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Smashing: Social Media and Innovation project

Project Member(s): Josserand, E.

Funding or Partner Organisation: Swiss National Fund

Start year: 2014

Summary: Social media (SM) has revolutionized the way organizations interact with actors both inside and outside their boundaries. SM¿s intensive use of web-based and mobile applications creates interactive platforms where individuals and communities can share, cocreate, discuss, and modify user-generated content. The new channels and modalities of communication enabled by the emergence of SM promise a tremendous potential for innovation.However, while the behavioural changes promoted by SM can exert a positive impact on innovation, they come with risks from an organizational point of view. Corporate information and knowledge flowing to the external environment represent a critical security issue; however corporate measures to restrict access to such tools potentially deplete informal exchanges which inform innovation.New exchange methods fostered by SM highlight new threats and opportunities for innovative organizations. The challenge for companies is to harness the advantages of this behavioural shift while minimizing the risk of losing competitive advantage when sharing knowledge in SM networks. The SMAshIng (Social Media And Innovation) research project seeks to offer answers to issues related to the effects of SM on organizational innovation capabilities by adopting a dual and yet complementary perspective. Firstly, we draw on social capital theory and social network analysis to explore the nature of social ties generated and maintained through SM, and to assess their contribution to innovation processes. Secondly, we seek to understand how SM changes the actual behaviour of employees and how this influences both innovation capabilities and associated innovation policies. The research contribution will be twofold, i.e. conceptual and managerial. Conceptually, it details the impact of SM use on innovation processes. The project identifies best management practices of SM use and highlights the risks associated with poorly defined (or excessively restrictive) SM policy.


Barlatier, P-J & Josserand, E 2018, 'Delivering open innovation promises through social media', Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 39, no. 6, pp. 21-28.
View/Download from: Publisher's site

Keywords: social media, innovation, Social Media, Social Capital, Management practices, Communication, Social Network Analysis

FOR Codes: Business and Management, Technological and Organisational Innovation, Business Information Management (incl. Records, Knowledge and Information Management, and Intelligence), Business information management (incl. records, knowledge and intelligence), Innovation management