Allowing access to social networking sites at work could be a good thing. Employees participating in office-sponsored internal social networking sites have increased morale and reduced turnover levels, revealed a recent study by Baylor University.
The study focused on a financial institution’s efforts to acclimatise new IT employees into the organisation by using a social and work-related online networking site, where new hires could meet more senior new hires and executives. “These relationships set the new hires at ease during work meetings, helped them understand where to go for help and increased their commitment to the financial institution's mission," Hope Koch, the study’s co-author and Baylor University associate professor of information systems, said.
While it all bodes well for new hires, middle managers may not be too happy about this. Middle managers took years to develop the type of social capital and access to senior executives which the new hire could now do almost immediately. "While the new hires enjoyed using the system, the middle managers experienced frustration, isolation and envy.” Koch stated.
Organisations should pay attention to how the system will impact both its users and non-users, especially to the negative connotations associated with social networking systems in the workplace, she said.
The study was published in the European Journal of Information Systems, and co-authored by Dorothy Leidner, Ferguson Professor of Information Systems at Baylor; and Ester Gonzalez from Washington State University. Respondents of the study were from the institution’s IT department and included new hires who ranged from ages 21 to 27 years old with less than three years of experience, and middle managers and executives.
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