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Knowledge Sharing Using Social Media in the Workplace

Knowledge sharing is of vital importance for the success of organizations. People are not always successful in locating information and experts, exchanging knowledge with others outside their close circle, and sharing information that is tacit and difficult to communicate. Organizations tried building IT-systems and offering rewards to improve knowledge sharing, which was mostly in vain. In this thesis it is proposed that social media use might provide answers. Research was done within an institute for higher education in the Netherlands. The participants filled in a survey electronically. The results have showed that people weigh out costs and benefits when they decide to engage in social media use or not. The contacts with co-workers and updates in their professional social network provided a bridge to find experts and information. Social media contacts with professionals outside the organization were useful when sharing knowledge with weak ties that can provide new ideas. Sharing professional content on social media turned out to be related to sharing tacit knowledge. This, in turn, related to a better performance as a knowledge worker; just like finding information and experts did. The “digital natives” were the better social media users, while the “Babyboomers” excelled as knowledge workers. In the practical implications it is advised that organizations let the generation groups learn from each other.

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