Ellison et al. (2007) opines 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. This really makes Social Networking Practices very important part of knowledge management.
This paper aimed at providing specific instances where enterprise social networking practices and tools have been introduced into an organization. It also seeks to discuss the reasons that explain the approach taken for the organization. The paper will also focus on the major challenges of introducing the social networking practices and tools as part of business strategy, and scholarly use the findings and the peer-reviewed literature to assess the future impact of enterprise social networking practices and tools for organisations striving competitive advantage. The research will begin by explaining knowledge management.
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Knowledge, according to Denham Grey (2002), is the full utilization of information and data, coupled with the potential of people's skills, competencies, ideas, intuitions, commitments and motivations. 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 some business gurus see it as a technological based subject. However, McDermott (cite in Lesser, et al, 2000), opines that technology inspires but cannot deliver knowledge management.
3.0. Academic Literature Review
This section review academic writings on Knowledge Management Systems and social networking sites.
3.1. What are Knowledge Management and Knowledge Management Systems?
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 produce the biggest payoffs. From his definition, one could see that knowledge management is not about managing knowledge but the ability to capture, and share information effectively is exactly what the concept is all about.
Knowledge Management is viewed from different corner as a process through which Organizations generate values from their explicit knowledge (intellectual) and tacit or knowledge-based asset. That is, generating value from such assets involves codifying what employees, partners and customers know, and sharing that information among employees, departments and even with other companies in an effort to devise best practices (Alan, 2010).
Knowledge management systems, on the other-hand, refer to any kind of IT system that stores and retrieves knowledge, improves collaboration, locates knowledge sources, mines repositories for hidden knowledge, captures and uses knowledge, or in some other way enhances the knowledge management process.
3.2. KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT PROCESS
Deducing from the definition, Knowledge management process can be seen from four main dimensions and these four processes can be further classified into sub-processes;
Knowledge capture and creation.
Knowledge organization and retention.
Knowledge utilization (Kettle and David, 2008)
Knowledge capture and creation is a process in which knowledge identification, capture, acquisition, and creation is done (Rao, 2004).
Knowledge organization and retention according to Millar et al., (1997), is a process in which tacit form of knowledge is codified in an understandable form to some extent. After codifying this knowledge, it then needs to be categorized, and stored in repositories in a standard format for later use.
Knowledge dissemination at this juncture involves knowledge sharing among all within the organization both of tacit and explicit form. A combination of incentives and a cooperative culture are the main supporting factors of knowledge dissemination (Morris & Empson, 1998).
After knowledge is shared, it then needs to be applied and used in the organization value-adding. This is often referred to as knowledge utilization (Kettle and David cited in Currie, 2003).
3.3. IS KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT A TECHNOLOGY DISCIPLINE?
Based on the definitions above, Knowledge management is concerned with the representation, organization, acquisition, creation, usage, and evolution of knowledge in its many forms (Jurisica et al., (1999). Albert Einstein belives that "knowledge is experience. Everything else is just an inorfmation". James Robertson (2007), argue that, the fact that knowledge management is enhanced by technology, does not necessarily mean that it is a technology discipline, and thinking in terms of knowledge management systems leads to expectations of "silver bullet" solutions. Scholars like Hayes and Walsham, (2003), maintain that Information technology only has influence on knowledge management but the subject itself is not technology discipline.
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On the contrary, Jones (2010) argues that "Knowledge management is inherently collaborative; thus different technologies can be used to support knowledge management practices. He further opine that, collaborative knowledge management 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 knowledge management tool is LiveLink by OpenText, Inc. (http://www.opentext.com/). 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"
To amass everything, it should be noted that, the definition says nothing about technology; while Knowledge management is often facilitated by IT, technology by itself is not Knowledge management.
4.0. Review on Social Networking Site Use
As noted earlier, the use of social networking sites have tremendously increased in this recent times. Ellison et al. (2007), "social network sites (SNSs) are increasingly attracting the attention of academic and industry researchers intrigued by their affordances and reach".
Kwon and Wen (2010), defines SNS as "websites that allow building relationships online between persons by means of collecting useful information and sharing it with people. Also, they can create groups which allow interacting amongst users with similar interests". 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).
Ellison et al., (2007), define social network sites as web-based services that allow individuals to;
construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system
articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and
view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. He goes on by saying that, the nature and nomenclature of these connections may vary from site to site.
Social networking sites are useful in e of every aspect life. It is of no surprise that most business organizations are penetrating and adopting the social media such as facebook.com, twitter.com, Myspace.com etc. to connect to their partners, audience and their customers. Individuals are also using it to connect with their families, home and abroad. According to Berg et al. (2007), employability enhancement and career management among a diverse range of core university processes can be facilitated through application of social networks. Besides that, Social networks offer 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).
4.1. TYPOLOGIES OF SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES
Two scholars have provided two different typologies of social networking sites
According to Rooksby et al., (2009), Social networking sites can be divided into two types:
public social networking sites and internal social networking sites
The Public social networking site, as the name implies refers to the sites that are opened to the general public and can be accessed and used by anybody who wants to use it. In the words of Moqbel (2012, p.12), Public social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, are run by commercial providers and are often free.
Internal social networking sites on the other-hand, like Watercooler at HP, Beehive at IBM, Harmony at SAP, D-Street at Deloitte, and Town Square at Microsoft, are owned by organizations for their own use inside the organization.
Ellison et al. (2007), grouped social networking sites into;
Work-related contexts (e.g., LinkedIn.com)
romantic relationship initiation (the original goal of Friendster.com)
connecting those with shared interests such as music or politics (e.g., MySpace.com), or
the college student population (the original incarnation of Facebook.com)" (p. 1143).
On the contrary, there are other sites like xing.com, connect.com, bloomfire.com and many more which allows companies to maintain a list of business contacts and make new business connections.
4.2. HOW SOCIAL NETWORKING TOOLS WORK
In order to use social networking site like facebook, twitter, myspace etc, the following steps must be followed:
First, create a unique account: To start with, you must have a user registered account firstname.lastname@example.org. Thus, email address and password with the site
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After creation of a unique account, a confirmation from the site will be sent to you, confirming that your email has been validated.
Creation of profile: Thus the moment you received the confirmation, and then you can start to manipulate your profile.
You can use the site to send friend request and search for friends as well.
However, it should be noted that, using social networking sites can be good as well as bad to businesses and individuals. Although SNS help business to reach a decision that can safeguards the company's interest. Conversely, it can also be very dangerous to the company. Thus it can tarnish the good image of the company. A notable example is what happened to Nestle in 2011. So the question is "how should I use Social Networking Sites"?
To use social networking sites, you must be conscious of the pros and the cons. Thus, you must know what to do and what not to do as well as broadening you tacit and explicit knowledge on the various tools that you might be using.
5.0. KENYAS SERIES LTD & Social Networking Practices
5.1. Background History of the Company
KENYAS SERIES is a renowned publishing company in Ghana. It is a multinational book company with its headquarters in Kumasi-Ghana. The company publishes educational books based on West African Examination Council Syllabus for Senior High School Students in the four West African Countries. The company was founded on the 27th July, 2000 by a Ghanaian scholar, Elvis Asiedu. The company has 200 employees in the Nationwide with about 30, 000 customers in the whole of West Africa.
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: google.com-some of the products of KENYAS SERIES)
5.2. Why the company adopted social networking practice?
Research has revealed that more than 80 percent of businesses are using social media in their marketing, making social media a potentially rich source of information. KENYAS SERIES PUBLICATION for the past 6 years has seen the tremendous change in the business and marketing atmosphere. The company argues that, in order to adapt to the new paradigm of change, there was the need to adopt new approach where they can response and adjust to the new economy of e-commerce, e-business, e-marketing, and e-purchasing. This made the to develop the idea of using SNS to create value, communicate, deliver and at the end, get to the targeted market at a profit.
In order to create valuable product and services to its customers and employees, the company adopted a strategy which it would use to reach all its customers both home and away. The company therefore, adopted SNS with the aim of:
Creating brand where their books can be found on the internet
Delivering customer satisfaction to realize its aspirations.
To gain profit and sustain itself in the system
To create value for itself by becoming different among its competitors.
The CCDVP stands for "creating value, communicating, and delivering the value to the target market at a profit". This marketing theory was coined and popularised by Professor Phil Kotler. http://business-fundas.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/CCDVTP_Marketing_Value_Chain-520x193.png
(Adapted from http//business-fundas.com)
A research conducted by Hoovers in 2009, has obviously declared that, about two-third of US companies are using social media in their competitive intelligence initiatives. Companies such as Digimind, Tiffany & Co., Kessben Group of Companies and many more are all using social networking sites in their business searches.
Social Networking practices have encouraged effective communication in the company. To buttress this point, scholars like Bennett et al (2010), maintain that, the use of social networking sites like facebook.com, twitter.com, Youtube.com, Xing, Myspce.com and others facilitate effective communication among the company's internal and external stakeholders which consequently helps knowledge transfer and communication.
More so, it has encouraged learning at the workplace. Social Networking practices and tools allow employees to read wide to broaden their horizon. In the words of education.au (2009), access to virtual or online communities is very important than the physical education environment. Research has revealed that, social networking practices and tools in the workplace encourage learning and development. Collins et al. (2011, p.14) maintained that, social networking practices helps learning and skill development outside formal learning environment by supporting peer-to-peer learning of knowledge and skills, collaboration, diverse cultural expression, the development of skills valued in the modern workplace and more empowered conception of citizenship (cited in Ito, et al., (2006), Jenkins, 2007:p.3).
Furthermore, it has strengthened the company's interpersonal relationships with their cherished customers and audience. It is believed that, a company's positive interpersonal relationships with their customers bring about customer satisfaction and loyalty. Scholars like Besley, (2008), Valkenbury & Peter, (2006) opine that, the use of internet generally helps to strengthen company's existing interpersonal relationships with their customers and employees. This is because it brings about the sense of belongingness as the employees and customers may also feel like they are part of the company.
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, one could see that the use of facebook.com, blogging, Xing, LinkIn, twitter, Myspace and other social networking sites to send appraisal forms and recommendations to company's cherished customers and employees enables job satisfaction.
7.0. CHALLENGES AS INTRODUCING SOCIAL NETWORKING
According to Lacho (2010), social networking sites have both advantages and challenges when using them as a medium for marketing a business.
Research has revealed that adopting something for the first time, especially those involved with technology is a little bit perplex and challenging. As a matter of facts, adopting SNS for company like that needed a team of experts who will manage and control the sites. The company wanted to understand the consequences of using SNS at multiple levels.
Due to this, the author has grouped the challenges into 'before and after' introducing social networking practices and tools into the company.
7.1. THE "BEFORE CHALLENGES"
In the first place, the company complained of as to "why to use social networking practices"- Thus, their department did not know the need to adopt social networking practices. They kept asking whether it is for providing information, seeking feedbacks or for general interaction. However, lack of clarity delay the company before introducing social networking practices into the company.
Also, the company had a problem as to "which platform to use": Thus, based on myriad of platforms been introduced, it became very complicated as to which platform and the type of social networking tool to use.
Another challenge encountered was as to "who will engage and how to engage": The Company had a problem as to who to authorize the social networking practices on behalf of the department and how to create and manage the account.
7.2. THE "AFTER CHALLENGES"
According to the company, since introducing Social Networking Practice, the management of business information and privacy has been a challenge.
Also, the management of personal information has been a challenge.
Another challenge facing the company as from the time they introduce social networking practice as part of their business strategy is the risk of predation and cyber bullying.
future impact of enterprise social networking practices and tools for organisations