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The purpose of this paper is to investigate how the use of social media can facilitate employee creativity. Departing from theories on social capital and knowledge management, this study examines the relationship among individual characteristics, the use of social technologies and employee creativity. The main hypothesis of the study is that online social networking mediates the relationship between personal innovativeness and creativity.Design/methodology/approachData were obtained through an online survey of 80 engineers and 12 managers working in a large IT company listed by the Fortune 500 (n1=80, n2=12). The empirical strategy relies on fixed-effects structural equation modeling and confirmatory factor analysis with a quasi-experimental design to study the structural relationship among creativity, online social connectivity (OSC) and personal innovativeness.FindingsThe study provides three major findings. First, the results show that personal innovativeness regarding new technologies is positively associated with creativity. Second, 18 percent of the association between personal innovativeness and creativity is explained by the latent mediator OSC (a construct of online networking and knowledge management). More specifically, the partial mediation is driven by online networking, specifically establishing new connections. Finally, contrary to the expectations, there is no significant evidence that the relationship between creativity and personal innovativeness is mediated by online social knowledge management.Practical implicationsUnderstanding the ways in which online connections and online knowledge management as well as personal innovativeness are related to employee creativity helps in building innovative organizations. This study may facilitate recruitment and selection strategies and encourage organizations to implement platforms with user-friendly functionalities of connecting with other employees and searching data.Originality/valueThe main question of this study is whether all features related to social technologies make people more creative. Evidence is still scarce, but there are hints that creativity is not only an innate personal feature but also a social phenomenon. This study explains the benefits of OSC for enhancing employee creativity.
Management Decision – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 27, 2020
Keywords: Creativity; Social media; Online networking
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