Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 35 Number 2 2018 pp. 610-646

The Rise of the Promoters: User Classes and Contribution Patterns in Enterprise Social Media

Bulgurcu, Burcu, Van Osch, Wietske, and Kane, Gerald C (Jerry)


The proliferation of enterprise social media (ESM) has created opportunities for employees to self-organize around common goals or interests. However, little is known about the different user classes that exist in ESM and the factors that drive contributions to ESM communities. Using multilevel analyses of secondary data from the ESM of a global organization, we find that (1) although ESM communities reflect a core-periphery structure similar to that identified in other forms of online communities, nearly two-thirds of the users represent promoters—a distinct class of users who use the platform primarily to post promotional content without viewing existing content created by others; and (2) despite individual differences in user type, the actual contribution to an ESM community is the result of an intricate interaction between a user’s disposition for participation and a set of group characteristics. Our findings suggest that recognizing the unique contribution patterns of different user groups is key to understanding participation in ESM communities.

Key words and phrases: collaboration, enterprise social media, group size, group visibility, online communities, promoters, social media participation