University of Jyväskylä

Dissertation: 27.9.: Globally distributed Knowledge Sharing in Social Software Environments: Barriers and Interventions (Pirkkalainen)

Start date: Sep 27, 2014 12:00 AM

End date: Sep 27, 2014 03:00 PM

Location: Mattilanniemi, Agora, Lea Pulkkisen sali


Henri Pirkkalainen, kuva: Kati ClementsMaster of Science Henri Pirkkalainen defends his doctoral dissertation in Information Systems Science ”Globally Distributed Knowledge Sharing Activities in Social Software Environments: Barriers and Interventions”. Opponent Prof. Kevin Desouza (School of Public Affairs, Arizona State University, USA) and custos Research Professor Jan Pawlowski (University of Jyväskylä).

The benefits of adopting social software in organizational knowledge sharing activities have been argued to improve communication and outreach to key stakeholders. In such situations, social software, collaboration and networking enabling tools are adopted to support both formal and informal exchanges of knowledge. These attempts to integrate social software into distributed collaboration very often fail in both private and public organizations. As an example, there is a high amount of interest toward the uptake of social software to support the knowledge sharing of educators in educational institutions. Still, most of the services and tools fail to attract users. Investigations explaining the reasons for the failed attempts have reported a variety of interpersonal and organizational barriers that disrupt adoption. The available knowledge about overcoming these barriers for the successful usage of social software in distributed knowledge sharing is still shallow. Previous studies have overlooked the interdependencies of the barriers affecting adoption, and especially, the role of cultural barriers in the knowledge sharing activities that are supported by social software. This thesis addresses the research gap by investigating the context-specific and interrelated barriers that need to be understood to find suitable and sustainable interventions to overcome the barriers. The empirical investigation that applies both quantitative and qualitative methods to study the identified research gap was situated in the open education domain. This dissertation provides organizations with a basis for implementing their knowledge management strategies on social software. The findings point out how the barriers to knowledge sharing in social software environments can be explained through organizational, social, cultural and technical dimensions. The results indicate that the barriers truly are interlinked, and are context- and even age-dependent. Of the identified barriers, cultural ones are most likely to lead to the decreased motivation of the users of social software. This dissertation offers a framework to support the coordination activities of knowledge management when social software is being considered for adoption. The results from the empirical studies provide evidence and analysis support for finding sustainable ways to overcome the barriers. As most of the barriers are not technical, the interventions to overcome them have to be addressed in a holistic manner, from both organizational and technical perspectives.


  • Further information:

Henri Pirkkalainen, tel. +358 400247684,

Communications intern Birgitta Kemppainen, tel. +358 40 805 4483,

The dissertation is published in the series Jyväskylä Studies in Computing, 196, 71 p.+ included articles, Jyväskylä 2014. ISSN 1456-5390, ISBN 978-951-39-5829-9 (vol.), ISBN 978-951-39-5830-5 (PDF). It is available at the University Library’s Publications Unit, +358 (0)40 805 3825,