Organisations have begun to use social media, a relatively recent phenomena, to enable participation and knowledge sharing with the aim of improving business operations. In this context, social media can potentially support a range of knowledge management (KM) practices.
Despite a number of researchers recognizing the importance of social media to KM, there are currently few studies in this regard. A recent paper1 sets out to help address this situation by establishing the current body of knowledge in regard to the impact of social media on KM.
The authors conducted a systematic review of peer-reviewed academic papers. From a keyword search, 18 relevant papers were identified, from which data was extracted and synthesized. The oldest published paper was from 2012, reflecting the very recent emergence of this area of research.
The main findings were summarized under three themes:
- Social media supports knowledge management practices
- Social media supports the resource “knowledge”
- Social media helps in overcoming knowledge management barriers.
Social media supports knowledge management practices
- In virtual communities, knowledge intervention by an expert can ensure knowledge creation and knowledge dissemination on a continuous basis.
- Employees’ intentions to use social media to enhance internal knowledge exchange are effected by the interplay between the importance and deficits concerning knowledge exchange, the perceived usefulness of social media for knowledge exchange, and the experience with social media use on the success of such an activity.
- The new types of behavior (e.g. authoring, experimentation) that are possible thanks to new IT-based communication and are enabled by social media can support knowledge creation in organizations.
- Certain social media tools support the management of different types of knowledge (individual and collective knowledge), and there is the possibility of integrating a social collaborative dimension in these activities.
- Social media has potential for facilitating tacit knowledge sharing, which is considered essential in new business models.
- Starbucks uses social media for customer knowledge management.
Social media supports the resource “knowledge”
- Social media contributes to different types of knowledge as well the overall quality of the knowledge base.
- Social media can (directly and indirectly) affect different types of knowledge such as structural knowledge, relational capital and social capital.
- Social media can make communication visible, which in turn can help organizations in their meta-knowledge.
Social media helps in overcoming knowledge management barriers
- Social media can facilitate the easing of knowledge problems through providing necessary information, locating knowledgeable people, providing a virtual context, harnessing collective wisdom, and building trust.
- The interactive features of social media tools can be used to overcome national culture as a barrier to KM within organizations.
- Aisenberg Ferenhof, H., Durst, S., & Hesamamiri, R. (2016). The impact of social media on knowledge management. In 11th International Forum on Knowledge Asset Dynamics (IFKAD)-Dresden 15-17 June 2016. Institute of Knowledge Asset Management (IKAM). ↩
Also published on Medium.