An affordance perspective of enterprise social media and organizational socialization

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In response to the challenge of socializing new IT employees, some IT departments are exploring the incorporation of enterprise social media (hereinafter ESM) as an informal organizational socialization tool. Because this is a relatively new phenomenon, little is known about how ESM facilitate employee socialization. In order to contribute to our understanding of how ESM affects employee socialization, this paper invokes a case study to explore how one organization's implementation of an ESM for its IT new hire program influenced the socialization process and outcomes. To delve deeply into how the ESM influences socialization, we draw upon technology affordance theory to uncover the various first and second-order affordances actualized by different actor groups and the various outcomes resulting from the affordances. We then identify five generative mechanisms – bureaucracy circumvention, executive perspective, personal development, name recognition, and morale booster – that explain how the actualization of different strands of affordances by various groups of users produces eight different outcomes. Our results provide insights into the different affordances made possible by ESM in the context of a new hire socialization program and how these affordances have repercussions beyond those experienced by the individuals using the ESM. The results have important implications for new hire socialization and technology affordance research.




Leidner, D. E., Gonzalez, E., & Koch, H. (2018). An affordance perspective of enterprise social media and organizational socialization. Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 27(2), 117–138.

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