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Instant messaging has become increasingly prevalent in social life. However, whether to use IM at work remains controversial, due to its unquantified benefits for organizations. In this study we employ the suggestive metaphor of social network theory to examine IM's impact on organizational performance. Specifically, we propose that IM has the potential to enhance organizational agility by enabling quality communication, building interlocutors' mutual trust and establishing relationship networks in the workplace. The conceptual model is validated by 253 survey responses collected from employees of Chinese organizations. The data indicates that IM supports social networks, which contribute substantially to organizational agility. The theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.
Date of Conference: 9-15 May 2010