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The impact of social media activities on divergent thinking and creativity

A study of knowledge workers in Germany
: Mauroner, O.; Breitenborn, H.

Institute of Knowledge Asset Management -IKAM-:
IFKAD 2014, 9th International Forum on Knowledge Asset Dynamics. Proceedings : "Knowledge and Management Models for Sustainable Growth", Matera, Italy, 11-13 June 2014
Matera: IKAM, 2014 (Proceedings of IFKAD)
ISBN: 978-88-96687-04-8
International Forum on Knowledge Asset Dynamics (IFKAD) <9, 2014, Matera>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IOF ()

The purpose of this paper is to show how knowledge workers from research institutions use social media tools for networking, information search, and idea generation. This paper aims to examine how social media may enrich the practices of knowledge transfer, knowledge management and creativity. Design/methodology/approach - On the basis of structured interviews with knowledge workers from universities and public funded research institutes in Germany, the sources of information and inspiration in the course of idea generation as well as the impact of social media on creative processes are analysed. Findings - The paper shows that most interviewees, who are heavily involved in creative processes, confirmed the utilisation of variable social media tools. They primarily use social networks to endure relationships with business acquaintances, to keep in touch with colleagues, partners and friends, which can be seen is first step in getting access to their knowledge base. Although, the study could not show that social media is explicitly important for knowledge acquisition or idea generation. Research limitations/implications - Further research should include large-scale surveys to analyse causalities of the minor importance of social media in knowledge-intensive work fields. Upcoming research involving knowledge workers from other technological areas could help extracting effects caused by specialisation or industry-related influences. Originality/value - The authors present insights on work principles of knowledge workers whose primary tasks are to exploit knowledge and to implement ideas.