Previous Articles

Does Sentiment among Users in Online Social Networks polarize or balance out: A sociological perspective using Social Network Analysis

Trier, M.; Hillmann, R. (2017) Cyberemotions – Collective Emotions in Cyberspace. Springer Series on Complex Systems, Springer, p.233-253.

Users express and share sentiments electronically when they communicate within online social network applications. One way to analyze such interdependent data is focusing on the inter-user relationships by applying a sociological perspective based on social network analysis. Existing studies examined the existence or distribution of sentiments in online communication at a general level or in small observed groups. Our paper extends this research by studying ego-networks of focal actors (ego) and their immediate contacts in over 12000 online social networks. Sentiment valence of all messages was determined with a trained and tested software algorithm. To explain sentiment-related patterns we draw from research on social influence and social attachment to develop theories of node polarization, balance effects and sentiment mirroring within communication dyads. Results from social network analysis support our theories and indicate that actors develop polarized sentiments towards individual peers but keep sentiment in balance on the ego-network level. Further, pairs of nodes tend to establish similar attitudes towards each other leading to stable and polarized positive or negative relationships. Our research contributes to understanding the patterns of how sentiment propagates and resonates in large online groups.

The Deep Structure of Online Organizational Networking 

Trier, M., Richter, A., (2015). Information Systems Journal, Vol. 25, No. 5, 2015, p. 465-488.

While research on organizational online networking recently increased exponentially, most extant studies adopt quantitative research designs with a focus on the consequences of social network configurations. Very limited attention is paid to comprehensive theoretical conceptions of the complex phenomenon of organizational online networking. We address this gap by adopting a theoretical framework of the deep structure of organizational online networking with a focus on their emerging meaning for the employees. We apply and assess the framework in a qualitative case study of a large scale implementation of a corporate social network site (SNS) in a global organization. We reveal organizational online networking as a multi-dimensional phenomenon with multiplex relationships that are unbalanced, primarily consist of weak ties and that are subject to temporal change. Further we identify discourse drivers and information retrievers as two mutually interdependent actor roles as an explanation for uneven levels of user contributions to the SNS. Based on our analysis, we elicit abstract order principles, such as topical discourses, and identify transactive memory theory as a potent explanation of the evolving interaction structures. We finally discuss how the deep structure framework can contribute to future research on organizational networks.


The Complexities of Self-Tracking : User Reactions and Goal Attainment

Sjöklint, M.; Constantiou, I.; Trier, M. (2015). European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS 2015).

The activity of self-tracking is an emerging trend that often involves adopting wearable technology. Vendors promise new personal insights and opportunities to optimize health and lifestyle by adopting such devices. Spurred by these promises, users are also driven by curiosity and exploration to adopt
and use the device with the aim of quantifying the self for the purpose of self-knowledge through numbers. We investigate the interplay of technology, data and the experience of self during the adoption and use of wearable technology as a pre-commitment device. The empirical focus lies on two
self-tracking devices, which track moving and sleeping activities on a daily basis. 42 interviews were conducted with users of self-tracking devices. The findings suggest that self-tracking activity through wearable technology does not necessarily lead to behavioural change, but predominately works as a re-focusing device. In this light, the user experiences tensions between rational and emotional behaviours when reflecting on personal data. The results contribute to a more nuanced understanding of adoption of the emerging wearable technology in daily life and how users deal with the personal data by developing coping tactics, such as disregard, procrastination, selective attribution and neglect.

A Conceptualization of Online Community Health.

Wagner, D., Richter, A., Trier, M., Wagner, H.-T. (2014). International Conference of Information Systems ICIS, Auckland, NZ.

Social media and online communities have become very popular in many business settings. As a consequence, an increasing amount of organizations employs professional teams of social media and community managers. These community managers are interested in creating and maintaining vibrant places of exchange. The notion of online community health has become a popular means by which community managers judge the condition or state of their communities. It has also been introduced to the literature, yet the concept remains underspecified and fragmented. In this paper, we work toward a construct conceptualization of online community health. First, we review and integrate the literature on organizational health and  online community success. Furthermore, we engage in dialogue with specialists in the field to ground the construct of online community health in practice. As a result, we develop a multi-dimensional construct of online community health, consisting of seven elements. In writing this paper, we attempt to foster theory development around new organizational forms by advancing a new and important construct. The paper further provides guidance to the managers of social media and online communities by taking a systematic look at the well-being of their communities.

Mixed methods analysis of enterprise social networks.

Behrendt, S.; Richter, A.; Trier, M. (2014). Computer Networks, Vol. 75, No. Part B, 2014, p. 560–577.

The increasing use of enterprise social networks (ESN) generates vast amounts of data, giving researchers and managerial decision makers unprecedented opportunities for analysis. However, more transparency about the available data dimensions and how these can be combined is needed to yield accurate insights into the multi-facetted phenomenon of ESN use. In order to address this issue, we first conducted a systematic literature review to identify available data dimensions and integrated them into a conceptual framework. We then adopted this framework as part of a mixed methods research approach to comprehensively analyze an empirical ESN case. With our results serving as a proof of concept we show the insights that can be derived from different data dimensions and how combining these can improve the validity of the analysis. The application of the framework also allows us to derive a detailed guideline for combining different data sources in ESN analysis to support researchers and decision makers.

Sympathy or Strategy: Social Capital Drivers for Contributing to the Scientific IS Community

Trier, M.; Molka-Danielsen, J. (2013). European Journal of Information Systems, Vol. 22, Nr. 3, 2013, p. 317-335.

Despite growing interest in delineating the social identity of Information Systems (IS) research and the network structures of its scholarly community, little is known about how the IS community network is shaped by individual conceptions and what motivates IS researchers to engage in research collaboration.   Using an exploratory theoretical framework that is based on three dimensions of social capital theory we examined 32 years of scientific co-authorship in an international IS researcher community.  We formulated propositions to empirically examine the multi-level relationships between personal drivers and the resulting complex network organization of the IS community.  Our propositions are refined with qualitative interviews and tested using a survey.  This process revealed a collaborative research culture with several individual dispositions, including a strategic structural focus, a cognitive focus and a relational focus.  These exist among actors displaying a range of differing behaviours such as active engagement and passive serendipity.  Our study indicates individual differences at the conception stage of engaging in academic collaboration impact on the resulting network level configuration. We identified that regional preference, maturity life cycles, and lack of small world properties highlight the important role of senior members as structural backbones and brokers within the IS community.

The Blogosphere as Œuvre: Individual and Collective Influences on Bloggers

Kalb, H., Trier, M. (2012). European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS 2012).

Blogging has often been described as writing an online diary but, nowadays, it is more diverse and a considerable amount of blogs forms a common interconnected resource – the blogosphere – with comprehensive societal impact. While various studies have inquired social-psychological influences on the intention to contribute to an individual blog, the perceptions related to creating such a common valuable good have not yet been focussed. Therefore, we introduce a new construct – the œuvre of blogging – to better account for the notion of the blogosphere as a collective outcome. Furthermore, we propose a research model to inquire the influence of individual and collective beliefs on the œuvre in comparison to short-term blogging activity. We conducted an online survey with 509 international distributed bloggers to test our model. The results of our study provide support for the importance of an œuvre construct to explain influences on bloggers and blogging.

Towards Dynamic Visualization for Understanding Evolution of Digital Communication Networks 

Trier, M. (2008). Information Systems Research, Vol.19 Nr.3, 2008, p.335-350.

The capabilities offered by digital communication are leading to the evolution of new network structures that are grounded in communication patterns. As these structures are significant for organizations, much research has been devoted to understanding network dynamics in ongoing processes of electronic communication. A valuable method for this objective is Social Network Analysis. However, its current focus on quantifying and interpreting aggregated static relationship structures suffers from some limitations for the domain of analyzing online communication with high volatility and massive exchange of timed messages. To overcome these limitations, this paper presents a method for event-based dynamic network visualization and analysis together with its exploratory social network intelligence software Commetrix. Based on longitudinal data of corporate e-mail communication, the paper demonstrates how exploration of animated graphs combined with measuring temporal network changes identifies measurement artifacts of static network analysis, describes community formation processes and network lifecycles, bridges actor level with network level analysis by  analyzing structural impact of actor activities, and measures how network structures react to external events. The methods and findings improve our understanding of dynamic phenomena in online communication and motivate novel metrics that complement Social Network Analysis.

The Use of Instant Messaging in Working Relationship Development.

Cho, H.-K., Trier M., Kim E. (2005). Journal of Computer-mediated Communication, Vol 10, Nr. 4, 2005.

This article examines how Instant Messaging (IM) systems help employees of a Korean organization improve their relationships with their coworkers within and across organizational boundaries—within departments, between departments, and outside the organization. We briefly review literature about IM in developing working relationships and build our research questions. We then provide data analysis results based on a survey and structured interviews. Subsequently, in an exploratory case study of two individuals, we extend the analysis of departmental boundaries by including hierarchical levels, job profiles, and different communication purposes. Quantitative Social Network Analysis and visualization are used to analyze the communication pattern of the two individuals.