Enterprise Social Networking (ESN) is a relatively new phenomenon. It refers to the application of Internet platforms for relationship building and short message exchanges in the context of workplace communication. While a number of case studies have provided evidence of its usefulness, a more comprehensive and structured overview of ESN is needed. In this study we carry out a cross-case comparison of five indepth ESN case studies that have elicited use practices using genre analysis. A comparison of these case results allows us to derive a comprehensive catalogue of ESN use cases that demonstrates the versatility of ESN. Our study has two main contributions. Firstly, we present a use case catalogue in a structured and accessible form, which we term the S.O.C.I.A.L. framework. The framework provides an overview of ESN that is useful for decision-makers who want to guide the rollout and adoption in their organisation.
Secondly, in part to caution against the use of the framework as a blueprint or recipe, we demonstrate the contextual nature of ESN by way of different contextual profiles of ESN in teams, projects and large enterprises.
Our study provides a stepping-stone for future ESN research, since the S.O.C.I.A.L. framework provides a more refined understanding of ESN as both a broad and contextual phenomenon.