In search of trust: a model of trust construals in Instant Messaging
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Organizational theorists have highlighted the importance of social interaction and practice as the channels through which knowledge is generated and transferred (Nonaka and Toyama 2005). More specifically, scholars have proposed that organizational knowledge is created through the interaction between tacit (i.e. subjective and experience-based knowledge such as cognitive skills, know-how, beliefs, intuition and technical skills) and explicit (i.e. objective and rational knowledge that can be written down) knowledge (Nonaka and Takeuchi 1995). It stands to reason that discourse and dialogue among people in the workplace are crucial to both processes. According to Nonaka (1994), the process that transfers implicit knowledge from one person to another is socialization and the process for making tacit knowledge explicit is externalization. In face-to-face communication people share beliefs and cognitive processes through instantaneous feedback and the simultaneous exchange of ideas. This takes place among individuals within a group (Von Krogh, Ichijo, and Nonaka 2000). Against this backdrop, Instant messaging (IM), intended as an Internet based quasi-synchronous exchange of text chat-messages with face-to-face communication between users on the same system, has offered a valuable object of inquiry. New social web systems have contributed greatly to knowledge sharing in the business system through interactive and collaborative technologies, which not only provide organizations with access to information dispersed in society, but also by enhancing inter- and intra-connectivity facilitate knowledge flow. Recently, researchers in the field have turned the spotlight on how face-to-face and other forms of online (near)-synchronous communication make it possible for new organizational knowledge to emerge and be shared (Osimo 2008; Tsoukas 2009). Indeed, it has been argued that IMing, by connecting working professionals in multiple social networks, has the potential to contribute to knowledge transfer and generation (Ou, Leung and Davison 2014). The increased usage of IM for business or professional purposes[i]has addressed research on a range of linguistic issues inherent to the changes that these new forms of real time communication have brought about in discourse and language as compared to other forms of communication that do not rely on instantaneity of interactions. Yet very little has been produced so far as concerns the linguistic analysis of actual IM transmissions collected in business environments. This might be due to the high sensitivity of data, which makes access and retrievability often far too ambitious. The present study proposes an analysis of real IMing transmissions as part of a workplace community discursive practice. The first part of the paper will be devoted to define trust in working environments where IM systems have been adopted to facilitate immediacy of interactions within multilingual communities located worldwide. In such context, IMing entails concepts of interpersonal trust in organizations such as trustworthiness of the interlocutors - or the system, language-based idiosyncratic stratagems and their implications on trust processes. The second part will analyse instantiations of the meaning-making constructs hinging on the notion of trust, as theorized beforehand, in a corpus of data containing both IM transmission texts and information retrieved from interviews with users and managerial staff. The last part will discuss the findings and draw conclusions. Lo studio propone un'analisi critica del concetto di 'trust' come si esplica nel discorso aziendale online. Nello specifico, si analizzano realizzazioni del concetto di 'trust' in tipologie attuali e ad ampio uso, soprattutto in ambienti internazionali, di comunicazione istantanea in cui l'immediatezza e dinamicità della modalità, necessitando di presupposti di fiducia nel rapporto interpersonale non solo tra partecipanti interni al gruppo di discussione, ma estesi a partecipanti 'esterni', mettono in discussione precedenti modelli di analisi. L'approccio metodologico si avvale di un modello originale che suggerisce la ricerca delle realizzazioni di 'trust' nel discorso online all'interno di una cornice cross-situazionale e cross-personale e considera rappresentazioni di 'trust' su base cognitiva ed emotiva a livello pragmatico e lessicogrammaticale.
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