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Effect of online social networking on employee productivity

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The popularity of social networking sites is relatively recent and the effect of online social networking (OSN) on employee productivity has not received much scholarly attention. The reason most likely lies in the social nature of social networking sites and OSN, which is assumed to have a negative effect on employee productivity and not bear organisational benefit. This reseach investigated recent Internet developments as seen in the social Web and specifically investigated the effect of OSN on employee productivity and what some of the consequences would be if employees were allowed unrestricted access to these networks. The findings concerning the nature of employees' OSN activities, employees' attitude or perceptions with regard to OSN in the workplace and how OSN can contribute or affect the productivity of employees are discussed in this article. Some of the basic misconceptions regarding OSN are highlighted and it is concluded that this technology can be used to increase collaboration between individuals who share a common interest or goal. Increased collaboration will stimulate knowledge sharing between individuals, with the possible effect of increased productivity. However, the risks associated with OSN should be noted, such as loss of privacy, bandwidth and storage consumption, exposure to malware and lower employee productivity.
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Keywords: Communities of practice; Employee productivity; Online social networking; Social capital; Web 2.0

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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