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Impact of task characteristics on employee agility: the moderating effect of enterprise social media visibility

Mengyi Zhu (School of Business Administration, Zhejiang Gongshang University, Hangzhou, China)
Yuan Sun (School of Business Administration, Zhejiang Gongshang University, Hangzhou, China) (Modern Business Research Center, Key Research Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences at Universities, Zhejiang Gongshang University, Hangzhou, China) (Zheshang Research Institute, Zhejiang Gongshang University, Hangzhou, China)
Anand Jeyaraj (Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio, USA)
Jie Hao (School of Accounting, Zhejiang Gongshang University, Hangzhou, China)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 30 March 2021

Issue publication date: 19 May 2021

847

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore whether and how task characteristics affect employee agility in the context of enterprise social media (ESM).

Design/methodology/approach

Adopting the social network ties perspective, this study examines how task characteristics (i.e. task complexity, task interdependence and task non-routineness) affect employee agility by promoting their social network ties (i.e. instrumental ties and expressive ties) and how ESM visibility moderates their relationships. Data gathered from 341 ESM users in workplaces were analyzed using Smart-PLS 3.2.

Findings

First, task complexity, task interdependence and task non-routineness have positive effects on instrumental and expressive ties, which in turn influences agility; Second, instrumental ties have a stronger effect on employee agility relative to expressive ties; Finally, ESM visibility positively moderates the effects of task complexity and task non-routineness on social network ties.

Practical implications

The findings provide guidance for organizational managers on how to use task characteristics and ESM to improve employee agility, as well as insights for social media designers to optimize ESM functions to improve agility.

Originality/value

This study provides empirical evidence to explain the roles of task characteristics and social network ties in influencing employee agility, thus clarifying the inconsistent findings in extant research. The moderating effects of ESM visibility on the relationships between task characteristics and social network ties are also examined, thus providing further insights on the positive role of ESM in organizations.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (71772162), Zhejiang Provincial Philosophy and Social Science Leading Talent Cultivation Project (21QNYC14ZD) and the Project of Key Research Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences at Universities-Modern Business Research Center of Zhejiang Gongshang University (2020SMYJ03ZC), Special Funds Project for Promoting the Level of Running Local Colleges and Universities in Zhejiang Province (Interdisciplinary Innovation Team Building of Internet and Management Change). This research is the achievement of New Key Specialized Think Tank of Zhejiang Province (Zheshang Research Institute).

Citation

Zhu, M., Sun, Y., Jeyaraj, A. and Hao, J. (2021), "Impact of task characteristics on employee agility: the moderating effect of enterprise social media visibility", Internet Research, Vol. 31 No. 3, pp. 931-960. https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-07-2020-0409

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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