Marc Zuckerberg, the father of the most well-known social network recently stated: “I think a simple rule of business is, if you do the things that are easier first, then you can actually make a lot of progress”.
We probably all believe in the use of social media and social networking pages, however up until now there was no academic evidence that job related use of social media for procurement managers actually positively affects their job performance.
A recent study of Maastricht University, School of Business and Economics (NL) revealed interesting insights and proofs that social media, if used and applied correctly for the job, can actually increase individual job performance of procurement professionals. Prof. Dr. Frank Rozemeijer and Jonas Heller developed two research models – the one that explains the relationship of the job-related social media usage and procurement job performance will be covered in this article.
Companies usually tend to block social network sites for their employees to prevent distraction at the workplace or reduce the perceived security threat of public networks. According to the study of Maastricht University, procurement companies should reevaluate their social media policies for their procurement professionals.
The study tested the relationship of active and passive job related social media usage on procurement job performance. “Active” job related social media usage is defined as creating & sharing content with the community or engaging in on-line discussions communication, whereas “passive” usage implies searching and consuming content created by others. A positive direct relationship was found for both, active and passive job related social media usage.
Networking and Learning
In addition, to understand how the use of social platforms affects the procurement manager’s performance, the study investigated on two important tasks which are part of a procurement manager’s job: Networking capabilities and individual learning.
Networking capabilities are described as a managers capabilities to establish, maintain and develop (business) networks. Individual learning describes an individual’s capability to build knowledge through reflection about external stimuli and sources, and through using this knowledge in the workplace.
Procurement managers nowadays need a dense network of suppliers and industry contacts to ensure sustainable business performance. Connecting with peers in the procurement world helps procurement managers to maintain an overview over the market and fosters buyer-supplier relationships.
In addition, staying up to date about market developments, technological innovations and changes in rules and regulations are a crucial part of the learning process of every procurement manager’s job. Based on literature and semi-structured interviews with procurement managers, a research model was developed which was tested through an on-line survey amongst 103 procurement professionals from various industries that were active on social media.
First, the study found a direct, positive relationship of active and passive job related social media usage on procurement job performance. The direct effect of passive job related social media usage on procurement job performance is stronger than the direct effect of active social media usage.
Active Social Media
Further, the results showed that networking capabilities and individual learning fully mediate the direct positive effect of active social media, indicating that the positive effect is only present if social media is used for networking or learning activities (e.g. acquiring knowledge online by reading tweets or group discussions in procurement networks such as Procurious). Furthermore, the relationship of passive social media usage is partially mediated by networking capabilities and individual learning, suggesting that there are additional variables that still need to be investigated to explain this relationship.
The direct positive effect of networking capabilities and individual learning underlines the importance of these two activities for procurement professionals that aim to perform better than their colleagues.
The findings of this study are the first of its kind and finally proof a positive impact of job related social media usage on procurement job performance. Those insights can be crucial for procurement managers and recruiters. In a next article you will read about factors to influence job related social media usage within your company or procurement team.