The use of social media in supporting the development of open organizations for innovation

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Systems Research and Behavioral Science




School of Business and Law




Standing, C., Mingers, J., & Standing, S. (2018). The Use of Social Media in Supporting the Development of Open Organizations for Innovation. Systems Research and Behavioral Science. Available here


Open systems theory purports to offer many benefits related to developing an innovative and sustainable organization. In this paper, we examine if collaborative tools afford a move towards a more open‐orientated organizational form that can support innovation capability and the issues that need to be managed in the process. Constructs that characterize open systems are identified from the literature, and these are used to frame the case analyses on the nature of collaborative tools and changing organizational forms. The validity of the open systems concept is explored through an examination of three case studies. Although collaborative tools offer potential organizational benefits, issues exist in relation to its management and use that can circumscribe its impact. Collaborative tools were used in contexts where there was a weak understanding of open systems concepts, and this resulted in a weak conceptual strategy. The lack of methodological guidance on how to use collaborative tools to become more open was a significant issue. The combination of these two issues created a number of implementation problems including lack of widespread participation and an inability to obtain and leverage knowledge via collaborative tools to improve innovation. The paper highlights that a tool‐focused collaborative systems approach produces less effective integration of collaborative tools and creates problems in moving to a more open organizational form.



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