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Digital natives vs digital immigrants: A multidimensional view on interaction with social technologies in organizations

Mohammad Hossein Jarrahi (School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA)
Ali Eshraghi (Discipline of Business Information Systems, The University of Sydney Business School, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)

Journal of Enterprise Information Management

ISSN: 1741-0398

Article publication date: 1 October 2019

Issue publication date: 1 October 2019




Generational membership is argued to have an impact on how social technologies are used for knowledge sharing and communication in organizational contexts. Previous research has especially underscored the difference between digital natives and digital immigrants in how they make sense of and interact with social technologies for work. The purpose of this paper is to provide a multidimensional perspective and to explore generational differences as well as other factors deriving from both work-related and personal characteristics.


The paper presents a summary of the findings from interviews with 58 consultants from 17 managing consulting firms. Participants were selected based on their knowledge-intensive roles and their willingness to share information about their knowledge practices.


Findings highlight the significance of the organizational rank, knowledge needs, individuals’ enthusiasm for technology use and personality disposition in shaping workers’ attitudes toward social technologies for knowledge practices. This work builds from a social construction of technology perspective to provide a comprehensive insight into the roles played by work and personality-related factors beyond age and generational differences in the use of social technologies in and for work.


This research contributes to the discourse on generational differences and the use of social technologies. It puts this question into a broader context, and highlights other factors that shape this relationship.



Jarrahi, M.H. and Eshraghi, A. (2019), "Digital natives vs digital immigrants: A multidimensional view on interaction with social technologies in organizations", Journal of Enterprise Information Management, Vol. 32 No. 6, pp. 1051-1070.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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