Research Paper (postgraduate), 2009
14 Pages, Grade: 1,5
1.1 Applied Terminology
2 Social Media
2.3 The Term Social Web
2.4 The Term Wiki
2.5 Collective Intelligence
3 Employee Development
4 Employee Development using Social Media Tools
4.1 Training using Wiki based Knowledge Management
4.1.1 Why Knowledge Management
4.1.2 Knowledge Management using Wikis
4.2 Development using Social Webs
4.2.1 Networking as a Key Attribute
4.2.2 Networking for Career Boosts
4.2.3 Networking using a Social Web
5 Issues and Limitations
5.1 Social Web Tools
5.2 Knowledge Management Tools
6 Appendix - Sources:
The backbone of a company is the body of its employees. It is a company’s body of employees striving for excellence that strengthens a company’s overall success. Today, the markets are getting harder; money is lost in large financial crises and the pressure on every company’s management staff is increasing. It is crucial, maybe more than ever, to have employees who are not only well trained but who can also act and develop quick, as well as easily adapt new business areas or departments within the company’s range. Intelligence, collaboration and excellent performance are needed – qualities which are enhanced by social web tools.
III. Executive Summary
This assignment summarizes the most important aspects of the topic employee development within the human resource management area, and shows whether the task employee development can be improved when performed with the support of social media tools. Social media tools are interactive, often web based tools which help individual employees to manage their knowledge, connect with each other, and communicate. This assignment will show the immensely positive impact of social media tools in specifically employee development and training processes.
1 T & D – Training and Development
2 HiPo – High Potential
3 HiPer – High Performer
4 KM – Knowledge Management
- Social Media: collective content created by any individual of that collective;
- Social Media tools: tools that help individuals collaborate, communicate, and access their collective content;
- Employee Development: in this paper, the term “employee development” is used for both an overall term for employee development, training, education, and ramp-up, as well as a special term indicating a focus on employee development toward a future job;
- Intranet: websites only accessible within a company’s network;
The term “Social Media Tools” describes websites and tools that rely on people, who are using them in an interactive manner. The content is not being provided by a super user, but by the normal users themselves. Everybody using a social media tool is part of the creation process. The usage change of internet based tools and websites from a read-only way to this interactive style has been labeled as the change from “Web 1.0” to “Web 2.0”. However, the term “Web 2.0” has never been completely accepted within business circles. As a matter of fact, the usage of the term is decreasing.1
Today the term “Social Media Tools” is used. L. Safko and D. Brake define three basic rules concerning social media:
1. Social Media is all about enabling conversations;
2. You cannot control conversations, but you can influence them;
3. Influence is the bedrock upon which all economically viable relationships are built;2
Toward the year 2000, internet businesses and offerings grew overwhelmingly fast. Unfortunately, as it soon turned out the enormous growth was not much more than a speculative bubble. The internet business collapsed dramatically in the year 2001. It was at that point when key players of the internet business like Tim O’Reilly and the company MediaLive International began to wonder whether the “dot-com collapse marked some kind of turning point for the web, such that a call to action like "Web 2.0" might make sense.”3 Since this turning point all online tools, which are used in an interactive, user-driven way, were labeled as “Web 2.0” applications. A large amount of consulting and internet companies worked hard to advertise the term “Web 2.0”, yet failed most likely because the term “Web 2.0” was too artificial. Today, the term “Social Media Tools” is of increasingly accepted as it simply describes the tool’s purpose better than the theoretical “Web 2.0” term.
Social webs are composed by individuals who are connected to each other. The connection can be used for different purposes such as personal and professional networking, information exchange, and updates. A social web should provide the following information about people:
- Identity: who are you? Depending on the purpose of the social web, different personal or professional aspects are of informative need.
- Reputation: what do people think you stand for? Within a social web, a user needs to create a personal or professional profile. Users try to create a preferred image of them that may differ from reality. The proper term for this phenomenon is “reputation management”.
- Presence: where are you? Technologies geared toward the increase of a user’s presence are currently growing on the internet market. A popular tool is called “Twitter” and is used for small status messages.
- Relationships: who are you connected with? Who do you trust? Connections between users describe personal or professional relationships. Most tools have the disadvantage in that they do not show the quality of the relationship.
- Conversations: what do you discuss with others? Conversations in social webs are performed in the same way as in direct inter-personal exchange. Forums and emails are the most important, and well-known media.
A wiki (the Hawaiian word for 'quick'), is a collaborative web site that allows virtually everybody to edit its pages. Usually, a website is created by a single person, team or company. Subsequently, the website’s content is accessible to internet users around the globe. A wiki website is not created by a single person, team or company. Its base construct is created and published to the internet. As a consequence, every user has the possibility and the right to create, change or delete articles, pictures, and movies within a wiki page. Bo Leuf and Ward Cunningham have published a book called “The Wiki Way - Quick Collaboration on the Web.” This title describes the phenomenon in a nutshell: Wikis are about collaboration. Users are working together on a central knowledge base, a base constituted by the user’s collective knowledge, ergo the steep increase of contemporary discussion concerning the term “collective intelligence”. 4
In James Surowiecki’s seminal book Swarm Intelligence – Why the Many are Smarter than the Few, he explores a deceptively simple idea with profound implications: large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant this smaller group is, that is in their heightened ability to solving problems, fostering innovation, and making correct decisions.5 In the context of wiki and the usage of social web tools, the increasing collaborative behavior of individuals is leading to a construct comparable to Surowiecki’s notion of a collective intelligence.
Underlying my belief in the productivity of social web tools for companies is the conviction that it influences fundamentally and constructively the way a company’s employees work within their professional circle. Or, as Malik has described, the advancement of employees should have the highest priority in people management tasks.6
1 Rusak, Sergey. http://www.progressiveadvertiser.com/web-2-0-becoming-an-outdated-term/ Accessed: 11\19\2009
2 L. Lafko / D. Brake (2009) The Social Media Bible, Tactics, Tools, and Strategies for Business (p.52)
3 Tim O’Reilly (2005) http://oreilly.com/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html Accessed: 11\19\2009
4 A. Ebersbach / M. Glaser / R. Heigl / A Warta (2008) Wiki, Kooperation im Web (p.448)
5 J. Surowiecki (2004) The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many are Smarter than the Few. (n/a)
6 F. Malik (2007) Management. (p.72)
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