Enterprise Social Media (ESM) is defined as web-based platforms that allow workers to (1) communicate messages with specific coworkers or broadcast messages to everyone in the organization; (2) explicitly indicate or implicitly reveal particular coworkers as communication partners; (3) post, edit, and sort text and files linked to themselves or others; and (4) view the messages, connections, text, and files communicated, posted, edited and sorted by anyone else in the organization at any time of their choosing. Research has shown that the use of ESM improves employees’ work performance via enhanced internal communications, knowledge sharing, and collaboration. Nevertheless, many ESM initiatives fail in their first six months because few employees actively engage in ESM activities such as consuming and sharing content. This study examines employees’ motives to use ESM and the influence of their experience with public social media (e.g., Facebook) on these motives.

Adopting the uses and gratifications theory, the authors proposed three motives that drive employee ESM use. First, employees may gain gratifications from seeking and sharing information and documenting their daily activities on ESM. Second, employees may derive gratification from the entertainment value embedded in the internal enterprise communities. Third, the motive to engage in social interactions with other members of the organization may influence the usage of ESM. Additionally, the authors hypothesized that those who frequently use public social media will be less motivated to use ESM because the abovementioned motives can be equally or even better fulfilled through using public social media. To test the hypotheses, this study surveyed 157 employees who use ESM. The findings revealed that the motives of information sharing, entertainment, and social interaction are positively associated with employee ESM use. The motives of information-seeking and documenting are not related to ESM use. Furthermore, public social media use only diminishes the relationship between information seeking and ESM use, which implies that employees may be concerned with the negative relational consequences (e.g., receiving negative evaluations and opinions) resulted from posting questions on ESM.

Implications for practice
Organizations should (1) focus on different needs of employees to motivate them to use ESM, (2) adopt ESM platforms that enable employees to publish content, connect with other organizational members, and enjoy the process of using ESM, (3) highlight the entertainment aspect of the ESM content, and (4) provide clear guidelines, policies, and training on ESM use to avoid potential concerns and risks.

Location of Article
This article is available online here. (abstract free, purchase full article)

Liu, Y., & Bakici, T. (2019). Enterprise social media usage: The motives and the moderating role of public social media experience. Computers in Human Behavior, 101, 163-172.

Dr. Yi Liu, Ph.D. is an associate professor at the Rennes School of Business in Rennes, France. Dr. Liu’s research interests include information technology management, data management, and the implementation of business information systems.

Dr. Tuba Bakici, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at the Rennes School of Business in Rennes, France. Dr. Bakici’s research interests include information technology management, designing user experience and web analytics, and E-logistics and information systems. 

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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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