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Social Media Changing the Competitive Intelligence Process: Elicitation of Employees’ Competitive Knowledge

Research output: Book/ReportDoctoral thesisMonograph

Details

Original languageEnglish
PublisherTampere University of Technology
Number of pages201
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-15-2692-3
ISBN (Print)978-952-15-2686-2
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2011
Publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)

Publication series

NameTampere University of Technology. Publication
PublisherTampere University of Technology
Volume1001
ISSN (Print)1459-2045

Abstract

Competitive intelligence process aims to provide actionable information about the external business environment to back up decision-making in companies. The affects that the rise of social media may have on competitive intelligence is a topic of interest to both practice and theory. The main objectives of this dissertation are to understand how social media changes the competitive intelligence process and how can it enhance the elicitation of employees’ competitive knowledge. The research questions are studied using both theoretical and empirical research approach. Empirical study consists of three data sets complementing each other, adopting several methods and perspectives. The results of the dissertation suggest that social media has an effect on companies’ information environment, as the widespread use of social media produces more volume and more versatile information than before. In the competitive intelligence context this influences information gathering especially: social media for its part increases the available information sources, but it also offers technologies to automate some parts of information gathering and processing. In addition, use of suitable social media tools can have affects on the elicitation of employees’ competitive knowledge and making competitive knowledge more visible in a company. Social media provides an opportunity to implement the competitive intelligence process as participative and collaborative and engaging employees in the process. The role of the employees shifts to that of more active participants shaping the collaborative understanding by contributing their competitive knowledge to the process as well as better benefiting more from others’ competitive knowledge. However, the success of using social media in better utilising and sharing employees’ competitive knowledge relies heavily on utility, perceived usefulness and affordance of the tools as well as how motivated the employees are to use it for knowledge sharing. The main motivating factors and barriers are in line with those regarding general knowledge sharing. The main contributions include increasing knowledge on the connection between social media and competitive intelligence: how the emergence of social media affects carrying out the competitive intelligence process and especially sharing of employees’ competitive knowledge. In addition, the research reveals the motivational factors and barriers related to employees’ willingness to use social media for sharing competitive knowledge. The findings also have practical managerial implications for companies planning to adopt social media for competitive knowledge sharing, as they provide means for them to prepare the conditions for successful utilisation and active employee participation.

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