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The Visibility Paradox - Escaping the Panopticon of Enterprise Social Networks

Graaf, Tobias LU and Gründler, Denis Christian LU (2019) BUSN49 20191
Department of Business Administration
Abstract
In this thesis, we present a new perspective on the visibility of communication in Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs). We present findings of a qualitative study on the implementation of such a tool in a fast-growing Swedish consultancy organization with a geographically dispersed workforce. Our key finding is that the visibility of communication can impede active contributions of employees, and hence, counteract visibility itself. We label this phenomenon the Visibility Paradox. The emerging theory suggests that the participation of organizational members is hindered by the subjective perception of surveillance, not by surveillance itself. Like in a Panopticon, people feel permanently observed in the ESN, even though they are not. However,... (More)
In this thesis, we present a new perspective on the visibility of communication in Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs). We present findings of a qualitative study on the implementation of such a tool in a fast-growing Swedish consultancy organization with a geographically dispersed workforce. Our key finding is that the visibility of communication can impede active contributions of employees, and hence, counteract visibility itself. We label this phenomenon the Visibility Paradox. The emerging theory suggests that the participation of organizational members is hindered by the subjective perception of surveillance, not by surveillance itself. Like in a Panopticon, people feel permanently observed in the ESN, even though they are not. However, in contrast to an architectural Panopticon, employees have the possibility to escape the perceived surveillance by not actively participating. We present indications showing that, due to this fear of being under close observation, employees feel insecure in exposing themselves in visible forums as there is a risk for being misinterpreted. This is due to two interrelated factors, nonverbal signals and the use of languages. (Less)
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author
Graaf, Tobias LU and Gründler, Denis Christian LU
supervisor
organization
course
BUSN49 20191
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
Visibility, workplace communication, Enterprise Social Networks, affordances, computer-mediated-communication, knowledge sharing
language
English
id
8987483
date added to LUP
2019-08-07 12:43:54
date last changed
2019-08-07 12:43:54
@misc{8987483,
  abstract     = {In this thesis, we present a new perspective on the visibility of communication in Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs). We present findings of a qualitative study on the implementation of such a tool in a fast-growing Swedish consultancy organization with a geographically dispersed workforce. Our key finding is that the visibility of communication can impede active contributions of employees, and hence, counteract visibility itself. We label this phenomenon the Visibility Paradox. The emerging theory suggests that the participation of organizational members is hindered by the subjective perception of surveillance, not by surveillance itself. Like in a Panopticon, people feel permanently observed in the ESN, even though they are not. However, in contrast to an architectural Panopticon, employees have the possibility to escape the perceived surveillance by not actively participating. We present indications showing that, due to this fear of being under close observation, employees feel insecure in exposing themselves in visible forums as there is a risk for being misinterpreted. This is due to two interrelated factors, nonverbal signals and the use of languages.},
  author       = {Graaf, Tobias and Gründler, Denis Christian},
  keyword      = {Visibility,workplace communication,Enterprise Social Networks,affordances,computer-mediated-communication,knowledge sharing},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The Visibility Paradox - Escaping the Panopticon of Enterprise Social Networks},
  year         = {2019},
}