Author(s), Title and Publication
Luo, N., Guo, X., Lu, B., & Chen, G. (2018). Can non-work-related social media use benefit the company? A study on corporate blogging and affective organizational commitment. Computers in Human Behavior, 81, 84-92. doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2017.12.004

Summary
Intra-organizational social media systems, such as corporate blogging, are increasingly implemented in companies. Although it is usually expected that such systems are used for sharing work-related information, employees also tend to use them for non-work-related purposes, such as posting leisure related information, sharing life experiences, and exchanging emotional feelings. Whether the non-work-related use of corporate blogging is beneficial or harmful to an organization, however, has yet to be fully understood. Often aimed at creating an environment of intra-organizational communication and collaboration, a considerable number of companies have spent a great deal of efforts deploying internal social media. The open, fluid nature of social media platforms makes separating work and non-work information difficult, however. The authors of this study intend to explore how employees and organizations benefit from the sharing of non-work information on internal blogs.

Employee blogging activity was evaluated via questionnaire and content analyses which took into account 1208 users, and 91,477 data records. Results indicate while employees sharing, and attainment of non-work-related information may not directly improve work efficiency, the exchange of leisure, life and emotion-related information on corporate blogs does positively impact employees’ affective organizational commitment. Affective commitment describes an employee’s emotional attachment to, identification with, and involvement in the organization. The study found shared common understanding and interests among employees facilitates employees’ positive emotional attachment to the organization. These affects were intensified when employees authored, published and shared original ideas, information, and articles. Further, employees’ emotional attachment was strengthened through acquiring non-work information on internal blogs. In other words, employees benefit through writing and reading non-work-related information on internal blogs. In this way, the corporation can benefit from the non-work-related communication published on the intra-organizational blogging platform. Employees’ social interaction activities on internal blogging platforms did not significantly impact affective commitment, perhaps due to the relatively limited relational features of blogs compared to other social networking interfaces.

Implications for Practice
Organizations should (1) communicate the benefits of non-work information via internal social media to all levels of the organization to dispel doubts and inform the decision to employ social networking applications; (2) consider using incentives to encourage employees to post original articles, including non-work-related ones. This will not only enhance the publishers’ emotional feelings toward the enterprise but also help enrich the blog’s contents and attract more readers; (3) encourage employees to constantly browse and read internal social articles including non-work-related ones to improve their affective commitment, as well as better understand their colleagues and organization.

Location of Article
This article is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2017.12.004 (abstract free, purchase full article)

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Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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