Enterprise Social Networking (ESN) in the workplace: an investigation of factors affecting employees’ engagement with ESN in a Saudi oil company

Mohiya, Mohamed (2019) Enterprise Social Networking (ESN) in the workplace: an investigation of factors affecting employees’ engagement with ESN in a Saudi oil company. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.
Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b3348718


Enterprise Social Networking (ESN) is a relatively new phenomenon entering the workplace. In practice, employers increasingly implement ESNs in the workplace for improving communication, collaboration, and engagement (Hacker et al., 2017; Chin et al., 2015; Chui et al., 2012; Turban et al., 2011) and are employers predicted to invest in ESN around $4.8 billion by 2020 (Global Industry Analysts, 2015). Nevertheless, initial research suggests that employers struggle to achieve such aims of ESN due to employees’ disengagement with ESN (Cummings, 2017; Chin et al., 2015). While ESN has received extensive attention from both academics and practitioners over the past few years (Wehner et al., 2017), the work has mostly focused on managerial and technological perspectives, and thus far lacks a strong theoretical foundation. There is a dearth of research on employees’ issues in the ESN context that affect their engagement with ESN in the workplace. ESN was introduced to be used by employees and it is heavily reliant on their social interactions (Chui et al., 2013; Koch, et al., 2012). This research, unlike managerialist and technologist contributions, focuses on employees’ perspectives by identifying and investigating the factors that contribute to them becoming socially engaged with ESN. The research focuses on ESNs created by employers, and their translation of ESN will be evaluated based on employees’ reactions and experiences. Key concepts to emerge from the literature analysis, organisation support and trust, were brought together through the theoretical lens of Social Exchange Theory (SET) to explain the factors affecting employees’ interactions over ESN and their level of engagement.
The theoretical lens of Social Exchange Theory (SET) is valuable because it magnifies the importance of reciprocity, two-way engagement processes and the exchange of resources with ESN. In theory, SET recognizes employees as parties in ESN who are in interdependent reciprocal interactions with employers. Employees become engaged (cognitively, emotionally, and behaviourally) at different levels in response to the resources they receive from employers (Saks, 2006). So, when employees receive expected resources from their employer through ESN, they may feel more obliged to repay the employer with greater engagement and more effective system use. Based on SET, the reciprocal engagement with ESN is driven by employees’ cognitive and emotional states towards the business-driven technology processes, which results in social interaction (or the lack of it) with ESN.
Two triangulated sets of qualitative data were collected, namely: semi- structured interview and document analysis (cross-sectional and longitudinal). Twenty interviews were conducted with employees who have experience using ESN, and another eight with management. A four year document analysis covers 5332 submitted comments on ESN by first-hand employees, and ESN management between 2012 to 2016.
The findings show that employer translation of ESN’s intended purpose was designed in a way to be mostly controlled by employer, which consequently, found negative results for employees’ interactions with and through ESN. Furthermore, after the translation phase, the organisation was found to have provided insufficient resources, well short of what employees expected to receive via ESN. These resources/factors are tangible outcomes of ESN based on employees’ contributions; relevant ESN topics to employees; paying attention to employees’ questions and providing meaningful feedback in ESN; improving ESN’s functionality to make an easy-to-use application; leadership support through participation in ESN and encouraging employees to use ESN; and rewarding and recognising active ESN participants. Furthermore, a lack of provision in some of these resources/factors caused employees to distrust ESN.
The thesis contributes to advancing the theoretical and empirical knowledge. This research lies in the fact that it is one of the first studies to empirically identify and investigate employees related factors and evaluate them altogether based on their cognitive, emotional, and behavioural state to determine the varying degrees of significance on employees’ engagement with ESN. Furthermore, a number of theoretical contributions regarding SET’s process of reciprocity “black box” and resources were highlighted. The study fulfilled its aim in terms of gaining a better understanding of employees’ issues with ESN in the workplace and their patterns of engagement with these systems.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Enterprise Social Networking (ESN), management.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Supervisor's Name: Beirne, Professor Martin and Hurrell, Dr. Scott
Date of Award: 2019
Embargo Date: 25 April 2027
Depositing User: Mohamed Saad Mohiya
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-41186
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2019 08:22
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2023 11:30
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.41186
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/41186

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