Below is the literature review submitted today for my Understanding Media Studies course. The goal is not so much to deliver a thorough synthesis of the field since this is the first course in the first semester of the Masters program. The idea is to become comfortable with the purpose of a Review and leverage prior work done on the annotated bibliography completed earlier. Hopefully, the Review is somewhat related to an eventual Thesis so I've tried to pull together some thoughts on how to improve work practices in times of change (explained below). Some of the thoughts below were contained with the presentation delivered at E2.0 Santa Clara on Architecting the Building Blocks of Enterprise Social Networking. Next up: a mock thesis due early December.
Organizations today are faced with an extreme period of uncertainty due to economic, geo-political, societal, environmental, and technological shifts that have occurred over the past few years and continue today, with no foreseeable return of “normalcy” in sight. Management is often unable to communicate to its workforce the firm’s long-term business direction, or the type of transformation necessary to navigate through this period of uncertainty. Improving the way people can better share information, coordinate activities and collaborate during periods of change is a topic I’ve studied from a technology perspective many years. This Literature Review presents an opportunity to “connect the dots” in a new way, identify gaps, and outline areas where future research is needed. By doing so, the Review also helps define a course for my own contributions to the field in the future.
Improving Work Practices in Times of Change
Several resources used for this project were articles referenced when I was an Industry Analyst at a variety of firms (e.g., Gartner, Burton Group) researching topics related to collaboration, social networking, and “Enterprise 2.0”. Other sources are ones I have found and reviewed as part of this course. The Literature Review presents a synthesis of selected academic and non-academic works that provides a rational for subsequent research that will examine how organizations can leverage media and communication practices in ways that help employees adapt work practices in times of change (e.g., firm reorganization, job transition, merger and acquisition, reduction in force, or an unanticipated crisis).
The Review looks across three research domains (refer to Topic Map in Figure 1). A scan of reference sources (e.g., Google Scholar, JSTOR) located a significant body of work in each of the three areas:
- Publics, Media & Participatory Culture
- Social Network Sites
- Organizational Identity
Figure 1: Topic Map
Where two circles overlap with each other (e.g., Organizational Identity and Social Network Sites), a much lesser amount of focused research was found. In the area where all three domains intersect, no research to-date has yet been identified.
A brief summary of each domain is provided as context to the Review:
- Publics, Media & Participatory Culture: This research area looks at the rise of public opinion as a unique part of social life and how communications media has helped facilitate new forms of participation and collective sharing at a mass scale.
- Social Network Sites (SNS): This research area examines how people leverage a SNS for publically interacting with friends, cohorts, and site members to which a person has no association. How the concept of an SNS is being applied within the organization (i.e., “Enterprise 2.0”) is also examined.
- Organizational Identity (OI): This research area looks at how workers deal with issues of identifying with the organization, the influence of managerial relationships and peer networks, and how OI affects workers and the firm.