Presentation on theme: "1 Web 2.0 for Work in Chinese Professional Service Firms Robert M Davison: City University of Hong Kong Carol XJ Ou: Tilburg University Maris G Martinsons:"— Presentation transcript:
1 Web 2.0 for Work in Chinese Professional Service Firms Robert M Davison: City University of Hong Kong Carol XJ Ou: Tilburg University Maris G Martinsons: City University of Hong Kong Angela Ying Zhao: Sichuan University Xiaoqing Hua: Renmin University Rong Du: Xidian University
2 Introduction & Background Web 2.0 is fast becoming ubiquitous Socially, it is almost universal At work, its presence is growing fast Through Web 2.0, each of us is “present and accessible to every other person in the world” (McLuhan, 1964). However, there is some scepticism Is Web 2.0 more than a vast chatting application?
3 Workplace Web 2.0 Contexts Internal Communication Knowledge sharing Coordination & Collaboration Problem Solving External Communication E-marketing PR CRM
4 Research Question But detailed investigations/analyses of how corporate Web 2.0 applications generate value are rare, so… “How do Chinese professional service firms engage with Web 2.0 technologies in order to create value at work?”
5 Communicative Ecology Framework CE is used in media and communication studies to analyse relationships among social groups, interactions, and media. Foth and Hearn, 2007 The CEF connects the communication media, people and the social environment (including guanxi), as well as the communication content into an ecological system. The CEF connects the communication media, people and the social environment (including guanxi), as well as the communication content into an ecological system.
6 Extended Communication Ecology Framework Individuals Social Environment Communication Media Content Guanxi Culture Roles & Identities Created by Louie HM Wong, 2014
7 Media Applications Multiple media are often used People find it more convenient to choose from a portfolio of media applications Different tools can be used in different contexts Some people like ‘richer’ tools with video and audio, others are happy with ‘poorer’ tools with only text. Tools can be used in combination – linearly or sequentially This is consistent with Media Synchronicity Theory (Dennis et al., 2008)
8 Web 2.0 Applications A wide variety of Web 2.0 tools are encountered in the workplace These include (but are not limited to) Microblogging – e.g. Twitter, Yammer, Weibo Instant Messengers – MSN, QQ, Skype, WangWang, G-Talk, WeChat, WhatsApp, LINE, etc. Wikis & other platforms, e.g. RTX All Web 2.0 applications are characterised by the role of users as content creators
9 Microblogging ‘Life updates’ among colleagues Zhao and Rosson, 2009 Team- task coordination Riemer et al., 2010 Enhancing brand awareness Jansen et al., 2009
10 IM IM is often used to compensate for the absence of FTF interaction for immediate questions, clarifications, coordination, scheduling Avrahami and Hudson, 2006 Use as a complementary communication channel for distributed teams Quan-Haase et al., 2005 Concerns about work interruption Nardi et al., 2000; Ou et al., 2010
11 Wikis A “collaboratively created and iteratively improved set of web pages” (Wagner 2004) Corporate KM initiatives Wagner, 2004; Wagner & Bolloju, 2005 Work Facilitation and Process Improvement in the Organisation Majchrzak et al., 2006 Knowledge Reuse for Organisational Improvement Majchrzak et al. forthcoming.
12 Web 2.0 Research in China Weibo for Viral Marketing in Vancl Zhang, 2011 Exploratory study of commercial potential of 22 Weibo sites Li et al., 2011 IM use, paradoxically, leads to both interruption and enhanced communication quality Ou et al. 2010; Chang & Ian, 2012
13 Corporate Concerns about Web 2.0 Use in the Workplace Fear of misuse, with an excess of chatting Nardi et al., 2000 Low levels of useful content Gunther et al., 2009 Risks of cyber vandalism, queries about quality control, fit with organisational culture Stocker and Tochtermann, 2009
14 Methods Qualitative Case-Based Approach Interviews and observation of key personnel at work Identify ways in which Web 2.0 applications are used – and how value is derived Identify operational and strategic issues/ problems that may complicate Web 2.0 use Identify opportunities for innovation in Web 2.0 use in the Chinese environment
15 Context Software Development Four Professional Service Firms in Software Development Beijing – Mercury, Beech Beijing – Mercury, Beech Chengdu – Silver Chengdu – Silver Xi’an - Parana Xi’an - Parana One hotel chain - Ravine PSFs tend to be characterised by high levels of knowledge intensity, a highly professionalised workforce and low levels of capital intensity Nordenflycht, 2010
16 Mercury - Beijing 12,000 employees; US-educated founders A restrictive IT culture Most applications are blocked to most people Senior people can use anything MSN & QQ are used for internal communications QQ is popular for large file transfer MSN is used for communication with industry experts, former colleagues, clients, external agencies
17 Mercury Weibo sees extensive use for marketing and external communication purposes But most followers are employees! Mercury is developing a short term strategic plan around Weibo for marketing In general, Mercury is rather conservative The corporate IT infrastructure is out of date They are not confident that they can fix security loopholes nor support the growing number of employees >> 40,000
18 Beech - Beijing 9,000 employees; local management More relaxed attitude towards IT Fewer restrictions E.g. RenRen and Kaixin are blocked, but others are OK They have an internally developed wiki that they use for customer support After sales service, online updates, e-marketing, discussion forums The wiki serves as a medium for communication with and between customers
19 Beech They have also developed an internal IM platform So few people use MSN or QQ, excecpt for external communications The internal platform also functions as a corporate directory It is mostly used for 1-1 communications, not group discussions Weibo is not much used except for internal social communication
20 Silver - Chengdu This is a state-owned software firm, with most work on long-term retainers Very relaxed IT culture Anything is allowed as long as it is work related There is an internal wiki, but it is little used by programmers It is used by HR staff as a repository for formal documents Weibo is primarily used for social purposes
21 Silver RTX is the most widely used platform RTX has IM functions, as well as an internal directory and group chats It has well developed archiving functions, so as to store conversations It acts as a form of corporate memory and enables asynchronous work RTX facilitates communication between the Chengdu HQ and all other sales offices The major limitation is that RTX needs PC/notebook support – not accessible by smart phones (except with wifi)
22 Parana - Xi’an 3,000 employees globally, 250 in China Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Chengdu Chicago headquartered, operating globally Strong corporate ethos to do good Quality software Sustainable business Socioeconomic justice Pro-diversity, pro-equality, green IT
23 Parana Most applications are Google related, though Skype is used extensively for video conferencing Corporate policy is very open Any application is OK if it helps Weibo is used at corporate and inividual levels, but for thought leadership, not for marketing Corporate wikis and blogs are also used to publish information ‘for the good of society’
Ravine Ravine is a global hotel management services company, operating over 100 hotels in China Ravine is a global hotel management services company, operating over 100 hotels in China Ravine blocks all access to Web 2.0 technologies Ravine blocks all access to Web 2.0 technologies “It is not part of Ravine’s corporate culture” “It is not part of Ravine’s corporate culture” Yet, many Ravine employees need to use Web 2.0 for their work Yet, many Ravine employees need to use Web 2.0 for their work Communication, problem solving, marketing, CRM Communication, problem solving, marketing, CRM And they do so with bricolage, finding creative solutions And they do so with bricolage, finding creative solutions 24
Ravine Some employees Some employees Use mobile devices secretly to access networks reserved for hotel guests Use mobile devices secretly to access networks reserved for hotel guests Persuade their managers to allow them to use private networks, including guest networks Persuade their managers to allow them to use private networks, including guest networks Some managers equally break the rules – so as to get work done Some managers equally break the rules – so as to get work done Using multiple devices for multiple purposes Using multiple devices for multiple purposes Corporate HQ seems unaware… Corporate HQ seems unaware… 25
Ravine VP-IT: “Security is paramount. No hotel has direct connectivity to the Internet. All hotel communications are routed via a firewall located in corporate headquarters. Further, all Ravine hotels operate standard software, globally. There is zero tolerance for malware and the risks that malware would bring”. FOM: “I am not allowed to use MSN at work, and my guanxi network has suffered: I have lost some of my contacts. It is harder to work effectively. Why not trust everyone to be sensible instead of being suspicious of everyone?”. PRM: “Without QQ I cannot work. I use QQ to contact many external parties, who don’t use other applications. They refuse to use email and it is very hard to get hold of them on the telephone. Therefore I must be able to use QQ”. MCM: “A one minute task, like sending an email with attachments to corporate clients, can take two to four hours”. MCM: “My job is to communicate, but there are no tools to accomplish this” 26
27 The Multiple Layers of the CEF Foth & Hearn (2007) suggest that the multiple layers of the CEF are intricately interwoven. We experienced this dynamic interweaving in each of the firms described above. Web 2.0 applications cross all four layers and enable a variety of organisational functions Most of the communication that takes place is horizontal
28 Extended Communication Ecology Framework Individuals Social Environment Communication Media Content Guanxi Culture Roles & Identities Created by Louie HM Wong, 2014
29 Web 2.0 & Organisational Communication Model: Simplified Version Use of Web 2.0 Media External Factors: Managerial Support Client Preference Organisational Communication (Internal and External; Vertical & Horizontal) Communication Outcomes
30 Vertical Communication Vertical communication – across levels in a hierarchy – is common in many organisations, with instructions and directives ‘from above’ being disseminated downwards. We found relatively little evidence of vertical communication – perhaps because most of the firms we studied exhibit more relaxed managerial control systems Some Web 2.0 liberated managers use IMs, wikis, blogs, but email is more common. Weibo can be used to control corporate image with followers (the public) and to engage in digital marketing
31 Proposition 1 Proposition 1: The use of Web 2.0 applications can enhance vertical communication in organizations (with internal and external stakeholders), thereby establishing and strengthening corporate norms.
32 Horizontal Communication Many different Web 2.0 applications can be used for different types of horizontal communication that involve Internal (peer-peer), e.g. problem solving, knowledge exchange, social interactions External (client-focused), such as e-sales & marketing, thought leadership, recruiting, brand management, after sales service.
33 Proposition 2 The use of Web 2.0 applications enhances horizontal communication for a variety of internal and external purposes related to Internal communication: problem solving, knowledge exchange, social relationship development External communication: e-sales & marketing, thought leadership, recruiting, brand management, after sales service.
34 The Contingent Role of Organizational and External Factors A variety of external factors also influence communication practices Managerial scepticism Managerial concern for the potential for security breaches Corporate restrictions, requirements and culture Client preferences
35 Proposition 3 The effects of Web 2.0 applications on enhancing vertical and horizontal communication are contingent on a) management support and b) partner’s medium use, suggesting its moderating role in Web 2.0- supported communication processes.
36 Communication Outcomes: Vertical Corporate norms can be communicated effectively through technology Corporate norms can be communicated effectively through technology Over time, these norms coalesce into a corporate culture Over time, these norms coalesce into a corporate culture We saw evidence in particular of email, blogs and instant messengers We saw evidence in particular of email, blogs and instant messengers The outcomes include: corporate performance and consistency, team satisfaction and efficacy, individual productivity and efficacy The outcomes include: corporate performance and consistency, team satisfaction and efficacy, individual productivity and efficacy
37 Proposition 4 The vertical communication of corporate norms exerts a positive influence on work-related processes at the corporate, team and individual levels
38 Communication Outcomes: Horizontal A variety of work processes are facilitated by horizontal communication These work processes operate at individual (e.g. knowledge exchange), team (e.g. client interactions) and corporate (e.g. e-marketing) levels Outcomes cover productivity, satisfaction, profit and assurance of corporate values
39 Proposition 5 The engagement in such horizontal communication activities as knowledge exchange, digital marketing and social relationship building will exert a positive influence on work-related processes at the corporate, team and individual levels.
40 Web 2.0 & Organisational Communication Model: Detailed Version Use of Web 2.0 Media: IM, μblogs, Wikis Vertical Communication: Establish and Maintain Corporate Norms Horizontal Communication: Knowledge exchange; e- Marketing; Social Relationships; Problem Solving; Thought Leadership Communication Outcomes: Individual, Team, Organization Organisational and External Factors: Mgt Support; Medium Choices P1 P2 P3 P4 P5
Study 2 – A Simplified Model 41 The Use of Web 2.0 Applications for Work Horizontal Communication Information Exchange Social Relationship Building Communication Performance Individual Team Organization Vertical Communication Company Norms H1 H2 H3 H4
Hypotheses H1: The use of Web 2.0 technology at work can enhance vertical communication, specifically for establishing company norms, across an organization. H1: The use of Web 2.0 technology at work can enhance vertical communication, specifically for establishing company norms, across an organization. H2: The use of Web 2.0 technology at work can enhance horizontal communication, including information sharing and social relationship building, across an organization. H2: The use of Web 2.0 technology at work can enhance horizontal communication, including information sharing and social relationship building, across an organization. H3: Vertical communication that is undertaken in order to support company norms contributes to individual performance (H3a), team performance (H3b) and organizational performance (H3c). H3: Vertical communication that is undertaken in order to support company norms contributes to individual performance (H3a), team performance (H3b) and organizational performance (H3c). H4: Horizontal communication, covering information exchange and social relationship building, contributes to individual performance (H4a), team performance (H4b) and organizational performance (H4c). H4: Horizontal communication, covering information exchange and social relationship building, contributes to individual performance (H4a), team performance (H4b) and organizational performance (H4c). 42
Methods We surveyed 3000 employees (from a 3 rd party database) We surveyed 3000 employees (from a 3 rd party database) 30RMB offered as an incentive 30RMB offered as an incentive 2873 people successfully contacted, 253 replies received (9%), 179 valid replies (6%) after cleaning 2873 people successfully contacted, 253 replies received (9%), 179 valid replies (6%) after cleaning No sig diff between early and late responders No sig diff between early and late responders We used existing items where possible, modified for the context We used existing items where possible, modified for the context SPSS + Partial Least Squares SPSS + Partial Least Squares 43
45 Discussion Questions What are the technological barriers to and enablers of vertical and horizontal communication? What are the technological barriers to and enablers of vertical and horizontal communication? How to balance the conflict between the need for Management Support and Partner Preference for a particular medium? How to balance the conflict between the need for Management Support and Partner Preference for a particular medium? What kind of investments are needed for Web 2.0 to add value at work? How can the ROI be measured? What kind of investments are needed for Web 2.0 to add value at work? How can the ROI be measured? What are the advantages of the CEF as an organising/analytical tool? How could the CEF be improved What are the advantages of the CEF as an organising/analytical tool? How could the CEF be improved
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