Table of Contents:
The success of social media on the internet has led many companies to increasingly use social media tools or at least to think about their implementation. The expected improvement in communication and collaboration between employees on the one hand and knowledge management on the other hand let managers hope for a significant economic benefit. Although there are some examples of successful enterprise social media (ESM) implementations and more than 90% of Fortune 500 companies have introduced or plan to introduce ESM, 80% of ESM projects miss the initially defined business objectives. While the decision to procure the software is made centrally, the success depends on the active participation of employees. The statistics mentioned above show that the degree of implementation and the success of ESM are not necessarily correlated. Unlike organic growth, as could be observed in social media applications on the Internet in recent years (e.g., Facebook), the utilization rate of internal ESM is often too low to ensure the survival of the community. This reinforces the view that passive roll-out strategies, which rely on a comparable organic growth in ESM, are doomed to failure. Instead, analyzes must be deployed to identify the appropriate tool for a specific application in advance. Furthermore, strategies have to be developed to ensure that employees interact using the new applications.
Since expenditures on information technology with a low utilization rate cannot be justified, the dissertation consisting of eight essays helps to shed light on various aspects of ESM use. Thereby, it develops a closer and better understanding of the topic and, consequently, helps companies to implement ESM more effective and efficient. The analysis of factors influencing different usage types of ESM, the optimization of enterprise search algorithms, and the reinterpretation of online product ratings can help to explain the changes in the internal and external communication, collaboration and knowledge management triggered by the use of ESM. The theoretical and practical implications which arise specifically from the individual essays are explained in the relevant sections of the respective papers.