The Generation Y mindset and the Adoption of Social Business Software

Having recently Completed my Masters thesis on “The Delay of Social Business Software Adoption in the Enterprise and its Effects” I thought I would start sharing some of the insights that the paper delivers. During the Grounded Theory process it became evident quite early on that the impact of Generation Y in an organisation was a vital component. The Causal Loop Diagram creates the theory.

The Balancing Loop of the Causal loop diagram

Link 1: As the organisation increases its Generation Y mindset, so the generation gap in the organisation increases.

Among the differences, life experiences and social trends are the reasons that affected the behaviours, communication approaches, and viewpoints between older generations and Generation Y because the latter are exposed to a vast array of media and educational opportunities, and grew up in a more global environment (Timmerman, 2007; Hammett, 2007; O’Bannon, 2001). Furthermore, generation Y is viewed unfavorably and it faces struggles in dealing with other generations in a wide range of industries (Anantatmula & Shrivastav, 2012a).

Link 2: As the Generation Gap in the organisation increases, so the level of trust in the organisation decreases.

Boomers and Generation X’ers were significantly different in their acceptance of others, as measured by the scale as a whole. Moreover, when the factor analysis is considered, one factor which was significant appeared to involve aspects of trust: The negative feelings towards others (Cennamo & Gardner, 2008). Cennamo and Gardner also add that Generation Y is technology literate and savvy, processing information quickly but not in a linear way, which is the preferred method of the previous generations.

Link 3: As the level of trust decreases in the organization, so the level of information security will increase in the organization.

Casalo et al., (2007) states that there is a connection between trust and the perceived security in the handling of data, and that there exists a direct relationship between the two (Casaló, Flavián, & Guinalíu, 2007)

Link 4: As the level of information security increases, so the level of information system policy issues of the organization increases.

Business convergence of information security necessitates the need for new enterprise framework policy structures within organisations (Casaló et al., 2007). Swanson (1998) adds that “the system contains information which must be protected from unauthorised, unanticipated or unintentional modification.”

Link 5: As the level of information system policy increases, so the Generation Y mindset of the organisation will decrease.

Generation Y generally have a strong entrepreneurial spirit and an inquisitive mind, which means that they seek constant stimulation. Policies will constrain this behaviour. Wang (2005) states that “the organisational system needs to be re-structured in order to cope with the new requirements for entrepreneurship and technological innovations” (Wang, Z., 2005).

The Reinforcing loop of the causal loop diagram


Link 6: As the Generation Y mindset of the organisation increases, so does the likelihood of social Business Software adoption for the enterprise.

Oblinger (2003) states that millennia’s are characterised by orientation for collaboration, preference for experiential activities, appreciation of structure, and interest in new technologies. Tapscott (2009) stated that “The Net generation is tapping into Web 2.0 communication tools to not only hunt for information, but also to contribute to it, building a collaborative workplace” (Norton, 2010).

Link 7: The greater the adoption of social networking in the enterprise the greater the levels of collaboration in the organization.

Social media can be organised into four categories: communication, collaboration, multimedia and entertainment learning platforms (Villano, 2010). The improved collaboration and communication enabled by social networking for the enterprise saw increased efficiencies and, on average, saved businesses deploying this technology $ 205,000 per project (Bishop & Consultant, 2011).

Link 8: As the levels of collaboration increase, so the level of Open Innovation of the company increases.

This acknowledgement further represents the basic premise of the concept of Open Innovation, which proposes that companies should use both external and internal competencies in innovation processes (Chesbrough, 2006). The processes of knowledge development and creation of shared understanding among the collaborators are central (Gressgård, 2011).

Link 9: As the level of innovation improves so the Generation Y mindset of the organisation will increase (the Generation Y mindset includes the paradigm of Open Innovation)

Structural (knowledge access) and behavioural (knowledge exploitation) aspects are crucial for organisations’ innovation capabilities, and that realisation of the potential for innovation brought about by ICT is dependent on well-functioning CMC processes (Gressgård, 2011).

To Recap the mechanism: The more a Gen Y mind-set (where this is framed as people with aspirations to do things in new ways) exists in the organisation, so it will increase the adoption of social networking or technologies in the enterprise, which will increase the level of collaboration in the organisation, which increases the level of innovation (Change Behavior Over Time) in the organisation, leading to an increase in the Gen Y mind-set. As the Gen Y mind-set in the organisation increases so too does the generation gap in the organisation. This leads to a reduction in the levels of trust in the organisation. As the levels of trust drop then the organisation will need to increase its levels of information security, which leads to an increased requirement for information system policy issues in the organisation, which leads to a reduction in the Gen Y mind-set in the organisation intervening variable.

While the above reflects a theory, my own experiences in building a Social Software Business in Africa will be shared with you.

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