359 Lotus blogs updated hourly. Who will post next? Home | Downloads | Events | Pods | Blogs | Search | myPL | About 
 
Latest 7 Posts
Doing What You're Passionate About
Tue, Oct 30th 2012 119
Can Ethnography Save Enterprise Social Networking
Thu, Sep 20th 2012 141
Bridging the Participation Gap – Networks, Learning, and “Play”
Thu, Aug 2nd 2012 119
Design Considerations For Enterprise Social Networks
Thu, Aug 2nd 2012 143
Design Considerations For Enterprise Social Networks: Identity, Graphs, Streams & Social Objects
Thu, Jan 26th 2012 222
Towards A More Participatory Culture: Enterprise Q&A
Thu, Jan 19th 2012 144
Are We In A "Post E2.0 Era"?
Mon, Jan 2nd 2012 134
Top 10
Design Considerations For Enterprise Social Networks: Identity, Graphs, Streams & Social Objects
Thu, Jan 26th 2012 222
Towards A More Participatory Culture: Enterprise Q&A
Thu, Jan 19th 2012 144
Design Considerations For Enterprise Social Networks
Thu, Aug 2nd 2012 143
Can Ethnography Save Enterprise Social Networking
Thu, Sep 20th 2012 141
Literature Review: Improving Work Practices in Times of Change
Mon, Nov 21st 2011 134
Are We In A "Post E2.0 Era"?
Mon, Jan 2nd 2012 134
Bridging the Participation Gap – Networks, Learning, and “Play”
Thu, Aug 2nd 2012 119
Doing What You're Passionate About
Tue, Oct 30th 2012 119
Missing Pieces: The Activity Stream Aggregator
Sun, Jan 1st 2012 115
Annotated Bibliography: Background For Literature Review Project
Mon, Nov 7th 2011 96


Mock Thesis Proposal: Personal Support Networks During Periods Of Transition, Part 1
Mike Gotta    

Abstract

Social Network Sites (SNS) create multiple affordances employees leverage during their employment lifecycle. In this Masters Thesis, I examine how a SNS helps employees during transitional periods such as: joining the company, moving into a new position, and navigating through organizational disruption. Personal support networks are one type of SNS affordance employees can exploit when seeking information, mentoring, advice, problem-solving help, or opinions on the “folklore” of another group or business area. Output from this work will identify employee personal support practices, the influence media, management, and culture have on such practices, and benefits that accrue to employees and employers.

Proposal and Rationale

Description

In this work, I propose to examine how employees can leverage the affordances enabled through an internal SNS for personal support reasons during professional life transitions such as: joining the company, moving into a new position, and adapting to new professional situations as a result of organizational disruption (e.g., a reduction in force, a re-organization, or combining groups of people together from different companies as part of a merger or acquisition). My belief is that personal support networks provide a direct benefit to employees and an indirect benefit to the organization and management.  

Examples of the type of affordances that could be examined include:

  • Mentoring: the ability for an employee to use a SNS as part of a mentoring program with senior staff members.

  • Advice: the ability for an employee to pose questions to trusted individuals on professional dilemmas, career issues, or other work-related challenges.

  • “Folklore”: Employees share knowledge and rumors that help provide important context to situations workers find themselves in. Through these backchannels, employees tap into the “gossip” on how things really get done or etiquettes expected in groups a worker is joining.

  • Information: A SNS provides employees with a wealth of information on colleagues (via profiles), relationships (via a social graph), interactions (via wall posts, forums, and micro-blogging), and content (via uploaded files).

  • Literacy development: The relatively low barriers for participation creates affordances that enable employees to expand the ways they create and share information as well as connect and build community with peers. Proficiency in use of media, and recognition from peers regarding their contributions, builds confidence employees can apply elsewhere in their professional life.

  • Self-learning: Employees can create their own strategies to monitor and educate themselves about areas in the firm they may want to transition into, or follow senior staff to discover how career paths evolve over time.

  • Personal Brand: Employees can define themselves beyond their formal role by leveraging a SNS and its tools (e.g., blogs, wikis, communities) to display unknown talent. By performing in ways beyond their expected role, employees can enhance their career options by being recognized for their expertise or as a contributor in areas not associated with their position.

There are also benefits to the organization by allowing personal support networks to thrive. From a management perspective, employees that are both motivated and proficient in their role is often the objective of strategic human resource initiatives such as talent management, employee engagement, skill and competency goals, and staff retention metrics. For managers, employees committed to their job and to the organization are more productive, contribute towards a positive corporate culture, and reflect well on the firm when dealing with valuable customer relationships.

Employees today often have a richer media experience outside of work than they do using internal business applications. Smart phones, tablets, gaming, and consumer SNS’s are influencing concepts related to participation, sharing, and privacy. As organizations transition through generational shifts in their workforce, determining the proper work-related use of social media can create differing opinions within leadership teams. Managers with a positive influence on employee use of a SNS can leverage worker participate to facilitate a stronger sense of organizational identity. A negative influence can spread that context to staff, disenfranchising them and inhibiting their use of a SNS to develop personal support networks.

Rationale & Literature Review

Organizations today are faced with an extreme period of uncertainty due to economic, geo-political, societal, environmental, and technological shifts that have occurred over the past few years and continue today, with no foreseeable return of “normalcy” in sight. Management is often unable to communicate to its workforce the firm’s long-term business direction, how the firm plans to stay competitive in the short-run, what new markets should be entered, or the type of structural and cultural transformation is necessary to navigate through this period of uncertainty. As organizations struggle through this malaise, there are more reports in the media on how employees are becoming less committed to their job and employer. If firms are to avoid customer, financial, and competitive decline, any strategic long-term remedy needs to include an employee engagement component.

This situation represents the conceptual framing for my work. How organizations can actually encourage its employees to participate more actively and become more emotionally attached to the company and its mission has led strategists to look at consumer SNS providers and deploy similar technologies designed for use within the enterprise. However, what I see happening in my professional encounters with strategists are approaches to an enterprise SNS that focus on broad corporate goals, narrowly defined improvements to processes, or creation of knowledge-sharing “islands” disconnected from the everyday work of employees. While I am not judging the correctness of those approaches in this thesis, I do believe strategists are missing an employee-centric perspective and are not considering the individual and business value derived from personal support networks.  Affordances associated with such networks help employees become more self-organized and in control of certain aspects of their professional life. For employees to become more motivated to perform better, to identify more with the goals of the company (and contribute accordingly), they need to see value in return for that higher level of engagement. That motivation is realized by giving workers more autonomy to self-direct aspects of their career progression.  Greater personal control over their career progression can incent employees to gain a level of mastery in their chosen endeavors. This is especially true in times of transition. A SNS designed with certain personal support affordances helps employees creates the social infrastructure they need to better self-direct their career progression. Personal support networks can also provide workers with the emotional scaffolding (e.g., peer and community backing) to handle professional transitions that are contentious, ambiguous or complex. The need for these types of networks have become more important given the commitment gap between companies and its employees, and the implications to employees in terms of their employment.

Based on work previous published in my Literature Review, the thesis study divides existing theoretical research into three domains:

  • Publics, Media & Participatory Culture: This research area looks at the rise of public opinion as a unique part of social life and how communications media has helped facilitate new forms of participation and collective sharing at a mass scale. Relevant academic perspectives include those from: Baym and Jenkins.

  • Social Network Sites (SNS): This research area examines how people leverage a SNS for publically interacting with friends, cohorts, and site members to which a person has no association. Also examined is how the SNS model is applied internally within the firm and used by employees to foster personal support networks. Academic perspectives developed by boyd, Ellison, Pearson, McAfee, and Burt are applicable here.

  • Organizational Identity (OI): This research area looks at how workers deal with issues of identifying with the organization, the influence of managerial relationships and peer networks, and how OI affects workers and the firm.  Scholarly perspectives put forth by Cole, Foote, Pratti, and Stirling underpins this area.

Research within each of the above domains either focuses on society in general, the consumer market, or business management and organizational development. There is a gap concerning how theoretical principals and findings interconnect across the various disciplines in ways that apply to employees in the firm. A key aspect of this thesis is to connect existing dots in a new inter-disciplinary way and support this study and its findings through the application of several research methods. Some examples of what we can learn from this work include:

  • The role of publics in a SNS and how its affordances help people construct identity is often discussed in consumer contexts (boyd, 2011; Ellison, 2011; Pearson 2009). However, in the firm, “identity” of an employee is something ascribed to them based on their job title, role, and business unit association. Will organizations really allow employees to create (and exploit) their own social identities based on interests, experiences, and expertise outside the boundaries of their formal persona? The ability to shape one’s own identity and the context in which that persona is represented is an important component to how personal support networks might evolve.

  • Participatory culture is often examined in the context of youth, media, and education (Jenkins, 2009). How does his work on participatory cultures apply within a business environment that is managed differently than an educational environment? The cultural dynamics of encouraging low barriers to expression (e.g., use of blogs, wikis, communities) and sense that co-workers value contributions from colleagues would appear to impact development and mobilization of personal support networks.

  • The influence of hierarchy and how it creates poor commitment levels if workers feel they are outside a particular social group has been examined as part of organizational theory (Cole, 2006). Can personal support networks provide a means for employees to feel that they have pathways across the organization regardless of where they are situated in the hierarchy? If so, such a dynamic should improve how employees identify with the firm.

Results of this study will help strategists understand the value of personal support networks as part of an employee engagement strategy, the role a SNS has in enabling the cultural and media affordances necessary for workers to create, maintain, and mobilize such networks, and benefits to employees and employers. 

 Part 2 is located here. Part 2 covers: 

  • Methodology
  • Relevant Experience and Expertise
  • Research/Production Plan
  • Bibliography


---------------------
http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CollaborativeThinking/~3/NmYxGRz4S0E/personal-support-networks.html
Dec 12, 2011
59 hits



Recent Blog Posts
119


Doing What You're Passionate About
Tue, Oct 30th 2012 10:16a   Mike Gotta
If you’re lucky, there is some aspect of your professional life that your passionate about – something that sparks your intellectual curiosity, something that compels you to advocate for something or someone – something that actually inspires you. While I’ve truly enjoyed my last two years working at Cisco, I could never quite shake the sense that my passion, as described here, was best found by being in an inter-disciplinary role that combined different types of research (related [read] Keywords: collaboration community social software
141


Can Ethnography Save Enterprise Social Networking
Thu, Sep 20th 2012 11:09a   Mike Gotta
To read the full article: Can Ethnography Save Enterprise Social Networking (guest blog post on Ethnography Matters) Editor’s note: Enterprise software systems. Sounds a bit boring and inhuman. But they’re not! This month, Mike Gotta from Cisco Systems, makes the case for bringing the human back into enterprise software design and development, starting out with enterprise social networking (ESN). Recently,  Cisco’s collaboration blog featured an essay by Mike Gotta, Design [read] Keywords: collaboration development enterprise networking wiki
119


Bridging the Participation Gap – Networks, Learning, and “Play”
Thu, Aug 2nd 2012 11:09a   Mike Gotta
As much as the industry talks about social business and the need for organizations to become more “people-centric”, our conversations too often focus on the merits of social applications and platforms. While technology plays a critical role in enabling new ways of working, those new practices should also be complimented by management and community-building strategies that encourage employee participation. Fostering a more participatory culture and work experience that motivates people to con [read] Keywords: collaboration notes application applications community consulting enterprise networking
143


Design Considerations For Enterprise Social Networks
Thu, Aug 2nd 2012 11:09a   Mike Gotta
While enterprise social networking has been covered extensively in the media and by IT analyst firms, one of the least discussed aspects of the topic has been the issue of design and the potential impact of design on employee adoption of such tools and applications.  At the June Enterprise 2.0 Boston conference, I presented a session, “Design Considerations For Enterprise Social Networks: Identity, Graphs, Streams & Social Objects”, in hopes of drawing attention to the issue and to spar [read] Keywords: collaboration application applications community enterprise facebook interface mobile network networking
222


Design Considerations For Enterprise Social Networks: Identity, Graphs, Streams & Social Objects
Thu, Jan 26th 2012 11:11a   Mike Gotta
I've submitted a proposal for the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston. Feedback appreciated on the session and if it's worthwhile, indicate so with a "thumbs up". Thanks... http://boston2012.e2conf.spigit.com/Page/ViewIdea?ideaid=5069   [read] Keywords: enterprise
144


Towards A More Participatory Culture: Enterprise Q&A
Thu, Jan 19th 2012 8:11a   Mike Gotta
In October of 2011, AIIM (the Association for Information & Imaging Management, a non-profit research, community and educational association), published a survey-based report that examined social business and Enterprise 2.0 trends. I had the good fortune to hear about the results first-hand when I co-presented with AIIM’s President, John Mancini, on a social networking panel at the Gilbane Conference held in Boston last November. John summarized the work and results of the study. One of th [read] Keywords: collaboration application applications community enterprise network networking profile security wiki
134


Are We In A "Post E2.0 Era"?
Mon, Jan 2nd 2012 9:12a   Mike Gotta
I just read an interesting report from my ex-colleague Larry Cannel from Gartner ("The Post-2.0 Era: Social in the Context of My Work"). It was recently published under the Burton IT1 Research if you have access. My thoughts - not directly in response to Larry's report, just in general concerning Enterprise 2.0 (which is what came to mind as I read the document)... Are We In The Post-2.0 Era?  Yes. And No. The term “Enterprise 2.0” (E2.0) has been around since 2006. However, many of t [read] Keywords: collaboration application applications blogging community development enterprise instant messaging integration mobile networking social software web 2.0 workspace




115


Missing Pieces: The Activity Stream Aggregator
Sun, Jan 1st 2012 1:11p   Mike Gotta
Industry discussions on the value of activity streams have been going on for a few years. The concept is pretty straightforward. Social network sites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn in the consumer space as well as many enterprise social software vendors) display a chronological list of human-readable content fragments that describe actions taken by people and applications. For example, in Facebook this capability is referred to as a News Stream. Typically, an activity stream lists status upd [read] Keywords: collaboration connections application applications development enterprise facebook integration interface linkedin mobile network networking security social software twitter unified communications
79


Abstract: Social Capital (Key Ideas)
Sat, Dec 31st 2011 1:11p   Mike Gotta
Field, J. (2008). Social Capital (2nd ed.). Routledge.  Abstract John Field is Director of the Division of Academic Innovation and Continuing Education at the University of Stirling. His book, Social Capital, is part of a complimentary collection of essays to the series, Key Sociologists. The author continues to focus on the topic of social capital as it apples to lifelong learning. In this publication, Field adopts a social networking centric view of social capital. The connections people es [read] Keywords: collaboration connections notes policies community enterprise networking
66


Abstract: Social Capital: Its Origins and Applications in Modern Sociology
Thu, Dec 29th 2011 2:11p   Mike Gotta
Source: Portes, A. (1998). Social Capital: Its Origins and Applications in Modern Sociology. Annual Reviews. Abstract Portes is professor of sociology at Princeton University. His primary focus is on economic sociology with an emphasis on immigration and urbanization. In this paper, Portes examines the origins of social capital, concentrating mostly on the works of Bourdieu, Loury, and Coleman. Portes concludes that there is a level of enthusiasm for the concept of social capital that is unli [read] Keywords: collaboration application applications community enterprise facebook networking




Created and Maintained by Yancy Lent - About - Blog Submission - Suggestions - Change Log - Blog Widget - Advertising - Mobile Edition