Topic: Performance Appraisals

Authors, Title and Publication
Zhang, X., & Venkatesh, V. (2013). Explaining employee job performance: The role of online and offline workplace communication networks. MIS Quarterly, 37(3), 695-A3.

This study focused on the role technology plays in influencing employees’ performance and examined different communication technologies used for creating and maintaining employee social networks.
According to social networks theory, an employee’s network ties play an important role in affecting access to important resources that in turn serves as a key mechanism contributing positively to job performance. Individuals link to other people through direct ties (i.e., there is a direct link between two people such that they can communicate with each other without going through other people) or indirect ties (i.e., there is no direct link between two people—they can communicate with each other only through others). Individuals who have a large number of network ties or connections would have more interactions with others in the network to gain access to resources. This paper distinguished between an online workplace communication network (i.e., where people interact using a variety of communication technologies available to them in the workplace) and an offline workplace communication network (i.e., where people interact face-to-face) and hypothesized that offline and online direct and indirect ties are positively related to job performance.

A survey was conducted with 104 knowledge workers in a Fortune 500 telecommunications company in the United States. Results showed that online (via email, instant messenger, mobile text messaging, audio conference, or video conference) direct and indirect, and offline (via face-to-face) direct ties are significantly related to job performance. Employees who have a larger number of direct and indirect contacts in both online and offline networks are more capable of acquiring and leveraging useful resources to enhance job performance.

Implications for Practice
Organizations should 1) consider the role of social networks in maximizing the benefits of information and communication technology; 2) encourage employees to create both online and offline network ties; 3) promote the creation and sustenance of both online and offline workplace communication networks by encouraging employees with few ties to interact with other employees through socialization activities; and 4) train or educate employees to reflect on their network structures.

Location of 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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