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What “Uses and Gratifications” Theory Can Tell Us About Using Professional Networking Sites (E.G. LinkedIn, Viadeo, Xing, SkilledAfricans, Plaxo…)

Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP,volume 290)


Social media continues to gain enormous popularity. Therefore, it is not surprising that this attracts the interest of researchers to study this cyber-social phenomenon particularly motivation issues as one of the most important axis in the social media literature. However, an analysis of literature concerning the motivations for using social media reveals a lack of studying professional networking sites compared to friendship-oriented social media (i.e. online social networks) and most particularly Facebook, despite the obvious interest that they present. Particularly as in the B2B context, interest in them exceeds that of online social networks (OSN) including even Facebook. Currently, a few number of researches who have become interested in studying the category of professional networking sites, but they did so from only the individual’s point of view. However, it is also necessary to consider the motivations for using them from a company’s point of view. To our knowledge, no research has been undertaken to study the motivations for using professional networking sites for both individuals and companies. For this purpose, we conduct a research by applying the ‘Uses & Gratifications’ Theory to explain the user behaviour in the field of professional networking sites. To collect data, 8 face-to-face interviews with companies and 5 focus groups with individuals were conducted.

The results permit to identify two types of motivations: contextual motivations and generic motivations in which a comparison with those previously found in the field of OSNs can be done.


  • Uses & gratifications theory
  • Professional networking sites
  • LinkedIn
  • Viadeo
  • Uses companies motivations
  • Business networks

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Fig. 1.
Fig. 2.


  1. 1.

    In the sense that these researches include several social media at the same time in their samples.

  2. 2.

    e-Customer Relation Management.

  3. 3.

    We remind that Papacharissi & Mendelson results (2011) demonstrate that the use of the Facebook is mainly ritualistic.

  4. 4.

    e.g. for individuals: gender, professional status…/ for companies: company size, nature of the hierarchical position….


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The author gratefully thanks his doctoral supervisors respectively Inés De La Ville and André Leroux.

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Grissa, K. (2017). What “Uses and Gratifications” Theory Can Tell Us About Using Professional Networking Sites (E.G. LinkedIn, Viadeo, Xing, SkilledAfricans, Plaxo…). In: Jallouli, R., Zaïane, O., Bach Tobji, M., Srarfi Tabbane, R., Nijholt, A. (eds) Digital Economy. Emerging Technologies and Business Innovation. ICDEc 2017. Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing, vol 290. Springer, Cham.

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