Information Technology and Management

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 293–314 | Cite as

Adoption of social networking sites: an exploratory adaptive structuration perspective for global organizations

  • Jollean K. SinclaireEmail author
  • Clinton E. Vogus


This research assesses the strategic adoption of social media by large global organizations. To contribute to a better understanding of the topic, this exploratory study analyzed social networking sites used by 72 large global companies, and conducted a survey and follow-up interviews with high-level managers from these companies. Our analysis of social networking sites identifies and characterizes the types of social media used, as well as the various organizational purposes for the use of social media. Our exploratory survey and interviews yielded a deeper level of understanding of the adoption of social networking sites by organizations. We employed management fashion theory and adaptive structuration theory to characterize the ways in which advanced information technology can bring about organizational change. Our findings indicate that there is an increased use of social media and social networking sites by organizations that results in the form of passive or active, proactive or reactive, and tactical or strategic uses.


Adaptive structuration theory Exploratory research Field study Interviews Management fashion theory Organizational change Social media Social networks 



The authors thank the special editors, Rob Kauffman and Angsana Techatassanasoontorn, and the four anonymous reviewers who provided many constructive comments and suggestions.


  1. 1.
    Abrahamson E (1991) Managerial fads and fashions: the diffusion and rejection of innovations. Acad Manag Rev 16(3):586–612Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Abrahamson E (1996) Management fashion. Acad Manag Rev 21(1):254–285Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Abrahamson E, Rosenkopf L (1993) Institutional and competitive bandwagons: using mathematical modeling as a tool to explore innovation diffusion. Acad Manag Rev 18(3):487–517Google Scholar
  4. 4. (2010) (
  5. 5.
    Baskerville R, Myers M (2009) Fashion waves in information systems research and practice. MIS Q 33(4):647–662Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bernoff J, Li C (2008) Harnessing the power of the oh-so-social Web. MIT Sloan Manag Rev 49(3):36–42Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bickart B, Schindler RM (2001) Internet forums as influential sources of consumer information. J Interact Mark 15(3):31–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Brewer, Monster-maker settle Vermonster dispute (October 22, 2009). New York PostGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Clemons EK (2008) How information changes consumer behavior and how consumer behavior determines corporate strategy. J Manag Inf Syst 25(2):13–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Clemons EK (2009) Monetizing the internet. In: Sprague R (ed) Proceedings of 42nd hawaii international conference on system sciences, Waikoloa, HI, IEEE Computing Society Press, Los AlamitosGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Clemons EK, Barnett S, Ben-Zaken I, Clemons JC, Magdoff J, Shulman G, Wais T (2009) Touch me often but not deeply: understanding the interpersonal style of the petites digerati. In: Sprague R (ed) Proceedings of 42nd Hawaii international conference on system sciences, Waikoloa, HI, IEEE Computing Society Press, Los AlamitosGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Creswell JW (1994) Developing categories and making comparisons: data analysis procedures. SAGE, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Del Aguila-Obra AR, Padilla-Melendez A (2006) Organizational factors affecting internet technology adoption. Internet Res 16(1):94–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    DeSanctis G, Poole MS (1994) Capturing the complexity in advanced technology use: adaptive structuration theory. Organ Sci 5(2):121–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Eisenhardt K (1989) Building theories from case study research. Acad Manag Rev 14(4):532–550Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Facebook (2010) Press room: statistics (
  17. 17.
    Fuhrel-Forbis A, Nadorff PG, Snyder LB (2009) Analysis of public service announcements on national television, 2001–2006. Soc Mar Q 15(1):49–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Furomo K, Melcher A (2006) The importance of social structures in implementing ERP systems: a case study of using adaptive structuration theory. J Inf Technol Case Appl Res 8(2):39–58Google Scholar
  19. 19. (2010) (
  20. 20.
    Gopal A, Bostrom RP, Chin WW (1992) Applying adaptive structuration theory to investigate the process of group support system use. J Manag Inf Syst 9(3):45–70Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Guglielmo C (2009) Dell uses Twitter to ring up $3 million in PC sales. Businessweek, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Hoadley C, Xu H, Lee J, Rosson M (2010) Privacy as information access and illusory control: the case of the Facebook news feed privacy outcry. Electr Commer Res Appl 9(1):50–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Hogg T (2010) Inferring preference correlations from social networks. Electr Commer Res Appl 9(1):29–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Holsti OR (1969) Content analysis for the social sciences and humanities. Addison-Wesley, ReadingGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
  26. 26.
    Kaplan B, Duchon D (1988) Combining qualitative and quantitative methods in information systems research: a case study. MIS Q 12(4):571–586CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Kim DJ, Sivasailam N, Rao R (2004) Information assurance in B2C websites for information goods/services. Electr Markets 14(4):344–359CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Krishnamurthy S, Kucuk SU (2009) Anti-branding on the Internet. J Bus Res 62(11):1119–1126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Landry M, Banville C (1992) A disciplined methodological pluralism for MIS research. Acc Manag Inf Technol 2(2):77–97Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Lenhart A (2010) The democratization of online social networks. Pew Internet, Washington, DC (
  31. 31.
  32. 32.
    Lu Y, Zhao L, Wang B (2010) From virtual community members to C2C e-commerce buyers: trust in virtual communities and its effect on consumers’ purchase intentions. Electr Commer Res Appl 9(4):346–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Madway G (2010) Twitter remakes website, adds new features. Reuters (
  34. 34.
    McKinsey Quarterly (2007) How businesses are using Web 2.0: a McKinsey global survey (
  35. 35.
    McMillan SJ (2000) The microscope and the moving target: the challenge of applying content analysis to the world wide web. J Mass Commun Q 77(1):80–98Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Mingers J (2001) Combining IS research methods: toward a pluralist methodology. Inf Sys Res 12(3):240–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    MySpace (2010) About MySpace (
  38. 38.
    Nielsen (2009) Global faces and networked places: a Nielsen report on social networking’s new global footprint (
  39. 39.
    O’Reilly T (2005) What is Web 2.0? design patterns and business models for the next generation of software (
  40. 40.
    Parameswaran M, Whinston AB (2007) Research issues in social computing. J Assoc Inf Syst 8(6):336–350Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Pepitone J (2010) Look who’s making money on Facebook. (
  42. 42.
    Perry M, Bodkin C (2000) Content analysis of Fortune 100 company web sites. Corp Commun Interact J 5(2):87–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Pitt LF, Berthon PR, Watson RT, Zinkhan GM (2002) The Internet and the birth of real consumer power. Bus Horiz 45(4):7–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Poynter R (2008) Facebook: the future of networking with customers. Int J Mark Res 50(1):11–12Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Rezabakhsh B, Bornemann D, Hansen U, Schrader U (2006) Consumer power: a comparison of the old economy and the Internet economy. J Consum Policy 29(3):3–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Robey D (1996) Research commentary: diversity in information systems research: threat, promise, and responsibility. Inf Sys Res 7(4):400–408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Rock Art Brewery, Long live the Vermonster (2009) (
  48. 48.
    Rosenberry J (2005) The effect of content mix on circulation penetration for US daily newspapers. J Mass Commun Q 82(2):377–397Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Rosenkopf L, Abrahamson E (1999) Modeling reputational and informational influences in threshold models of bandwagon innovation diffusion. Computational Mathematics and Organization Theory 5(4):361–384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Saldana J (2009) The coding manual for qualitative researchers. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Sayre S (1992) Content analysis as a tool for consumer research. J Consum Mark 9(1):15–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Schultz T (2009) Interactive options in online journalism: a content analysis of 100 US newspapers. J Comput Mediat Commun 5(1).
  53. 53. (2010) Site profile for (
  54. 54.
    Spaulding TJ (2010) How can virtual communities create value for business? Electr Commer Res Appl 9(1):38–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Twitter (2010) About us (
  56. 56.
    Twitter (2010) Twitter 101: a special guide (
  57. 57.
    Valentino-DeVries J (2010) Twitter needs staff. Wall Str JGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Wang B (2010) Survival and competition among social networking websites. A research commentary on “Critical mass and willingness to pay for social networks by J. Christopher Westland”. Electr Commer Res Appl 9(1):20–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Wang J (2010) E-commerce communities as knowledge bases for firms. Electr Commer Res Appl 9(4):335–345CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Wang P (2010) Chasing the hottest IT: effects of information technology fashion on organizations. MIS Q 34(1):63–85Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Westland J (2010) Critical mass and willingness to pay for social networks. Electr Commer Res Appl 9(1):6–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    YouTube (2010) YouTube fact sheet (

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer & Information TechnologyArkansas State UniversityJonesboroUSA
  2. 2.Department of ManagementArkansas State UniversityJonesboroUSA

Personalised recommendations