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ERIC Number: ED556139
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 142
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3035-6465-9
An Exploratory Examination of Social Media, Informal Learning, and Communities of Practice in the Workplace
Dolan, John J.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The Pennsylvania State University
In organizations of any size, communication, collaboration and informal learning among employees can be critical contributors to meeting goals and succeeding in the marketplace (Mason & Lefrere, 2003). When done well, over time these groups of employees form loose bonds and evolve into communities of practice that promote shared learning and increased understanding among the membership. Unfortunately, achieving this state can be a challenge for many organizations. Differing communication styles and practices, isolated business functions, and even geographic disbursement can lead to a disconnected workplace, and have an impact on the organizational members' ability to all work toward the same goal, with the same information at their disposal. Innovations in communication over time have contributed to increased employee engagement, and with the advent of Web 2.0 technologies, there are even more tools that allow for the exchange of ideas and knowledge sharing between co-workers in organizations. This research examined how Web 2.0 technologies, specifically social networking sites, are used in an organizational setting to contribute to workplace learning and build engagement and community among employees. Due to the size of the sample, statistically significant inferences were not able to be made. However, there was a pattern of evidence that indicated that social networking sites were contributing factors in informal learning within an organization, and that they were useful in building networks and engagement among employees, especially those with whom the respondents did not work directly or in close proximity, which illustrate evidence of the existence of a community of practice. Several examples of learning were identified through the open-ended questions included in a survey, through one-on-one interviews, and through analysis of posts made on social media. While several criteria were met, it does not appear that the use of social networking sites fulfills all of the requirements of the definition of a community of practice for this particular audience. Still, it is clear that the use of these tools contributes to greater communication and community in the workplace. Additional study in the field would be beneficial using different audiences in order to ascertain any applicability to a broader spectrum. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A