Original Research

What happens when organisations embrace social networking? Knowledge sharing at a multinational business solutions corporation

C. Stafford, M.A. Mearns
South African Journal of Information Management | Vol 11, No 4 | a414 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v11i4.414 | © 2009 C. Stafford, M.A. Mearns | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 March 2009 | Published: 20 April 2009

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C. Stafford,, South Africa
M.A. Mearns,

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Amid widespread resistance to online social networking tools, their effectiveness in promoting knowledge sharing in a knowledge-driven organisation was demonstrated in the study. Usage patterns, user attitudes and perceptions regarding online social networking technologies as a professional application for knowledge sharing within the workplace were investigated. Self-administered questionnaires were administered to a sample of IBM Global Business Services employees in South Africa. Upon completion of the questionnaire analysis an interview was conducted with the knowledge manager for verification and clarification purposes. The results revealed the respondents' positive attitudes regarding the use of social networking tools for knowledge sharing. The culture of knowledge sharing at IBM and the contribution that social networking tools makes within the company were uncovered. Findings disclosed that the online social networking tools were effective and that management at IBM encourages employees to make more and more use of the tools for knowledge sharing and knowledge creation. The results of this study demonstrate the effectiveness of online social networking tools and serve as encouragement to hesitant organisations to adopt social networking in their business practices.


Online social networking; Knowledge sharing; IBM; Competitive advantage; Innovation


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