Enterprise Information Infrastructure (EII) Research Network Seminar

Dynamics of Network Structure and Content in Social Media

Speaker: Professor Ramayya Krishnan
School of Information Systems and Management Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University

Time: Monday 23 August 2010, 4:00-5:00pm

Location: The University of Sydney, School of IT Building, Boardroom (Room 124), Level 1

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Abstract

Organizations are increasingly using online social media to leverage individual employees to contribute knowledge as well as to foster social interactions. Activity in online social settings such as blogs, forums, wikis etc. is critical to ensuring that the online community survives and thrives. Past academic work has mainly examined contributions to such media as aggregated at the level of the individual, with a focus to determine the drivers of participation. We dissect this further along three different dimensions to examine the effect on dyadic response behavior. First, we adopt a social network approach to studying query-response behavior of employees in an enterprise-wide forum, where questions posed by employees on the forum elicit responses from others. We characterize the tie between a responder and a query poster as a directed response, and view the entire set of online forum interactions as a social network with dyadic relationships between query posters and responders. Second, we borrow from the social network literature on embeddedness and Simmelian ties, with the aim of understanding whether online behavior comports with theories developed for face-to-face interaction. Third, we study the role of the type or content of tie, i.e. whether an interaction is expressive (social motivation) or instrumental (utilitarian motivation). We develop a measure of the type of tie based on the textual content of postings, leveraging techniques from the information retrieval and text processing literature. We use the recently developed QAP-DSP technique (Dekker et al. 2007) to account for several problematic features of network data, including structural autocorrelation, skewness and multi-collinearity. In brief, we find that individuals respond more to others whom they have had a past social interaction with mediated by the forum, and the type of current query asked by the poster has little impact on the response behavior. Notably, an expressive tie between a pair of individuals has the strongest impact on future response interactions. Although we find support for homophily in an online setting, we observe that the effect of priorities far outweighs homophily factors. These results suggest that practitioners ought to think about the benefits of purely social interactions through the forum, since they may provide a `lubricating' effect to induce cooperation in work-related contexts.

Speaker's biography

Ramayya Krishnan is the Dean of the Heinz College. He holds the John Heinz III Deanship and the W. W. Cooper and Ruth F. Cooper Professor of Information Systems at Carnegie Mellon University. He has a B. Tech in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, a M.S. in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research and a PhD in Management Science and Information Systems from the University of Texas at Austin. He is an International Research Fellow of the International Center for Electronic Commerce in Korea and a Visiting Scientist at the Institute for Information Systems at Humboldt University (Germany). He is faculty chair of the university’s Masters of Information Systems Management program.

His current research projects investigate risk management in business process design and in information security, social network analysis in settings ranging from call data records to knowledge sharing communities, consumer behavior in e-business settings and the design of policies that take into account the competing needs of promoting data access and protecting privacy. He has published widely on these topics and his work received the Best Paper awards at the HICSS conference (1997), the Workshop on Information Technology and Systems (1996, 2000) and the AIS conference (2001) and was a runner up at ICIS (2002). His work has been funded over the last decade by the National Science Foundation, The Army Research Office, and DARPA.

Krishnan’s current teaching interests lie at the interface of technology, business and policy aspects of internet-enabled systems. He teaches courses on e-business, telecommunications management and a capstone course - digital transformation - that integrates technology and organizations aspects of technology implementation. He is the recipient of the General Motors (GM) Technical Education Program Outstanding Distance Learning Faculty Award, which honors a professor for demonstrating excellence in distance learning education. He is a recipient of the Martcia Wade Teaching Award and been the recipient twice of the Teaching Award for the Heinz College’s IT programs. He teaches in numerous executive education programs and is an expert on the use of IT to both create and capture value for organizations.

He currently chairs the search for the next Editor in Chief of Information Systems Research for INFORMS. In January 2009, he completed his term as the Department Editor for Information Systems at Management Science. His editorial experience includes his work as co-area editor for Telecommunications and Electronic Commerce at the INFORMS Journal on Computing, as an Associate Editor for Management Science, as an Associate Editor for Operations Research, and as an Associate Editor for Information Systems Research. He co-edited a special issue of Interfaces on e-business and co-edited two special issue volumes of Management Science on E-business. He is the past president of the INFORMS Information Systems Society and the INFORMS Computing Society.