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NYU Stern Study Shows Long-term Benefits to Blogging in the Workplace

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Does leisure-blogging in the workplace help or hurt productivity over the long term? According to Anindya Ghose, NYU Stern Associate Professor of Information, Operations and Management Sciences, and his colleagues Yan Huang and Param Vir Singh from Carnegie Mellon University, blogging helps. When organizations have lax rules on leisure blogging, it positively affects the writing and sharing of work-related blog posts and creates opportunities for strengthening employee networks. Their new paper is entitled, “A Structural Model of Employee Behavioral Dynamics in Enterprise Social Media.”

The authors looked at bloggers in Fortune 500 IT consulting and services companies that permitted both leisure- and work-related blogging, and studied work environments where the company prohibits leisurely blogging. They found that when organizations put restrictions on leisure blogging, online work-related knowledge sharing decreases. The authors believe this happens because creating social media content at work not only helps employees to educate those seeking information, but also helps them build social relationships in the workplace. An employee can attract fellow employees to his blog with an entertaining or leisure post and, because work-related posts are on the same page, there is a spillover effect with people reading work-related articles.

“Social media technologies such as corporate blogging have the potential to be of enormous value to firms. In addition to bringing together employees at a lower cost, when used effectively, these technologies can encourage knowledge sharing and can enhance and increase firm productivity over the long-term,” said Professor Ghose. “Companies should not prohibit non-work related blogging because of its positive effects on long-term employee productivity. In addition, companies adopting social media technologies for internal use should invest in displaying reputation metrics for content contributors and make them prominent on the enterprise-wide blogging forums to create incentives for employees to contribute content.”