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IBM Cambridge Research Center

  Technical Report: Understanding the Benefits of Social Networking within the Workplace

Understanding the Benefits of Social Networking within the Workplace

Technical Report #:09-13
Author(s): Joan Dimicco, Werner Geyer, Casey Dugan


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Research thus far on social network sites has been focused on four main aspects: privacy issues [1, 13], self presentation [5, 12, 18], network analysis [14], and social capital benefits [9, 16]. As Boyd and Ellison summarize [3]: “Although exceptions exist, the available research suggests that most social network sites primarily support pre-existing social relations.”
The emergence of specialized social network sites targeted towards specific user groups, such as professionals [19], indicates that social networking can provide value to many types of users, and potentially different types of value. The focus of our research is on understanding how and why professionals inside of a company use an internal social networking site, and the benefits of their use. Given the popularity of social networking sites on the Internet for connecting, meeting and sharing [3], it is expected that employees will use a company-sponsored tool; little is known how they will use it or what value they will derive from it.

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