Using enterprise social media for knowledge sharing in bureaucratic settings : a case study on how power and political activities influence sensemaking processes
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- Master of Science 
In response to the call for more research on intra-organizational usage of enterprise social media, and the insufficient addressing of how power effect knowledge sharing in organizational life, this thesis adopts a sensemakingapproach in order to capture power-dynamics that influence deployment of enterprise social media-technology. The aim of the thesis is to explore how power and political activities influence employee’s sensemaking processes for how to utilize enterprise social media as an arena for knowledge sharing. Based on a case study consisting of eight in-depth interviews conducted in a Norwegian public sector organization, power and political activities are examined through (1) managerial activities and (2) coworker influences. The authors find that vision and goal setting, implementation and training issues, and top management and middle management’s presence and engagement (or lack thereof) lead to divergent sensemaking accounts for whether enterprise social media as a knowledge sharing arena is accepted or resisted. This leads to a negotiation where employees mainly adapt the system to fit with established practices. It is found that a lack of trust in coworkers lead to people withholding contributions, and that discouraging activities from a minority of employees augments interpretations of enterprise social media as an unsafe and down-prioritized knowledge sharing arena – a topic that warrants further investigation. Lastly, it is found that a perceived lack of need to expand social networks in order to solve tasks reduce enterprise social media’s role as a knowledge sharing arena. Accordingly, this thesis provides insights into the largely unexplored area of how enterprise social media tools can facilitate for knowledge sharing inside organizations.