The diversity of why: a meta-analytical study of usage motivation in enterprise social networks


In times of demographic change, skill shortage and disruptive innovations, organizational knowledge management and innovative capacity are the key to a company’s success. But how can knowledge be retained with fast staff turnover, global project-based work and parental leaves? Using enterprise social media to improve knowledge dissemination at work seems promising, when looking at the success of private social networking sites. In this article we combine ten different empirical studies which investigated different aspects of how user diversity influences the motivation to use social media at work. The emerging meta-study using the DerSimonian–Laird method (total sample size N = 522) analyzes different aspects of user diversity and their correlation with eight motives for SNS usage: information, importance, contact, self-presentation, autonomy, social comparison, and power and control. We found that that the individual achievement motivation correlates positively with the motives importance, power, information and self-presentation. The need for autonomy correlates with openness to new experiences and the need for social comparison with gender and neuroticism. From our findings, we derive practical implications for designing a social networking site for work which fulfills the users’ needs and functions along their motivation.

In: Universal Access in the Information Society, (17), 3, pp. 549–566