Social collaboration technologies in organisations: a qualitative approach
This thesis aims to explain why employees utilise social collaborative technologies (SCTs) within organisations. The findings contribute to an understanding of how this type of collaboration technology can be used as a platform to enhance communication, collaboration and streamline dialogue across an organisation. A number of different terms have been used to describe SCTs, such as enterprise 2.0, Facebook for the organisation, microblogging, social enterprise software, and tweeting. This thesis broadly covers three different types of SCT: a social network web-based platform (Yammer), an instant messaging collaborative platform (Microsoft Lync), and user forums. The research is informed by information sharing theory, self-determination theory, and the concepts of affordances of SCTs and social connectedness. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with managers and users of SCTs. Data was collected and analysed via thematic analysis revealing emergent themes that framed the discussion of this thesis. Overall, four emergent themes were discovered. They were: design of SCT that encourages certain practices, expected SCT practices, risks to utilising SCTs, and motivations that drive SCT behaviours. A key finding revealed there is a strong influence on employees’ approach to SCTs when looking at the affordances they offer. Yammer was found to offer similar affordances to Facebook, leading to the risk that organisational SCTs were being used for socialising rather than getting work done. The type of SCT used was found to influence how employees engage with it, changing the way they communicated and solved problems within their organisation. This research contributes to the field of information systems by providing insight into how SCTs are governed and managed by organisations. In practice, organisations could gain insight into how employees view SCTs and why employees choose to utilise them. Opportunities for future research were discovered, in areas such as how trust can play a role in the nature of communication and information sharing along with how the lack of internal organisational training on SCT use can impact an employee’s decision to utilise it effectively.