Enterprise Social Networks for Knowledge Sharing: Lessons from a Medium‑Sized Company


  • Enrico Scarso
  • Ettore Bolisani


Enterprise Social Networks; Yammer; Knowledge Management; Survey; SME; Italy


The use of Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs) as knowledge management tools has been widely investigated in case of big organizations, while there is little knowledge about advantages and possible implementation problems in small and medium‑sized enterprises. To fill this gap, the paper analyses the case of adoption and use of the Yammer platform by a medium‑sized Italian company. Yammer is an ESN service platform owned by Microsoft which includes several Web 2.0 features and whose interface resembles a typical public social network like Facebook. The research applied a quantitative approach: a questionnaire was submitted to all users of the ESN platform in the company between January and February 2017, with a response rate of 41%. The study contributes to the literature on social media as KM tools, by providing insights into the possible barriers that can undermine the success of ESN platforms as KM tools in the context of medium‑sized enterprises. Specifically, it highlights that two factors (intrinsically connected to the size of the company) are particularly crucial: the limited number of users, and a sort of naïve (“me‑too”) implementation strategy. An important lesson is that the success of ESNs in medium‑sized enterprise is influenced by personal (individual) and organizational factors, even more than technical ones. Especially, the need to reach a minimum critical mass of users can be a challenge. A limitation of the study is that it investigated only one company operating in a sector with specific knowledge needs and capabilities.



1 Jan 2020