With the modernization of the Global network and the rise of multinational organizations saw the need for competition to prove one as the most reliable and the best. To add further advantages to these Multinational companies, social media plays a vital role in the disseminating of the promotion and the information as well as knowledge sharing, related to these MNCs. Social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn has proven themselves as one of the essential tools of knowledge gathering and management (Fuchs 2017).
This essay deals with the importance of the social networking and the social platforms in terms of the knowledge management, knowledge sharing, building social capital along with supporting innovations, aiding in the solving of problems, the risk and the benefits of adopting such methodologies in managing MNCs and Small or Medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
This essay helps in understanding and analyzing the risks and the benefits of using social media as well as it contribution in the MNCs and the SMEs.
Social Media and Knowledge Management
In the modernized world, many MNCs have begun the use of Social media as one of the vital strategic tools to support and enable the participation as well as the purpose of knowledge sharing with an objective of strategically expanding the business and its operations (Chua, Alton, and Snehasish 2013). The main concepts of the SECI model, which are fundamental in the management of knowledge, are Socializing and Combination (Mariussen, ?ge and Seija 2013). In this context it can be explained that the social media enables the employees to use the social media to help them enhance their internal knowledge, understand the relationship between the significance and the deficits related to the knowledge (Razmerita et al. 2014). Social media possesses the potential that facilitates the implicit knowledge sharing that can be useful in understanding and manipulating the business models. Top Singaporean MNCs like NDIVIA and SingTel encourages the use of Social media for the purpose of Knowledge management.
Social Media and Knowledge Sharing
Knowledge is an essential element of an organization’s resources, which is frequently considered as one of the most vital assets that a firm possesses. Knowledge has been consistently considered as the foundation of a firm’s competitive advantage and one of the prime drivers of the firm’s value in the Global network (Couldry 2012).
Social media supplies and contributes different types of knowledge as well the overall quality of the knowledge base which can directly or indirectly affect and impact the different categories of the knowledge such as structural knowledge, relational and social capital.
The three important characteristics of social media is to enhance or stimulate the learning process. The first characteristic of social media is to help provide the employees in a MNC the opportunities to create their own material or content and share them freely with others. Social media ensures the accessibility of implicit knowledge that can be helpful in the learning process. Social media encourages the established relationships, since strong relationships are important in making the tacit knowledge explicit and weak relationships gives the opportunity to investigate, gather new knowledge and use them. Social media offers the opportunity for a face-to-face interaction that can be synchronized simultaneously with the exchange of learning or knowledge between individuals.
In a manner, it can be considered that there is a reciprocal relation between the purpose and the use of social media as well as the degree of knowledge sharing as well as tacit learning within the organization. It can be considered that if many people in an MNC share their knowledge, they will be more inclined to share this knowledge through social media and portals than employees who have little knowledge sharing. Employees who use the social media more often to accomplish their learning objectives and gathering knowledge are more likely to share knowledge through the same medium, in general.
The active sharing of knowledge does not only depend on the employees or the individual but it depends on the organization itself as well. In a sense, multinational companies which establishes that their learning no more longer corresponds to the challenges that the organizational culture or workplace environment offers, it adopts the method of reorientation of the organizational culture and the structure to facilitate the sharing of the knowledge to help on better learning and corresponding to the challenges in a new manner. Multinational companies in the current scenario allows the employees a convenient and affordable medium of communication to keep the flowing of the ideas and knowledge (Treem, Jeffrey and Paul 2013)
MNCS like ORACLE and KINDLE uses the entire SECI model for the purpose of knowledge sharing, which involves the Socializing, Externalization, Combination and the Internalization (refer to Appendix 1). This model is usually followed in the knowledge creation or gathering process. In terms of organization performance, this model involves the gathering of relevant knowledge from the external source, externalization focus on the action of linking the knowledge and creating new knowledge. The combination, which refers to the process of transforming the knowledge by gathering of the knowledge to give it a form of a constructive learning and the internalization, refers to the application of the knowledge in practical sphere, which in turn broadens the spiral of the knowledge creation (Mariussen, ?ge and Seija 2013).
Social Media and Building Social Capital
In the increasingly competitive world, the essence of knowledge gathering and building social capital ensures the multinational organizations to achieve higher competitive advantages and thrive well in the market. The competition comes in form of various ways, which could be either in form of introducing a new piece of technology or investment in the research and the development (Leftheriotis and Michail 2014).
Social capital is referred to the functions of network relationships between an individual and one or more social interaction groups. In terms of sociology, social capital is more commonly refers to the capability of the group members to get the things done, whether be it raising funds for a charity, selling some new product or hiring a new member for the organization. In terms of building the social capital trust and generalized helping along with the social norms builds up the social capital.
Within the MNCs, the social capital is considered as the belonging to the individuals or small groups who utilize this capital in order to accomplish their objectives. For instance, employees who help in promoting the innovations within a company are considered to accomplish this task through effective utilization of social capital.
With reference to the social capital, the MNCs encourages its employees to acquire social capital through actions within the organization, such as supporting members of the organization, providing valuable resources to the organization, such as information or time, or through building friendships within the group which could be influential in solving complicated issues and concerns.
Major Multinational Corporations like MEC and Sky scanner, uses the socializing, combination and the internalization concepts of the SECI model that in turn utilizes the social media and other online platforms to generate the social capital. This is achieved by the operation of social and other business blogs that provide important information or tools generously to the targeted community, through the engagement or other activities that are considered benefiting for the community (Mariussen, ?ge and Seija 2013).. MNCs use this social capital to help spread their message such as through ReTweets, Likes and Shares that create a positive outlook of their brand that ultimately influences the society encouraging them to go for the products which eventually amplifies the sales and the business (Scott 2015).
Social Media and Supporting Innovation
The concept of Knowledge Management has earned more prominence in the recent years with the emergence of the global market (Arukhe 2014). Companies that adopt KM at an early stage are advantaged with an edge over other companies that are late.
However, implementing KM is not enough to guarantee a company’s success. Organizations must integrate a set of abilities to capitalize on the use of knowledge, which in turn can be influenced to create new knowledge (Panahi et al. 2012). One of the best ways to share and manage knowledge could be the integration of the SECI model of knowledge creation introduced by Nonaka and Takeuchi in 1995 (Appendix 1). It comprises four phase of knowledge creation.
Multinational companies are the leading entities that promote technological innovation. These companies dominate the global market and innovation in particular. The bulk of their investment is targeted on research and development for technological innovation. The social media thus becomes a handy tool for MNCs to enhance innovation and expand business.
The social media is the emerging technology that creates its own content, collectively editing, sharing and arranging information and allowing peer-to-peer deliberations. It is in these features of vigor and coetaneous content that perfectly suits knowledge sharing. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and many more sites are there that boast of a huge number of followers (Scuotto et al. 2017). These followers are the potential customers of the MNCs that can be targeted. It has been revealed through various studies and surveys that MNCs using social media have a higher rate of success than those not using it. It is however, also true that almost every company is utilizing the potential of the social media to expand business. The point of difference between the success and failure is the way social media is managed.
A great presence of multinational companies is there in Singapore that has established themselves in the market with the use of social media ("How Singapore Firms Use Social Media To Boost Productivity" 2017). Ego Pharmaceuticals and Ernst Singapore for example, are such companies that have earned good success by the smart use of social media to support and promote innovation.
Social Media and Aiding Problem Solving
A company goes through various problems that include legal, ethical or other such problems. Blending the SECI model and social media can assist the companies in managing their problems in an easy and quick manner.
The first phase of the model is socialization, which refers to the creation of tacit or implicit knowledge through direct sharing of experience. In the context of multinational companies, socialization may refer to the general information received through social networking platforms where numerous users post their opinions (Sashi 2012). This information or knowledge is then passed on to the second phase, which is externalization. Here, the managers of the companies process the implicit knowledge gather further knowledge from external sources such as other companies through Facebook forums or Twitter hash tags to know how those companies tackle with problems and try to combine it with the implicit knowledge thus forming a new knowledge. In the third phase, which is combination, companies organize the implicit and explicit knowledge systematically and implement it on an experimental level to analyze if it is feasible to solve problems. Lastly, in the internalization phase, MNCs learn about the strategies and plans proposed by the internal elements that is the employees, to solve the problem facing them (Treem, Jeffrey and Leonardi et al. 2013). Through social groups on apps like WhatsApp or on company groups formed on Facebook, employees together discuss the possible reasons and causes of the problem, examine the implicit and explicit knowledge and then propose a concrete solution.
Instances from Singapore’s stiff market competition and the way certain companies made use of the social media to its full potential prove the effectiveness of the medium. Wacoal Singapore, a lingerie company faced problems when in 2012, the government introduced stricter laws related to lingerie ads in public places. The company launched a campaign on Facebook for iPant, one of its many products that offered good deals to users who clicked through ads on Facebook. This resulted in the rise of fans and customers of the company and that too at a low cost.
Another company used similar tactics to resolve issues related to the problem of stiff competition in the market. Home-Fix Singapore, a home solution provider reinvented its plan to go ahead in the race and created a Facebook page with maximized contents. The page had information about simple tricks through which customers can easily maintain their homes without expending heavily on repairs. The result was that the company extended its business and opened Home-fix Experience Center that held workshops and activities related to home solutions ("How Singapore Firms Use Social Media To Boost Productivity" 2017).
Risks and Benefits of Social Media: Risks
Social media are vulnerable to hacking and employees of any company can be hacked because of their trust on members of a particular group on social media. Fraudulent activities also pose a threat to the use of social media for business
Abiding by the privacy laws, ownership of the content, intellectual assets violation and unlawful activities like harassment, denigration and discrimination are some of the legal risks that social media pose to companies ("Forbes Welcome" 2017).
Other risks include data collection, operational risks, reputational risks, cost related risks and so on.
Companies nowadays make use of the social media platform to increase brand value. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn together have users that could add up to the formation of a country. Promoting brands in these platforms thus inevitably enhances recognition ("Forbes Welcome" 2017).
Posting an ad or an update in social platform requires minimum cost but ensures maximum effectiveness.
The humanization element is another significant advantage of using social media. Brands in social media act like people and interact directly with the customers.
Social media also increases brand loyalty as more people recognize the brand and share it with others.
It can be recommended that MNCs should keep in mind, the diversity of a region where they plan to start and expand their business. They should analyze both aspects of the social media and implement it in a way that ensures positive results. Use of social media keeping mind the concept of SECI to improve not only company-consumer relationship but also boost employee performance must be given prominence.
It can also be suggested that the MNCs should target the audience for brand promotion by identifying the social media platform. The channel of communication must also be recognized to expand business in multifarious regions.
Thus, it is evident from the discussion above that it is crucial for the multinational companies to accept social media tactics for both internal and external communication. Knowledge sharing has never been as dynamic as it has become in the age of virtual socialization. Multinational companies in today’s world have the best opportunity to use this platform and connect with people beyond cultures and beyond boundaries.
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