the quality of supplies. The company used it as a medium to negotiate services, co-create products, review the firm needs and reduce packaging and transportation costs as Dialogic Theory explains. According to Kettles and David (2008), all these processes are direct impact of technology as a collaborative tool that support KM to enhance knowledge sharing on both products and people. SN tools help to streamline communication and reduce coordination costs for companies. From the model above, the resulting improvement may either happen at focal firm or the trading partner or both.

Increasing customer loyalty and repeat purchases

According to company, the use of these sites has enabled them to increase customer loyalty and repeat purchases which have simultaneously increased revenue while reducing customer acquisition cost. The model explains that, customers get direct access to the company and this remove the use of middleman in marketing theory. Apart from that, the company's interpersonal relationships with their customers and audience have strengthened through Dialogue Relationship Building. Kinser & Fall (2006) explains how managers are employing relationship-building, evaluation, communication and feedback strategies to retain membership. This has yielded customer satisfaction and loyalty. This is because the sense of belongingness would be felt by both employees and customers.

Ensure Business Performance

In a nutshell, it has ensured job satisfaction. Job satisfaction, according to John Locke (1976, p.1304), refers to the extent to which employees have "a pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one's job or job experience". Relating this definition to our studies, the use of, twitter, Myspace and other sites by John Wiley & Co. to send appraisal forms and recommendations to their cherished customers and employees has yielded job satisfaction.

6.2. Challenges Faced by the Company as Introduced SNSs

Collins et al (2011, p.11) argue that when engaging in SN practice, company's should navigate a range of risk and challenges. Robert Half Technology (2009) declared that, more than half of US companies block access to SNS to refrain workers from wasting time. The challenges include;

Difficulty in Managing the company's information security and privacy

According to the company's CEO, Presce (2011), since the time social networking practices became part of their business strategy, all the information he thought was hidden are no more hidden. The site has introduced and re-introduced Him to old classmates, friends, neigbours and others who He did not want to get connected or reconnected to again. Besides, there have been "numerous spamming and other security issues He cannot tell or review", reported by the CEO. From the general perspective, Isheriff (2010) argued that SNS such as Facebook and Twitter are used by hackers to distribute malware and spam by hacking users account and then sending spam and malware using trusted accounts because users tend to open links sent by their friends without thinking of possible risks.

The Risk of Integrity, predation and Cyber bullying

The CEO, William Pesce (2011) argues that the major challenge facing the company is the difficulty in differentiating whether the employees are posting views or the views of the company they work for. IBE revealed that about 6 out of 7 respondents identify integrity risk as the main ethical challenge facing their companies as the time of introduced SN practices as part of their business strategy. The companies believe that irresponsive use of the site by workers on behalf of the company often undermine and tarnish the image of the company. An example is the case of Nestle (2011) where an employee posted a comment that caused the integrity of the company.

Loss in Staff Productivity leading to Low Productivity

The company has reported that employees spend a great deal of time browsing and updating their profile throughout the day without concentrating on the job. Research reveals that, employers worry, when it comes to the use of social networking sites in the workplace (British Trade Union Congress), "wasting time and posting of negative comments (Rooksby et al., 2009, p.9). BBC article (2007) argued that, SNS use in the workplace is responsible for "as much as £132 million per day" of lost productivity in the UK, and "233 million hours are lost every month…..on social networking" (Isherriff, 2010, p.2). The CEO, William Pesce (2011) said employees spend over 30 minutes on SNS to upgrade their profile and chat with their friends and relatives a day. This has really cost the company lots of money and resources. The CEO of the company opined that, in lieu of them to work to cover the workload, some of them would be using the site to browse and chat with their "girl friends" and 'boy friend's". This attitude is disgusting as against the company's moral ethics, said by the CEO. However, in order to avoid this attitude at the workplace, there should be legal action against those abusers.

7.0. Using Social Contract Theory to Analyse the Rules Governing the Use of SNS

The contracturalist or the social contract theories was postulated by Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and J.J Rousseau. Though the contract theorists differ on certain points, there were some basic tenets common to all. That is, persons' moral and/or political obligations are dependent upon a contract or agreement between them to form society (Friend, 2006).

The SNS such as,, and have Social Contract. Snyder et al, (2006, p.7) opine that, "this contract establishes the rules by which users must adhere to participate in posting and viewing in this online society". He argued that the contract highlights acceptable behaviour, posting rules and gives a mechanism by which these rules will be enforced. These sites have Terms of Use (ToU) document which highlights the legally terms binding their users. The ToU documents are:

• Members create unique personal profiles online in order to find and communicate with old and new friends.

• SNS are for the personal use of Members only and may not be used in connection with any commercial endeavors.

Deducing from the statements, these sites are for personal use, and not as an information-gathering device. The ToU document states that these sites are meant to meet new friends and renew old friendships. The social contract theory clearly elucidates the appropriate (ethical) use of the information contained on Facebook, Twitter as well as

Personal Life

Professional Life

Personal Web Page

Personal Blogs

Friends Web Sites

Company employee


Company Picnic- Company Christmas Party

(Adapted from Snyder et al., 2006)

This highlight the separation of person and professional information necessary for cyber-bullying, and privacy of information as it is becoming entwined in this 21 century. Another element about the theory is evolution. Locke believes that the rule of engagement must change and be adapted to society as it changes (Keeley, 1988). This means that, the ToU policies and Tips of these sites are renewed whenever new misuses of private information are encountered.

8.0. Future Impact of Enterprise Social Networking Practices

Deducing from the findings and the peer-reviewed literature, it is obvious that the emergence of social networking tools and practices make it seem like there is no limit when it comes to new opportunities to use technology to improve how business is done.

Hoovers (2009) revealed that, about 2/3 of US companies are using SN in their competitive intelligence initiatives

The researcher has observed that SNS is and will be shifting IT based products to business oriented services. This is because SNS will soon allow companies to use any technology available to them as a service in lieu of owning and managing all IT systems. SN will allow companies to invest more of their time and resources in focusing on what differentiates the marketplace.

Another future impact is the Shift towards Service Performance. The companies are becoming more responsive since the customers' expectations are now becoming savvy as a result of SNS. The companies have developed the ability to respond to the needs of the customers. However, the risk here is that, SNS are going to make these companies to be more focused on the metrics that would help them to assess their service capabilities and improve them. These opportunities will only represent a significant market differentiation.

The use of social networking tools and practice will help to eliminate travel time and cost, locate product quicker, and provide comparison shopping through the use of emerging online services such ebay, Amazon, Xing etc that allow customers to browse multiple ecommerce merchants and find the best prices. Also there will be no need for customers to travel long distance to reach their preferences. These sites remind customer's preferences to bring about repeat purchasing.


To amass everything, the researcher has reviewed knowledge management systems in meeting business goals. The study drew a critical dichotomy between Knowledge Management and Technology. The researcher has critically review academic literature on Social Networking Site Use applying the Uses and Gratification Theory, and cited several companies using different social networking sites as part of their business strategy. The paper used a case study where John Wiley & Sons Inc. has adopted SNS as part of their business strategy and how it has influenced their business process outcome. The study used Business Value Model by Melville et al to discuss the value of Social networking on business performance. The paper concluded by using the findings and peer-reviewed literature to assess the future impact of enterprise social networking practices and tools.

Conclusions gathered from the study and the analysis shows that, Social networking practices and tools are useful in every aspect of life. It is of no surprise that most business organizations are penetrating and adopting the social networking tools such as,, etc. to connect to their partners, audience and their customers. Individuals are also using it to connect with their families, home and abroad. However, some organisations are adopting these tools and practices without clearly understanding how they will provide value (Kettles & David, 2008). Therefore, the study propose further research work to facilitate better understanding on how the features of social networking tools impact on both internal and external business processes.