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Title:Social media in manufacturing workplaces
Author(s):Grant, Dave S.
Director of Research:Cope, Bill
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Cope, Bill
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Kalantzis, Mary; Montebello, Matthew; Hood, Denice Ward
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):social media, social learning, Twitter, workplace learning, workplace communication, workplace collaboration,
Abstract:This research study and dissertation was designed to evaluate any connection between the use of social media for learning, communication and collaboration in a manufacturing environment and improved performance in quality and delivery metrics in those organizations. As the competition throughout the world becomes more challenging, organizations, small and large, are changing the way they conduct business to remain competitive in the growing and changing marketplace. Many of these organizations are experiencing a continually growing sector of their employees working remotely or in, in some cases, other areas of the world. Many of these organizations are finding that the ways to perform and improve processes that had been relied upon for many years simply do not work in the current workplace. One way that has been discovered to improve performance with consideration to these challenges is through the use of social media. Social media is becoming increasingly more commonplace in the workplace in recent years. For several years, social media has been used by organizations to collect feedback from customers, employees and others to help refine their processes and products to improve their product or service to help make more satisfied customers. Coupled with increasing demands of Just In Time (JIT) manufacturing and increasingly rigorous quality requirements, social media is now being examined to be a means to help better equip and empower these workforces. Effective and consistent training can be a considerable challenge in many manufacturing organizations and many of those businesses are beginning to more fully understand the true impact of training. While the ROI may not always be easily quantifiable in many instances, training and development is becoming a cornerstone of many organizations. Although most employee development / training departments desire to make training better, barriers such as off shifts, departmental budgets and remote working employees can challenge even the best plans or intentions. Because of the inconsistent training that occurs as a result of these factors, organizations can experience varied outcomes that can dramatically impact customer satisfaction, employee engagement and organizational profitability. Training through the use of social media can help reduce the burden placed upon these organizations and lead to a more positive financial performance. It can also allow organizations to use a web based venue that is accessible nearly anywhere in the world and be accessed nearly instantaneously. In addition, many of these social media sites can be used from little to no cost, helping to better control costs that are associated with employee development. Although the use of social media for employee development is new, the results of this research study shows promising results. This research study shows a correlation between the use of social media for learning, communication and collaboration and the organization’s improved performance in quality and delivery metrics. While the Pilot Study produced positive results, the scope of this earlier study was broad, using a number of social media venues, and there was no way to completely understand where the positive effects came from. In an attempt to better control the variables in the empirical research study, the number of forms of social media used in that study was reduced to only the use of Twitter. The results of the research study were also positive yet did not show as large of an impact as the Pilot Study. This could be due to the many factors and allows for significant opportunity for future research using other forms of social media alone or in combination with one another. In addition, the results from the anonymous online survey showed that the majority of the participants found value through the use of Twitter for communication and collaboration within their workplace. Although these results are promising, there is a great deal of opportunity to explore this relationship in much closer detail opening up a venue for future research.
Issue Date:2018-10-16
Rights Information:©2018 David S. Grant
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-02-06
Date Deposited:2018-12

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