Modern information and communication technologies, especially social media, have profoundly changed the way that people work together. Organizations must decide on the ways that they can use enterprise social media tools to support their internal and external processes. Tools such as Facebook, Jive, Slack, Socialcast, Periscope, Snapchat, Twitter, and WhatsApp are already used widely in organizations, yet many organizations struggle to use them effectively.
In this course, we study the influence that social media have on organizations from three different perspectives. First, we study the interplay between trends and innovations in society, IT (i.e., social media) and organizations. We provide an overview of the theoretical underpinnings of concepts such as Networked Work and the Networked Professional, analyze the unique characteristics of social media, and discuss the most important theories regarding the use of IT and social media in organizations.
Second, we study the way in which organizations incorporate these new technologies in the work environment, for purposes of communication and collaboration (e.g., teleconferencing, virtual teams), knowledge management and sharing (e.g., via Networks of Practice), and to harness employees’ creativity and expertise (e.g., via internal wiki’s or innovation platforms).
Third, we study how the modern-day professional (i.e., the knowledge worker), makes use of social media to support their everyday work and personal life. We discuss the consequences of telework (e.g., via cloud-computing) in both professional and private life, we investigate how employees keep in touch with and work together with colleagues (e.g., via WhatsApp or social network sites), and we study how professionals express their professional identity online (e.g., via LinkedIn or Twitter).
The course consists of one lecture and one work group per week, for 7 weeks. The lecture will provide the necessary theoretical background of that week’s topic. In the work group, the theory discussed in the first lecture is applied further. Each session will consist of a different assignment, case, or other task that may need to be prepared beforehand and which will be discussed in class. Moreover, during the course, students will work on a written assignment related to a specific course topic in small groups. This assignment will be a research proposal based on a topic relevant to the course. The progress of the assignment will be discussed in several of the sessions.
The final grade consists of the grades obtained for the written exam (60%), the group assignment (40%), and pass/fail assignments.
Please note that the course demands a high level of involvement. All work group sessions need to be prepared in advance and active participation is required. When entering the labor market, the course contents may be of use in the management of work life (e.g., managing one’s work-life balance, making the most of virtual collaborations with colleagues). In addition, those who will be involved in decisions concerning social media use in the context of work (e.g., those active in the social media industry or in policy work) may rely on the course contents to make better informed decisions. This course promises to be quite intensive, so be prepared to put in at least the 168 hours that stands for it. In return, however, you’ll have a fun course and you’ll learn a lot.
NB. The course is taught in English. Research reports, presentations, group discussions, and the exam must be in English as well.