TitleTo Use or Not to Use? Examining the Adoption of Social Research Network Sites
Publication Type01. Books
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsRenken, U.
PublisherDissertationsschrift, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Keywordsacceptance, adoption, collaboration, communication technology, immersion, non-usage, online collaboration technology, privacy issues, researchers, social media, social media implementation model, social media usage cycle, technology acceptance, user resistance

Our lives are increasingly influenced by web-based technologies allowing for new forms of information sharing, communication, knowledge exchange and collaboration. While the term “Enterprise 2.0” has reached a broad audience, the impact of social media on the way research is done has been underexamined. At the same time, tools supporting “research 2.0” have not been thoroughly examined yet. While Facebook and Linkedin are known platforms supporting the establishment and management of private and professional social networks, network sites for researchers (“social research network sites”) are yet to be studied. Should these social research network sites (SRNS) encounter wide acceptance in the future, the scientific world is facing a paradigm shift as fundamental as the change from horses to cars in the world of transportation. Nevertheless, factors influencing the usage of these tools, which could revolutionize research practice, remain obscure. Researchers, research organizations and providers of research platforms can thus benefit from an examination of drivers and barriers influencing the usage of these tools. An understanding of these factors allows deriving managerial implications for professional research institutions, libraries, design implications for SRNS providers, and hints towards online profiling strategies of individual researchers. The results are interesting for managers beyond the domain of research as they deliver insights into adoption mechanisms in the Web 2.0 world. “To Use or Not to Use? Examining the Adoption of Social Research Network Sites” contributes to these aims by (1) delivering a definition of social research network sites as allowing for information sharing, identity management, communication and collaboration, (2) giving an overview of new online collaboration tools for researchers, (3) examining the usage of SRNS from a technology acceptance perspective to establish a framework to understand the usage and non-usage of SRNS, (4) illuminates the special requirements and expectations of researchers towards collaboration technology and (5) derives a usage lifecycle model which allows research institutions and providers to categorize the identified adoption drivers and barriers into implementation stages. The thesis combines qualitative and quantitative research approaches. Besides confirming insights from technology acceptance research about the relevance of ease of use and technology performance, this thesis stresses the increasingly important role of noise and user resistance. Contradicting a general technology euphoria co-occurring with the rise of Web 2.0, this thesis points out that users are hesitant towards enlarging their tool portfolio. Nevertheless, social influence can overcome individual concerns and support the usage of new tools. The results can be used to enhance the understanding of the adoption of online collaboration technology in areas in which privacy and security concerns are important. They hint towards the increasing relevance of sustainable technology portfolios as too many tools hinder collaboration endeavors rather than supporting them. Moreover, decision-makers in knowledge-intense organizations beyond research can gain valuable insights into the dynamics of online collaboration technology usage.