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Case Study I – Is Social Business Working Out?

Autor:   •  January 16, 2017  •  Research Paper  •  1,577 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,556 Views

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Case Study I – Is Social Business Working Out?

Florida Tech

BUS5460 Management Information Systems


The case study, Is Social Business Working Out?, is a discussion on the challenges of adopting a business social network and provides two examples in NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Red Robbin that ended up at opposite ends of realizing a business social network for their organizations. Although social network tools account for 20% of online activity, “Information Week’s 2013 Social Networking in the Enterprise survey found that only 18% of respondents believed their internal social networking programs were successful.” (Laudon, p. 65, 2016) Wide adoption has been a hindrance to the success of these social business sites. Organizational inertia makes it difficult to get people to change. Many people still prefer e-mail as their main collaboration tool. Employees need incentives in order to spend time learning a new system and management needs to drive the change behavior, educate employees on how these new technologies will benefit the job experience, worker productivity and efficiency, and accelerate innovation.

With the goal of improving collaboration within the company, both NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Red Robin launched social networks. NASA Goddard wanted to make collaboration easier and replace what was mostly done through email transactions while Red Robin wanted to provide their front line employees, those that interacted with customers, a direct link to upper management. As mentioned earlier, each company arrived at a very different outcome, mostly due to their approach to adoption and the involvement of management and in the identification of the company’s culture.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center launched a homegrown system that was internally developed called “Spacebook”. It featured wikis, file sharing, workgroups and discussion boards, but it did not provide a better alternative to the current technology that was in use, which was email. Management failed to understand the culture and politics inside of NASA.  The demographics of a NASA employee are not individuals that grew up using social media sites like Facebook. Management also did not play an active role in driving Spacebook’s adoption.  Users did not perceive value in it enhancing their work environment and in improving collaboration; thus it was not widely adopted by the users and NASA ended up abandoning it after launching it three years earlier.

Red Robin and its CIO believed that engaging employees through a social business site would increase employee loyalty and foster better service to its end customer.  Red Robin adopted the social networking tool Yammer to be its solution for social business.  Yammer had file sharing, provided workgroups and discussion boards.  Red Robin Management understood its culture and demographics of its employees who are younger and did grow up using social media.  Red Robin Management also worked together to drive adoption and had employee incentives that drove the adoption as well. The company internally advertised the success that Yammer had enabled in the rollout of their new Tavern Burger product.  By using the communication channels within Yammer, front line employees were able to provide customer feedback regarding the new offering such that management was able to make recipe changes in four weeks instead of what had been the usual six to eighteen months. Yammer was instrumental in improving the flow of communication both upwards and downwards on the organization chart.  Red Robin created “Yummerversity” which is an online training site for employees and another social site called “Yummer” that is used by restaurant managers, regional managers and the corporate office. Red Robin also established the “Blueprint Project” that asked employees to provide ideas on how to cut costs or lower expenses.  This project provide a $1000 cash award to a manager the suggested replacing disposable child beverage cups with reusable cups that had a six figure impact in savings for the company. (Laudon, p. 65-66, 2016)


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