Enterprise 2.0 : Knowledge-sharing and collaboration through emergent social software platforms (ESSP) - The case of IBM
Abstract: Intellectual capital is the single most important asset owned by any organization. Business continuity and the long term sustainability of every business organization depends partly on how well accumulated organizational knowledge is passed on from generation to generation. Knowledge is hard to capture due to its implicit nature and even harder to manage, thus the deployment of numerous knowledge management systems by organizations in recent times. Knowledge sharing among employees within organizations can sometimes be very problem-atic. These problems stem from issues pertaining to power, secrecy, individualism, time, ignorance and technological issues among others. This paper seeks to investigate how web 2.0 technologies are being used to overcome these problems and facilitate knowledge sharing as well as collaboration. Web 2.0 has been described as the new web which focuses on the use of platforms. Platforms are digital environments in which contributions and interactions are globally visible. The new web technologies which are based on platforms are referred to as emergent social software platforms (ESSP‘s). The use of these web 2.0 technologies (ESSP‘s) within a business enterprise for the achievement of business goals is known as enterprise 2.0 (E2.0). Central to this research is the knowledge sharing cycle model, which has three main stages; internalization, externalization, and objectification. Internalization occurs when individuals acquire or learn from the organization. Externalization is achieved when individual implicit knowledge is made explicit. Objectification is making new knowledge globally accepted. This cycle has been adapted to illustrate the role played by ESSP‘s in facilitating knowledge sharing. A case study of IBM Corporation is used to arrive at the findings which are used to adapt the model. IBM Corporations extensively deploys E2.0. The company uses one central Social networking platform called IBM connections, which incorporates several ESSP‘s. There are seven services on IBM connections which include profiles, Activities, wikis, blogs, bookmarks, Files, and communities. Employing the interview technique, observations and the use of secondary data, the research questions are answered. The findings indicate that ESSP‘s can be used to support knowledge sharing practices and also helps to convert knowledge into its different forms (explicit and implicit). Blogs, wikis, and communities support internaliza-tion and externalization. The process of objectification is supported by wikis. Findings also indicate that the services within IBM connections platform support mass collaboration and foster strong ties among employees. In an objective manner, the paper points out some of the negative consequences of E2.0. Major issues uncovered through the case study include, sensi-tive data, undefined way of working with ESSP‘s, privacy, abuse of use, and lack of interest.
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