Web 2.0 messaging tools for knowledge management? Exploring the potentials of slack

Sebastian Dennerlein, Robert Gutounig, Eva Goldgruber, Stefan Schweiger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


There are many web-based tools like social networks, collaborative writing, or messaging tools that connect organizations in accordance with web 2.0 principles. Slack is such a web 2.0 instant messaging tool. As per developer, it integrates the entire communication, file-sharing, real-time messaging, digital archiving and search at one place. Usage in line with these functionalities would reflect expected appropriation, while other usage would account for unexpected appropriation. We explored which factors of web 2.0 tools determine actual usage and how they affect knowledge management (KM). Therefore, we investigated the relation between the three influencing factors, proposed tool utility from developer side, intended usage of key implementers, and context of application, to the actual usage in terms of knowledge activities (generate, acquire, organize, transfer and save knowledge). We conducted episodic interviews with key implementers in five different organizational contexts to understand how messaging tools affect KM by analyzing the appropriation of features. Slack was implemented with the intention to enable exchange between project teams, connecting distributed project members, initiate a community of learners and establish a communication platform. Independent of the context, all key implementers agreed on knowledge transfer, organization and saving in accordance with Slack's proposed utility. Moreover, results revealed that a usage intention of internal management does not lead to acquisition of external knowledge, and usage intention of networking not to generation of new knowledge. These results suggest that it is not the context of application, but the intended usage that mainly affects the tool's efficacy with respect to KM: I.e. intention seems to affect tool selection, first, explaining commonalities with respect to knowledge activities (expected appropriation) and, subsequently, intention also affects unexpected appropriation beyond the developers' tool utility. A messaging tool is, hence, not only a messaging tool, but it is 'what you make of it!'.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 17th European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM 2016
EditorsBrendan Galbraith, Sandra Moffett, Brendan Galbraith
PublisherAcademic Conferences Limited
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781911218029
ISBN (Print)9781911218036
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameProceedings of the European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM
ISSN (Print)2048-8963
ISSN (Electronic)2048-8971


  • Intended use
  • Knowledge activities
  • Knowledge management
  • Slack
  • Web 2.0 tools


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