Genre analysis of how Yammer is used within Deloitte Australia

Social media technologies are making fast inroads into organisations. In the context of knowledgeintensive work the propositions of improving communication, information sharing and user involvement seem particularly promising. However, the role and impact of social technologies in enterprises in general and knowledge work in particular are still not well understood, despite emerging scholarly works in this field. In this study we aim to contribute to this stream of research. We investigate the phenomenon of Enterprise Social Networking (ESN) in the context of Professional Service Firms (PSF). Our case investigates emerging communicative work practices on the ESN platform Yammer within Deloitte Australia. We perform a genre analysis of actual communication data captured on the Yammer platform. We uncover a set of emerging practices enabled by the platform within the case company and reflect on our results in the context of the knowledge-intensive nature of professional service work. We find that Yammer in the case company has become 1) an information-sharing channel, 2) a space for crowdsourcing ideas, 3) a place for finding expertise and solving problems and most importantly 4) a conversation medium for context and relationship building.

Kai has written a short summary on his blog. But beware – this isn’t a blueprint for Yammer or any other enterprise social network. Neither does it provide data on the organisational value generated by the activity observed. As Kai also points out, in the case of Deloitte Australia:

a number of knowledge-work practices are not carried out within Yammer, even though we found these practices in some of our earlier enterprise microblogging case.

However, this is a great piece of research and provides more insight into the different ways that different organisations make use of social technologies.