The Influence of Online Social Networking on Individual Virtual Competence and Task Performance in Organizations


온라인 네트워킹 활동이 가상협업 역량 및 업무성과에 미치는 영향

Ayoung Suh, Kyung-shik Shin

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With the advent of communication technologies including electronic collaborative tools and conferencing systems provided over the Internet, virtual collaboration is becoming increasingly common in organizations. Virtual collaboration refers to an environment in which the people working together are interdependent in their tasks, share responsibility for outcomes, are geographically dispersed, and rely on mediated rather than face-to face, communication to produce an outcome. Research suggests that new sets of individual skill, knowledge, and ability (SKAs) are required to perform effectively in today’s virtualized workplace, which is labeled as individual virtual competence. It is also argued that use of online social networking sites may influence not only individuals’ daily lives but also their capability to manage their work-related relationships in organizations, which in turn leads to better performance. The existing research regarding (1) the relationship between virtual competence and task performance and (2) the relationship between online networking and task performance has been conducted based on different theoretical perspectives so that little is known about how online social networking and virtual competence interplay to predict individuals’ task performance. To fill this gap, this study raises the following research questions:
(1) What is the individual virtual competence required for better adjustment to the virtual collaboration environment?
(2) How does online networking via diverse social network service sites influence individuals’ task performance in organizations?
(3) How do the joint effects of individual virtual competence and online networking influence task performance?
To address these research questions, we first draw on the prior literature and derive four dimensions of individual virtual competence that are related with an individual’s self-concept, knowledge and ability. Computer self-efficacy is defined as the extent to which an individual beliefs in his or her ability to use computer technology broadly. Remotework self-efficacy is defined as the extent to which an individual beliefs in his or her ability to work and perform joint tasks with others in virtual settings. Virtual media skill is defined as the degree of confidence of individuals to function in their work role without face-to-face interactions. Virtual social skill is an individual’s skill level in using technologies to communicate in virtual settings to their full potential. It should be noted that the concept of virtual social skill is different from the self-efficacy and captures an individual’s cognition-based ability to build social relationships with others in virtual settings.
Next, we discuss how online networking influences both individual virtual competence and task performance based on the social network theory and the social learning theory. We argue that online networking may enhance individuals’ capability in expanding their social networks with low costs. We also argue that online networking may enable individuals to learn the necessary skills regarding how they use technological functions, communicate with others, and share information and make social relations using the technical functions provided by electronic media, consequently increasing individual virtual competence.
To examine the relationships among online networking, virtual competence, and task performance, we developed research models (the mediation, interaction, and additive models, respectively) by integrating the social network theory and the social learning theory. Using data from 112 employees of a virtualized company, we tested the proposed research models. The results of analysis partly support the mediation model in that online social networking positively influences individuals’ computer self-efficacy, virtual social skill, and virtual media skill, which are key predictors of individuals’ task performance. Furthermore, the results of the analysis partly support the interaction model in that the level of remotework self-efficacy moderates the relationship between online social networking and task performance. The results paint a picture of people adjusting to virtual collaboration that constrains and enables their task performance.
This study contributes to research and practice. First, we suggest a shift of research focus to the individual level when examining virtual phenomena and theorize that online social networking can enhance individual virtual competence in some aspects. Second, we replicate and advance the prior competence literature by linking each component of virtual competence and objective task performance. The results of this study provide useful insights into how human resource responsibilities assess employees’ weakness and strength when they organize virtualized groups or projects. Furthermore, it provides managers with insights into the kinds of development or training programs that they can engage in with their employees to advance their ability to undertake virtual work.


 Ⅰ. 서론
 Ⅱ. 이론적 기반
  2.1 사회적 학습이론
  2.2 사회 네트워크 이론
  2.3 이론적 결합
 Ⅲ. 연구 모형
  3.1 매개모형(Mediation Model)
  3.2 상호작용모형(Interaction Model)
  3.3 부가모형(Additive Model)
 Ⅳ. 연구 방법
  4.1 연구 대상 및 자료수집
  4.2 변수의 측정
 Ⅴ. 분석 및 결과
  5.1 측정도구의 검증
  5.2 모형의 검증
 Ⅵ. 토의 및 결론
  6.1 연구의 한계 및 후속 연구
  6.2 토의
  6.3 학문적 기여
  6.4 실무적 기여
  6.5 결론


  • Ayoung Suh 서아영. Research Professor, College of Business Administration, Ewha Womans University
  • Kyung-shik Shin 신경식. Professor, College of Business Administration, Ewha Womans University


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