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Social Network Effects on Productivity and Job Security: Evidence from the Adoption of a Social Networking Tool


  • Lynn Wu

    () (The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)


By studying the change in employees' network positions before and after the introduction of a social networking tool, I find that information-rich networks (low in cohesion and rich in structural holes), enabled by social media, have a positive effect on various work outcomes. Contrary to the notion that network positions are difficult to alter, I show that social media can induce a change in network structure, one from which individuals can derive economic benefits. In addition, I consider two intermediate mechanisms by which an information-rich network is theorized to improve work performance---information diversity and social communication---and quantify their effects on productivity and job security. Analysis shows that productivity, as measured by billable revenue, is more associated with information diversity than with social communication. However, the opposite is true for job security. Social communication is more correlated with reduced layoff risks than with information diversity. This, in turn, suggests that information-rich networks enabled through the use of social media can drive both work performance and job security, but that there is a trade-off between engaging in social communication and gathering diverse information.

Suggested Citation

  • Lynn Wu, 2013. "Social Network Effects on Productivity and Job Security: Evidence from the Adoption of a Social Networking Tool," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 24(1), pages 30-51, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:orisre:v:24:y:2013:i:1:p:30-51

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Wu, Fang & Huberman, Bernardo A. & Adamic, Lada A. & Tyler, Joshua R., 2004. "Information flow in social groups," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 337(1), pages 327-335.
    2. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2009. "Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist's Companion," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 8769, December.
    3. Deborah Gladstein Ancona & David F. Caldwell, 1992. "Demography and Design: Predictors of New Product Team Performance," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 3(3), pages 321-341, August.
    4. Stephen P. Borgatti & Rob Cross, 2003. "A Relational View of Information Seeking and Learning in Social Networks," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(4), pages 432-445, April.
    5. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks in the Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants in the U. S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599.
    6. Ray Reagans & Ezra W. Zuckerman, 2001. "Networks, Diversity, and Productivity: The Social Capital of Corporate R&D Teams," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 12(4), pages 502-517, August.
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    1. repec:spr:elcore:v:18:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10660-017-9263-x is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Gert-Jan Vreede & Pedro Antunes & Julita Vassileva & Marco Aurélio Gerosa & Kewen Wu, 2016. "Collaboration technology in teams and organizations: Introduction to the special issue," Information Systems Frontiers, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 1-6, February.
    3. repec:eee:tefoso:v:143:y:2019:i:c:p:321-335 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:proeco:v:191:y:2017:i:c:p:97-112 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Haoyuan Liu & Wen Wen & Andrew B. Whinston, 2018. "Peer influence in the workplace: Evidence from an enterprise digital platform," Working Papers 18-08, NET Institute.
    6. Sinan Aral & Chrysanthos Dellarocas & David Godes, 2013. "Introduction to the Special Issue ---Social Media and Business Transformation: A Framework for Research," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 24(1), pages 3-13, March.
    7. Natalia Levina & Manuel Arriaga, 2014. "Distinction and Status Production on User-Generated Content Platforms: Using Bourdieu’s Theory of Cultural Production to Understand Social Dynamics in Online Fields," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 25(3), pages 468-488, September.
    8. repec:spr:infosf:v:20:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s10796-017-9810-y is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:eee:jbrese:v:94:y:2019:i:c:p:264-272 is not listed on IDEAS


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