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Analyzing the Impact of Enterprise Social Media on
Employees’ Competency through the Mediating Role of
Knowledge Sharing
Miaojie Chen 1, *, Mehtab Babar 2 , Ammar Ahmed 3 and Muhammad Irfan 4, *
Citation: Chen, M.; Babar, M.;
Ahmed, A.; Irfan, M. Analyzing the
Impact of Enterprise Social Media on
College of Communication, Xijing University, Xi’an 710123, China
Department of Commerce, Government College of Commerce, Multan 60030, Pakistan;
Department of Management Sciences, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Engineering and Technology,
Multan 60030, Pakistan; ammar.ahmed@mnsuet.edu.pk
Institute of Banking and Finance, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan 60800, Pakistan
Correspondence: chenzhang0718@126.com (M.C.); dr.mirfan@bzu.edu.pk (M.I.)
Abstract: The research study examines the impact of enterprise social media (ESM) on employees’
competence through the mediating role of knowledge sharing and the moderating influence of
information relevance. The study was conducted with 272 respondents working in various educational institutions in Multan City, Pakistan, using a structured questionnaire to collect data. The
research findings indicate that enterprise social media positively affects employees’ competencies,
and knowledge sharing plays a significant role in mediating this effect. The study also suggests
that information relevance moderates the relationship between ESM and employees’ competencies,
indicating that the association is stronger when information relevance is high. The research is based
on the social capital theory, which proposes that trust, shared vision, and network ties can enhance
employee competence and knowledge sharing. This theoretical framework emphasizes the importance of building organizational social connections to promote knowledge sharing and employee
competence. The study highlights the potential benefits of using ESM in organizations to enhance
employees’ competencies through improved knowledge sharing. It also emphasizes the importance
of information relevance in determining the effectiveness of ESM in promoting employee competence.
The findings of this study have practical implications for organizations seeking to leverage ESM to
improve their employees’ skills and knowledge.
Employees’ Competency through the
Mediating Role of Knowledge
Sharing. Sustainability 2023, 15, 9499.
Keywords: enterprise social media; knowledge sharing; employees’ competence; information
relevance; social capital theory
Academic Editor: Assunta Di Vaio
Received: 21 April 2023
Revised: 3 June 2023
Accepted: 7 June 2023
Published: 13 June 2023
Copyright: © 2023 by the authors.
Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
This article is an open access article
distributed under the terms and
conditions of the Creative Commons
Attribution (CC BY) license (https://
1. Introduction
Enterprise social media (ESM) has become an open civic platform built on Internet
technology’s philosophical and technical foundations. Its usage has progressively spread
to the workplace, where workers interact, communicate, and exchange knowledge, information, and ideas with their co-workers [1]. Many social media tools, including WhatsApp,
Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Trello, Slack, and DingTalk etc., have widely been adopted
by business enterprises to facilitate collaboration, knowledge sharing, and employee communication [2].
As defined by researchers, ESM tools have multiple distinctive features that shape
them differently from other communication tools. For example, the employees can view
other fellows’ communication and interaction and share knowledge and information in
highly sophisticated manner [3]. Several benefits relating to ESM usage within organizations have stimulated researchers and scholars to explore the influence of enterprise
social media usage on employees’ productivity [4–6]. The workers’ agility is considered
Sustainability 2023, 15, 9499. https://doi.org/10.3390/su15129499
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their expertise to act and modify themselves to cope with changes in the external environment [5,7].
The scope of enterprise social media goes beyond communication. Rather, it serves
as a social collaboration platform that manages knowledge sharing, employee interaction,
learning, data communication, and an organizations’ human resources [8,9]. Finding
helpful and relevant information on an ESM site positively influences our attitudes [10]. It
also positively influences our psychological condition [11].
Social media is the most employed and popular communication network. It has been
defined by multiple scholars in multiple ways and styles, and according to a study, no
single unanimous definition of social media exists so far [12]. Drury discovered that it is a
blend of online sources we use to share information, movies, graphics, messages, news, and
even gossip [13]. The youth widely use it to share their academic and political knowledge
and relevant material (information) with other fellows and friends [14].
It facilitates communication between individuals and the exchange of ideas and data.
The term “social media”, or “SSNs” for short, alludes to a group of social networking sites.
Its widespread use is likely attributable to the utility of its social media capabilities, its userfriendly interface, and the vast array of services it offers, such as communication facilitation
and information dissemination [15]. According to a study, as the Internet has developed,
the use of social media has increased dramatically [16]. Technology has penetrated every
aspect of our existence. In addition, it promotes and supports a system of responsiveness
and feedback, which is a crucial element of collaborative and reciprocal education [17].
According to a study, smartphone usage has increased in recent years, making them an
indispensable resource for social networking applications. Additionally, it has simplified
and streamlined the examining process [18].
Despite the novelty of the subject, there has been a great deal of interest in it; numerous studies have catalogued how businesses use corporate social media [19]. Although
numerous studies have been conducted on social media in the workplace, most have concentrated on a single corporate social media tool or technology (such as a wiki, blog, or
microblog) [20].
The possibilities of enterprise social media technologies in the workplace have been
viewed rigorously in previous works. However, most employees in an organization
use ESM tools or technologies to complete their duties [21]. Findings recommend that
additional efforts be made to address the challenges and repercussions of using corporate
social media in the workplace. Such an effort is necessary to demonstrate how corporate
social medias differ from one another and how their use may influence the competence
and performance of employees [22].
The use of social media has a significant impact on the competency of employees
and the overall performance of businesses. Productivity and performance may decline
if employees lack the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their duties. Therefore,
the overall performance of the company suffers. Due to the increased use of social media
platforms, employees are more committed to their employment. Despite the prevalence
of social media in the workplace, 54% of employees who use social media tools at work
report feeling in control. The extensive use of SM technologies and strategies increases
the likelihood that employees will need more time to exchange relevant information and
expertise. To ensure that these resources are utilized effectively, it is necessary to establish
and enforce policies governing employee participation in social media. According to findings, the implementation of ESM has rapidly spread throughout enterprises [3]. Businesses
frequently rely on social media platforms for the internal exchange of information and
collaboration on projects. ESM networks are web-based solutions that enhance employee
knowledge sharing [23].
For ESM tools to be successfully deployed in an organization, workers must be encouraged to use them in their regular job duties [24–26]. Utilizing enterprise social media
networks and platforms for collaboration and information exchange can increase employee
productivity and competency [27].
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Because ESM is a voluntary tool, its effects may differ depending on which employees
employ it [28]. Consequently, the diversity of a company’s personnel may significantly
affect its ESM implementation. Positionally competent employees are more likely to utilize
the ESM tool effectively and efficiently than unproductive employees who waste time
on personal matters while on the clock. Productive individuals use ESM for its intended
purpose [29]. This study aims to determine how using intra-organizational social networks
for knowledge sharing influences an employees’ ability to perform job-related tasks. The
significance of the current study is heightened by the fact that ESM research in commercial
contexts is a focus. Only some studies have examined ESM usage and implementation
within organizations, particularly in the context of South Punjab (Pakistan) enterprises.
Due to the negative impact of employees’ inappropriate use of social networking sites
and networks on their efficacy and productivity, managers and administrators in these
companies need help efficiently using ESM technologies. Organizational use of enterprise
social media can aid in problem resolution if executed effectively and efficiently.
2. Literature Review and Hypothesis Development
2.1. The Enterprise Social Media (ESM)
Enterprise social media (ESM) is a collection of multiple tools, and its core objective is
to support and facilitate communication and coordination within organizations. Recent
enterprise social media (ESM) literature has delved into various aspects of its application,
impacts, and challenges in organizational settings. A study proposed a maturity model
for ESM in the context of digital transformation and SMEs, providing parameters for
evaluating and developing ESM initiatives [30]. Abhari et al. investigated ESM’s potential
to foster employee innovation, underlining the role of a risk-taking and knowledge-sharing
culture [31]. Another study explored how ESM supports collaboration and knowledge
sharing, emphasizing that successful ESM implementation depends on clearly defined
rules, managerial support, and alignment with business needs [32]. The study examined
the introduction of ESM platforms and their impact on digital work, highlighting that
organizational climate plays a critical role in the relationship between ESM use and the
intended outcomes [33]. A study conducted in the Sultanate of Oman in 2022 focused on
the motivators for knowledge workers when sharing knowledge through ESM, revealing
a significant effect of technological motivators on knowledge sharing. Li et al. presented
a comprehensive review of ESM research, visualizing the evolution of ESM research and
predicting future trends [34]. Finally, the investigation used a grounded theory approach to
study the impact of ESM use on employee performance, noting that ESM use affects work
performance through work efficiency and emotional maintenance [35].
2.2. Knowledge Sharing
Knowledge sharing is “the transfer of information useful for completing a task to
another person to assist them in carrying out a specific responsibility or duty [36]”. When
people exchange knowledge, they are better equipped to cooperate to solve issues, produce
new ideas, and conduct plans. According to a study [37], information exchange is the first
stage in minimizing ambiguity, which provides a competitive advantage, efficiency, and
effectiveness in individual learning and education. Due to scarcity, knowledge separates
itself from other organizational resources and is vital for every organization [38]. Knowledge should be split effectively to be kept and used to increase organizational performance.
A study defines “knowledge sharing” as “the act of imparting one’s expertise to others in
order to facilitate collaboration, problem-solving, the development of new ideas, and the
implementation of established ones [39]”.
2.3. Employee Competence
According to the study, employee competencies (EC) are necessary for adapting to
organizational and technological adjustments and cultivating essential creative skills [40].
EC is essential for anticipating organizational and technological disruptions. Two man-
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agement specialists concur that enhancing employees’ knowledge and skills are essential
for succeeding in an uncertain business environment [41,42]. Knowledge has a brief halflife, so businesses must invest in their employees’ adaptability to remain competitive in
industries where digitalization transforms how products are manufactured, developed,
consumed, and distributed [43]. This is because introducing digital technology has significantly changed product production, development, consumption, and distribution. On the
other hand, the OECD emphasizes the significance of employees’ knowledge and abilities
as the primary enablers of any creative activity. According to researchers, managers’ and
employees’ adaptability to new technologies and methods of working, as well as their
ability to develop the creative skills they require, should be more noticed [40].
2.4. Information Relevance
In the case of information science, an individual’s relevance of a document comprises
interest relevance that the technique it links to the subject’s interest, cognitive/reasoning
relevance (that is, how it impacts the knowledge state), situational relevance (its real
usefulness), and an affective relevance that is based on an emotional reaction exhibited
by the individuals [44]. The study demonstrates a framework that helps analyze the
relevance of information. The framework aims to lead information relevance prioritization
and filtering of information based on the degree of relevance in a specific situation. The
justification is here that with the help of proper prioritization and filtering procedures, the
decision-makers have access to the most relevant information to take action in a given
period [45].
2.5. Relationship between Enterprise Social Media and Employees Competency
Because more workplaces are becoming digital, there has been much discussion in
recent years about how business social media (ESM) influences employee skills. ESM
platforms make it simpler for workers to share information, network, and collaborate,
which could contribute to improved skills [46]. Confidence and open communication
in ESM networks are necessary to comprehend the competence and dependability of
others, which impacts the sharing of information and development of skills [47]. This is
consistent with other study, who discovered, in their analysis of generation Y employees in
India, that social media-enabled communities facilitate business insights, idea generation,
and information sharing, which is beneficial for skill development [48]. Another study
examined the effects of ESM systems on employee productivity and how they encourage
information sharing [49]. Similarly, a positive correlation between the use of social media
technology and the enhancement of knowledge processes was discovered, which resulted
in an increase in employee performance [50]. On the basis of these studies, it appears that
the motivation to use ESM and the positive feedback from enhancing knowledge are crucial
for competency development.
A study also investigated how the use of online social networks empowers employees within competency-based management, thereby encouraging employees to be more
innovative. This demonstrates how ESM can assist businesses in developing an innovative
mindset by enhancing the abilities of their employees [51]. Researchers discussed how ESM
combines talent management and knowledge management. According to them, successful
competency-based training recognizes employees as integral to the seamless operation of
business processes [52]. Another study also developed a method for a business to manage
and monitor social media by identifying skill and competency deficiencies [53]. Even
though these studies demonstrate that ESM can enhance employee skills, they also demonstrate the complexity of this relationship. The impact of ESM use on employee performance
is significantly influenced by trust, motivation, transparency, and company support. Therefore, for ESM to be effective, organizations that wish to enhance their employees’ skills
through ESM should consider the aforementioned factors. Overall, the research indicates a
correlation between the use of ESM and alterations in occupational skills. However, more
empirical research is required to learn more about this relationship and to determine how
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ESM affects employee competency. In the future, researchers may also investigate how
various types of ESM or different methods of utilizing ESM may have varying impacts on
employees’ skills.
2.6. Mediating Role of Knowledge Sharing (KS) between Enterprise Social Media (ESM) and
Employees’ Competence (EC)
The impact of enterprise social media (ESM) on employees’ skills and the function of
knowledge sharing as a mediator is a multifaceted field of study that examines a number
of key factors. In an intriguing study, the researchers discovered that confidence and
information sharing play opposing roles in the relationship between business use of social
media, open communication, and personal blogging. They emphasized the need for proficiency and dependability when using social media for business [47]. In a similar manner,
studies examined the role of information sharing in skill development and its impact
on generation Y employees. They discovered a direct correlation between developing
skills and exchanging information, and they concluded that sites such as communities of
practice that employ social media can facilitate this process [48]. Researchers examined
the role of leadership in fostering a culture of information exchange and innovation [54].
Unspoken and formal knowledge exchange, according to them, served as a link between
innovative leadership and parsimonious innovation. Another study also examined the
role of diversity-oriented leadership and internal communication in facilitating knowledge
sharing among employees during the COVID-19 epidemic [55]. Utilizing internal social
media platforms and intranets to meet the requirements of employees was found to significantly increase knowledge sharing. Investigators also investigated the effects of online
social networks and competency-based management on the capacity to generate new ideas.
They stated that well-managed and utilized online social networks can enhance creativity, and suggested that the function of knowledge transfer as an intermediary could be
tested [51]. Another study investigated how knowledge governance mechanisms (KGMs)
influence repatriates’ information sharing. They discovered that the motivation to share
information is a major factor connecting KGMs and repatriates’ knowledge sharing [56].
Researchers also investigated how conscientiousness affects informal information sharing.
The researchers discovered that eagerness and subjective norms can help explain this relationship [57]. On the other hand, studies demonstrated how training and bonuses have
distinct effects on employee performance and emphasized the importance of trust and
information sharing [58]. Last but not least, a study examined the situational awareness
effects of social media features on knowledge sharing. As a mediator, they discovered that
social media platforms can play a crucial role in facilitating knowledge sharing [59].
Utilizing social media technology greatly facilitates business and social communication
within an organization. Using Web 2.0 technology, it was created [60,61]. Facebook, Twitter,
Instagram, and YouTube have increased prominence as platforms where individuals can
access and share useful information [62]. Businesses and individuals utilize social media
platforms’ numerous opportunities to engage with and educate their target audiences [63].
Companies can gain a competitive advantage by using social media platforms to effectively
communicate with clients, employees, and other interested parties in order to create value
and foster collaboration within an organization [64]. According to a study, using social
media to facilitate knowledge exchange within an organization can potentially boost
individual and organizational performance [65].
As the adoption of enterprise social media platforms and tools increases, users become
increasingly collaborative and involved. Consequently, mobile devices can access ESM
resources, such as applications and tools, via the Internet [66]. Employee productivity is
influenced by stress, motivation, the character of the work environment, and employee
satisfaction [67]. Social factors influence how social media tools and technologies are linked
to employee performance [68]. Utilizing social media tools can increase an individual’s
work efficiency. Effectively utilizing SM tools and technologies results in the improved
task or job performance and the development and maintenance of positive relationships
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with colleagues and peers through the SM platform [60]. A study investigates the role of
institutional logic in cross-border acquisitions using Geely’s acquisition of Volvo as a case
study. They propose a matching process model, suggesting that aligning commercial and
social logic is key to navigating institutional pressures, achieved through compatibility,
complementarity, and co-evolution mechanisms. This offers insights for firms in developing
economies to manage cross-border acquisitions [69]. Another study applies an optimized
radial basis function (RBF) neural network model to improve credit risk management in
banks, specifically personal loan credit ratings.
The refined model enhances precision in handling non-numeric data and improves
robustness [70]. The research proposes a multi-type of transferable method (MTTM) for
missing link prediction in heterogeneous social networks utilizing adversarial neural networks. The novel MTTM, consisting of a generative predictor and discriminative classifier,
extracts transferable features among link types to enhance prediction performance [71].
Another study introduces a multilevel index system to evaluate and rate the crisis of
online public opinion. By harnessing deep learning for text emotion classification and
grey correlation analysis, their method accurately quantifies emotional indices and rates
crises during online public opinion dissemination [72]. In addition, it has been found that
increased use of social networking sites increases employees’ knowledge, competence, and
productivity [73]. Researchers assert that knowledge contributions are more important than
employee performance [74]. Organizations should leverage the benefits of social media
platforms and technology to improve internal stability and employee communication.
According to a new study on the development and evolution of artificial intelligence [75],
rapid advances in AI and the robotics revolution will radically supplant human labor
within organizations. Alternatively, technological advancements give organizations with
technically savvy employees more opportunities [76].
Technological advances appear worker-friendly and have a substantial, positive impact on the high-tech and medium-tech industrial sectors. Bojan Obrenovic and colleagues’
studies examine the impact of personality traits on tacit knowledge sharing in knowledgeintensive organizations [57]. The first study highlights the positive influence of conscientiousness on tacit knowledge sharing, with eagerness and subjective norms mediating
this relationship. Another study discovered that non-technical individuals would be denied opportunities to perform tasks that can be easily mechanized or computerized [77].
Employees in today’s businesses must improve their creative and social intellect to keep
their employment [78]. As robots proliferate, as predicted by artificial intelligence technologies (AIT), the cumulative revenues of technical employees and workers will decrease [79].
Due to the rapid development of new technologies, employees must proactively expand
their knowledge and skills [78].
According to a study, businesses may benefit from social media because it facilitates
two-way communication with clients and streamlines numerous aspects of public relations
(PR) and marketing [18]. It has been discovered that knowledge management discussion
groups on social media (SM) enhanced organizational performance through improved
communication and knowledge sharing [65]. According to a study social media has
improved access to business knowledge and expertise [60]. According to researchers,
knowledge and information exchange within companies are prevalent and frequently
viewed as profitable [80]; knowledge sharing (KS) is a crucial activity that enhances an
employee’s self-improvement, problem-solving, and learning skills [81].
If companies want their employees to share knowledge openly and constructively,
they must cultivate an open culture and implement motivational reward practices [82].
According to research, large multinational corporations, in particular, can profit from
the employment effect of investments in sustainable environmental growth [83]. Legal
information, knowledge sharing, and acquisition are linked to organizational performance,
so each research study above has emphasized the significance of providing knowledge.
In addition to the significance of knowledge exchange as a mediator between the ESM
tool and worker competence, the social exchange theory asserts that social ties are assets
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that can be leveraged to develop and accrue human capital. For instance, having a solid
foundation at home may help someone succeed in school and acquire qualifications that
will serve them well in their career. Due to ESM technologies, social media users exhibit
similar knowledge-sharing practices. On the other hand, knowledge sharing can potentially
increase employee competence. Therefore, knowledge transfer may be a moderating factor
between using ESM technologies and expanding staff capabilities. The research concludes
that business use of social media has a significant impact on employee skill development,
with knowledge sharing playing a central role. This relationship can be influenced by
numerous factors, including trust, leadership style, communication strategy, psychological
characteristics, and social media characteristics. This suggests that additional empirical
investigation in various contexts is required.
The current study is based on social capital, which holds that an individual’s network
of friends, family, and colleagues can benefit a company’s human capital. When employees
have frequent social interactions, they are more aware and involved. This is the direct cause
of the increased proficiency of the personnel. For instance, a solid foundation at home
may facilitate academic achievement, paving the way for acquiring highly coveted and
monetarily lucrative certifications and specializations. From the perspective of evolutionary
relationships, “social capital” is frequently used to refer to the value a person’s network of
peers and acquaintances provides. Organizational members utilize social media to remain
in contact and share their knowledge. Enterprise social media (ESM) similarly increases
knowledge transmission within an organization, enhancing employee competency.
Therefore, the following hypothesis were formulated:
Hypothesis 1 (H1). Knowledge sharing mediates the positive relationship between enterprise social
media and employees’ competence.
2.7. Moderating Effect of Information Relevance between Enterprise Social Media (ESM) and
Employees’ Competence (EC) and between Knowledge Sharing (KS) and Employees’ Competence (EC)
The purpose of internal knowledge sharing is to facilitate the circulation of new
information within an organization [48]. Workers share and acquire problem-solving
skills, decision-making processes, standard operating procedures, coding conventions,
climate preferences, and project-related information [84,85]. As a consequence of social
interfaces and interactions among colleagues, new knowledge is generated, and staff
competencies are enhanced [86]. Several studies have demonstrated a correlation between
information sharing, employee competence, and organizational learning [86–90]. According
to a qualitative study of Chinese human resource specialists [91,92], knowledge sharing (KS)
adapts and encourages career progression and learning direction to facilitate employees’
competency development. Similarly, a study found a significant relationship between KS
and the professional development of 84 accounting professionals [85]. According to a study,
organizational learning and information exchange contribute to developing employees’
skills in a culture that fosters autonomy and transparency [93].
Review-based research in the same field indicates that knowledge sharing and exchange through social communication enhances the abilities of organizational members and
employees [94]. Moreover, generation Y professionals are constantly seeking new information and advancement opportunities [95]. In order to understand business concepts, ideas,
and information, employees place a greater emphasis on sharing their knowledge and
skills within the organization [48]. Therefore, firms that encourage employee knowledge
exchange via social media platforms will contribute to the professional development of
their employees. Since frequent ESM users use their accounts for professional and personal
purposes, the information they receive must be timely and relevant [96]. Information
saturation, user attrition, and social exhaustion are interconnected. According to a study,
the importance of information relevance in corporate social media cannot be overstated [97].
Users are drawn to topics that pique their interest, and when that content loses its relevance,
the positive special effects diminish rapidly [98].
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Information relevance can influence users’ social exhaustion and desire to leave a
social media tool or website [96]. This study examines knowledge sharing (KS) and
employee competence (EC), with information relevance as a bridge between the concepts.
When utilizing ESM tools for knowledge and information sharing among employees, the
researchers discovered that the function of information relevance was extremely significant.
The researcher hypothesizes that if employees do not share critical knowledge and expertise,
their performance and competency, as well as the performance of the organization, will
suffer. The findings support the viewpoint of the researcher. Relevant information protects
social media users from excess information and social fatigue [96].
The current study is based on social capital, which holds that an individual’s network
of friends, family, and colleagues can benefit a company’s human capital. When employees
have frequent social interactions, they are more aware and involved. This is the direct cause
of the increased proficiency of the personnel. For instance, a solid foundation at home
may facilitate academic achievement, paving the way for acquiring highly coveted and
monetarily lucrative certifications and specializations. From the perspective of evolutionary
relationships, “social capital” is frequently used to refer to the value a person’s network
of peers and acquaintances provides. Organizational members utilize social media to
remain in contact and share their knowledge. Employees are expected to communicate
only pertinent data. Accurate data strengthens the connection between a company’s
social media and employee competence. Other variables, most notably the significance
of the information, weaken the correlation between knowledge exchange and employee
Therefore, it can be concluded that if employees share only relevant information, it
will raise their level of competency. From the above discussion, it can be hypothesized that:
Hypothesis 2a (H2a). Information relevance will moderate the direct positive relationship between
knowledge sharing and employee competency such that the relationship is strong when information
relevance is high.
Hypothesis 2b (H2b). Information relevance will moderate the indirect positive relationship
between ESM and employee competency such that the relationship is strong when information
relevance is high.
2.8. Theoretical Framework
In the current study, the researcher aims to explore the influence of enterprise social
media over organizational employees’ competence through the mediating effect of knowledge sharing and via moderating effect of information relevance. The researcher believes
that employee competency is largely influenced due to social media usage by its employees,
and it also affects the overall performance of the organizations.
The framework shown in Figure 1 is a mediation–moderation model in which social
media (IV) indirectly affects employee competence (DV) through the mediator of knowledge sharing and the moderator of information relevance. The social cognitive theory
supports the concept that knowledge sharing leads to employee learning and development,
leading to employee competence. Additionally, the social exchange theory supports the
idea that knowledge sharing is influenced by the perceived relevance of the information
being shared. Mediator, knowledge sharing, refers to exchanging information and ideas
between individuals or groups. The knowledge sharing theory proposes that employees
are more likely to learn from one another and improve their competence when they are
encouraged to share knowledge. In this model, knowledge sharing is how social media use
impacts employee competence. Information relevance refers to the degree to which shared
information is perceived as useful or applicable to the employee’s job. The social exchange
theory posits that individuals are likelier to share knowledge when they believe the information will be reciprocated or rewarded. In this model, information relevance moderates
the relationship between knowledge sharing and employee competence, suggesting that the
impact of knowledge sharing on employee competence is stronger when the information
Sustainability 2023, 15, 9499
they are encouraged to share knowledge. In this model, knowledge sharing is how social
media use impacts employee competence. Information relevance refers to the degree to
which shared information is perceived as useful or applicable to the employee’s job. The
social exchange theory posits that individuals are likelier to share knowledge when they
believe the information will be reciprocated or rewarded. In this model, information rele9 of 21
vance moderates the relationship between knowledge sharing and employee competence,
suggesting that the impact of knowledge sharing on employee competence is stronger
when the information being shared is perceived as more relevant. Overall, this framework
being shared
suggests that
that is
knowledge sharing and that the relationship between knowledge sharing and employee
competence is influenced by the relevance of the information being shared. Organizations
by the relevance of the information being shared. Organizations can design interventions
can design interventions to promote knowledge sharing and improve employee competo promote knowledge sharing and improve employee competence by understanding these
tence by understanding these mechanisms.
3. Methodology
3. Methodology
3.1. Population and Sampling
3.1. Population and Sampling
The population for the current study is comprised of managers and non-managers
The population
the current
is comprised
of managers
and non-managers
in food and for
in Multan
and its surrounding
areas. In
in food
in Multan
and industry
its surrounding
the present
to focus onoperating
the food and
was informed
inby several factors. The industry’s characteristics make it fertile ground for our investigation.
The food and beverage sector is an intricate web of operations, spanning the sourcing of
food and beverage
is an intricate
operations, spanning
raw materials,
This inherent
of raw
sales, and
among employees,
the industry
sharing of
a suitablecomplexity
backdrop against
to examine
the influence
social media
industry sharing
a suitable
to examine
the influence of enterprise soknowledge
cial media
on knowledge
and, was
our choicesharing
of industry
also guided
of relevance and
generalizability. The food and beverages sector represents a significant part of
the economy
food and beverages
sector represents
a significant
of theinsights
econin Multan and itsThe
areas. Therefore,
our findings
could offerpart
key local industry.
the same our
we anticipate
that the
in Multan
andtoitsa surrounding
could offer
of our study
be generalized
to a keytolocal
At the
same time,
practical considerations
results of our study
be generalized
to other
especially thosealso
fluenced our
decision. Factors such
ease of access
to companies
and as
with the food
also influenced
such and
as ease
of access
to companies
and conretributed to our choice.
We believe
not onlyindustry,
the pre-existing
research process
with the
rebut will
also enhance
the credibility
of our
Due to
to our
We believe
these factors
only faciliresources
and time,
a non-probability
was employed
the research
but will alsoconvenience
enhance thesampling
and applicability
of our
collect data.
preferred, it was
not feasible
to constraints
in resources
a non-probability
pling technique was employed to collect data. Although probability sampling is typically
Howpreferred, it was not feasible for the researcher to implement it in this study. Given a
ever, some
other researchers
that to is
an to
the minimum
size recommended
of 200 respondents
apply thesample
equation modeling SEM tool [99]. However, some other researchers have recommended
ratio, that is (21 × 10 = 210). We have 21 items in our questionnaire. Accordingly, there
should be at least 210 respondents. In our studies, 272 respondents participated.
3.2. Scales
The survey utilized for this study was designed using questions derived from prior
research, ensuring its validity and reliability. Responses were captured using a five-point
Likert scale, ranging from 1 for ‘strongly disagree’ to 5 for ‘strongly agree’. Enterprise
social media (ESM) was evaluated using a six-item Likert scale [102], a measure previously
employed [6]. Knowledge sharing was gauged using a six-item Likert scale [87], a scale that
was also used by a study [103]. Employee competence was measured through a four-item
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Likert scale developed [104], and information relevance was assessed using a five-item
scale [105]. All the scales utilized were adopted from previous studies, reinforcing their
validity and reliability.
3.3. Data Analysis
The data were analyzed using smart pls and SPSS software. The data analysis was
performed to determine the descriptive statistics, inter-correlations, Cronbach’s Alpha, and
analytical approach. A total of 272 employees participated in the study, most of whom
were male. Most respondents were between 21–40 years old, and the highest percentage
had a post-graduate degree. In terms of experience, more than 50% of the respondents had
0–5 years of experience. The correlational analysis indicated a significant positive relationship between enterprise social media and employee competence. Similarly, there is a
positive relationship between enterprise social media and knowledge sharing, and knowledge sharing is positively associated with employee competence. To assess the appropriate
level of analysis, infraclass coefficient-1 (ICC1) and infraclass coefficient-2 (ICC2) were
calculated, which indicated that multilevel methods could be used. The corrected and
adjusted F-statistic was also estimated to validate the results. For hypothesis testing, a
mediation analysis was performed using Hayes’s “PROCESS MACRO” [106].
4. Results
4.1. Demographic Analysis
As the collected data recommends, the ratio of males compared to female respondents
is extremely high; 84.92% of the total respondents consisted of males, and the remaining
15.07% consisted of females. A first glimpse at the data shows that most respondents
were 21–40 years of age; that is, 60.66% of respondents lie in this age group. The ratio of
other age groups 20 or less, 41–60, and above 60 years was 17.65%, 20.96%, and 0.74%,
respectively. It has been observed that about 31.62% of the total research respondents were
graduates, 19.49% of respondents were middle/matriculation, 20.22% were intermediate,
and 28.68% of the research respondents were post-graduates. In terms of the experience of
managers/non-managers, 50.74% of the total participants had 0 to 5 years of experience,
18.38% had 6–10 years of experience, 15.07% had less than 6 years, and the remaining
15.81% had more than 15 years of experience.
4.2. Descriptive Statistics
The descriptive statistics for all four variables in the study have been provided in
Table 1 below, including the standard deviation, mean, inter-correlation, and Cronbach’s
alpha. The correlational analysis clearly states a significant positive relationship between
enterprise social media and employee competence (r = 0.41, p < 0.01). A positive relationship
exists between enterprise social media and knowledge sharing (r = 0.38, p < 0.01). The
correlational analysis also demonstrates that knowledge sharing is positively/significantly
associated with employees’ competence (r = 0.42, p < 0.01).
Table 1. Intercorrelations, descriptive statistics, and estimated reliabilities among the latent variables.
0.05 *
Experience in Service Industry
0.12 **
0.16 *
Enterprise Social Media
−0.25 −0.27 0.38 **
Knowledge Sharing
Notes: N = 272 employees; significant at: * p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01; figures in parentheses are alpha internal
consistency reliabilities.
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4.3. Analytical Approach
Despite their diverse organizational backgrounds, all study participants were employed in the same office and reported to the same manager. As a result, the results of an
ordinary least squares (OLS) regression may contain inaccurate and misleading data and
biased estimates of the standard error (SE). To determine the appropriate level of research,
we first calculated the infraclass coefficient-1 (ICC1), which quantifies the variance across
supervisors, and the infraclass coefficient-2 (ICC2), which indicates the consistency of supervisors. This allowed us to determine the optimal investigational depth. The ICC1 values
for enterprise social media, knowledge sharing, employee competency, and information
relevance were all 0.10, whereas the ICC2 values ranged from 0.08 to 0.27, 10.3 to 33.0, and
0.25 to 0.25. Since all of our coefficient values fall within Cicchetti’s permissible range of
0.7, we may employ multilevel techniques [107].
The corrected and adjusted F-statistic has been determined to be statistically significant,
with neither having a value less than 0.10. In order to comply with the recommendations,
Kenny states that when the infraclass coefficients are greater than 0.30, the researcher
must investigate each variable in his model individually [108]. The “PROCESS MACRO”
function included in Hayes’ (2013) Statistical Package for the Social Sciences was used to
evaluate the mediation-related first hypothesis [106,109]. Previous research used model-4 of
the “PROCESS macro” for the mediation [110–112]. Hypothesis (H2) and model-7 was used
for the moderated–mediation model. These models have been utilized for their respective
4.3.1. Test of Mediation
The evaluation outcomes of mediation are displayed in Tables 2 and 3 below. Both
employee competence (B =0.46, t = 0.13, p < 0.001) and knowledge sharing (B =1.19,
t = 12.30, p < 0.001) are significantly positively correlated with enterprise social media
(ESM). The study also discovered a positive association between KS and EC (B =0.52,
t = 4.04, p < 0.001). Table C provides additional information regarding the positive effects
of enterprise social media (ESM) on employee competence via knowledge sharing (B =0.26,
LLCI = 0.34, and ULCI = 0.09).
Table 2. Results of the mediation analysis.
Knowledge Sharing
Employee Competence
5.65 ***
12.30 ***
11.70 ***
5.68 ***
4.04 ***
0.54 ***
Enterprise Social
Knowledge Sharing
Control Variables
0.48 ***
*** p < 0.001.
In addition to conducting a Sobel test with a bootstrapped 95% confidence interval to
determine the indirect effects of workplace social media on employee competency through
knowledge sharing (Sobel z = 2.81, p < 0.001), we conducted a normal theory test. According
to the findings, the positive relationship between corporate social media and employee
competence is mediated by the dissemination of information among employees. The
study’s findings support this interpretation. Thus, H1 has been validated and is gaining
support, which asserts that knowledge sharing mediates the positive relationship between
corporate social media and employee competency.
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Table 3. Results of direct, indirect, total and normal theory effects.
2.81 ***
Direct effects
Enterprise Social Media on Employee Competence
Indirect effects
Enterprise Social Media on Employee Competence via Knowledge Sharing
Total effects
Enterprise Social Media on Employee Competence
Normal theory test for indirect effects
Enterprise Social Media on Employee Competence via Knowledge Sharing
N = 272 employees; LLCI = lower level of the 95% confidence interval; ULCI = upper level of 95% confidence
interval; *** p < 0.001.
The positive correlation between enterprise social media (ESM) and employees competence (EC) is backed by multiple research papers, as discussed in the literature review.
Many studies pointed out that ESM platforms help employees enhance their skills and
performance through knowledge sharing and collaboration [46–50]. The findings in Table 2
affirm this correlation, showing a significant positive relationship between ESM and EC
(B = 0.46, p < 0.001). The mediation role of knowledge sharing (KS) between ESM and
EC is also supported by both the literature review and the study results. Researchers,
among others, indicated that knowledge sharing significantly contributes to the relationship between ESM and EC [47,48,51,59]. In Table 3, the significant positive indirect effect
of ESM on EC via KS (B = 0.26, p < 0.001) further corroborates the mediating role of KS,
providing empirical support for the hypothesis H1: “Knowledge sharing mediates the
positive relationship between enterprise social media and employees’ competence”.
Thus, the results of the study are consistent with the conclusions of multiple previous
studies indicating the positive impact of ESM on employee competency, mediated through
knowledge sharing. Given that Pakistan’s business environment is rapidly becoming more
digital, the findings of this study will have significant implications for food and beverage
(FB) companies in Pakistan. There are several reasons why ESM systems could be utilized
more frequently. Some of these objectives are to increase operational efficiency, facilitate
collaboration and the generation of new ideas, and facilitate more dynamic interactions
with customers and employees. The role of knowledge sharing as an intermediary suggests that ESM could be a useful instrument for fostering a culture of learning in these
organizations, improving employee skills, and ultimately boosting output and service
quality. Additionally, the fact that many Pakistani consumers use social media platforms
is an additional reason for businesses to adopt their use. The impacts on survival are
enormous. Companies in the food and beverage (FB) industry can improve their current
business practices and be better prepared for future challenges and opportunities if they
foster a culture of learning and skill development among their employees. This enhanced
adaptability is crucial for long-term success, particularly in an industry as dynamic and
competitive as the food and beverage industry. ESM can also make HR practices more
affordable by increasing employee engagement, reducing training costs, and fostering a
more open and creative work environment.
4.3.2. Test of the Moderated Mediation Model
Table 4 displays data from studies that used a mediated or moderated design.
Employee competence (B = 0.66, t = 4.50, p < 0.001) and information sharing (B = 0.50,
t = 5.62, p < 0.001) have both been observed to grow with the prevalence of enterprise social
media (ESM). These are the results of fundamental mediated research. According to the
findings, knowledge sharing (KS) and employee competence (B = 0.40, t = 3.42, p < 0.01)
have a positive association. This conclusion was reached by data analysis. The table shows
a negative result when ESM and IR are considered jointly (B = 14, t = 3.01, p < 0.05). The
findings confirm the second hypothesis (H2a), which argues that the direct positive link
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between information sharing, and employee competency is modified by inter-organizational
legitimacy (IR), with IR being strong, increasing the strength of the relationship.
Table 4. Results of the moderated–mediation model analysis.
Knowledge Sharing
Employee Competence
11.87 ***
5.62 ***
1.18 *
6.55 ***
4.5 ***
3.42 **
3.01 **
0.47 ***
Enterprise Social Media
Knowledge Sharing (KS)
Information Relevance (IR)
Knowledge Sharing X IR
Control variable
0.49 ***
* p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01; *** p < 0.001.
Table 4 demonstrates that the moderated–mediation model analysis reveals a significant positive correlation between enterprise social media (ESM) use and employee
competence (EC) in the Pakistani food and beverage industry, particularly when high information relevance (IR) is present. There could be multiple explanations for these findings.
First, the prevalence of social media as a means of communication may have led to an
increase in the openness and efficiency of information sharing in these companies. This
makes workers more competent by allowing them to rapidly acquire new skills and knowledge. Moreover, companies in this industry may utilize ESM effectively to communicate
timely and pertinent information, which may explain why IR plays such a significant role in
this relationship. High IR ensures that the communicated information is beneficial, thereby
enhancing the efficacy of the EC enhancement.
In terms of how this relationship affects sustainability, it encourages individuals to
continue learning and enhancing their skills, which contributes to the sustainability of
human capital. Using ESM can also help safeguard the environment by reducing the need
for physical resources during information sharing. Nonetheless, businesses must ensure
that the information communicated via ESM is not only beneficial, but also accurate, so
as to preserve the integrity of knowledge and skill development. In addition, they must
provide employees with ongoing assistance and training to ensure that they can make the
most of ESM platforms and keep EC development on track.
The goal of this study was to investigate the potential direct and indirect effects of
enterprise social media (ESM) on employee competence at different levels of information relevance (IR; −1, M, and +1 standard deviation) via the moderating influence of
information relevance and the mediating influence of knowledge sharing, respectively.
Table 4 shows that when the moderated effect of information relevance (IR) on the indirect
effect of enterprise social media (ESM) on employee competency (EC) is high (B = 0.23,
LLCI = 0.34, ULCI = 0.09), it is significant. This is because IR works as a moderator for the IR
effect. Consequently, our moderated mediation hypothesis (i.e., H2b: Information relevance
will moderate the indirect positive connection between ESM and employee competency,
resulting in a strong relationship when information relevance is high) is true.
The study’s findings, presented in Table 5 below, look at the impact of social media
use in the workplace on the degree of employee competency attained through information
sharing. The conditional indirect effects of corporate social media on employee competency
via knowledge sharing are regulated by information relevance (at −1SD, MEAN, and
+1SD), as seen in the first three rows of this table. The amount of the effect is displayed
in the “Effect” column, but the standard error is displayed in the “SE” column. The
lower and upper limits of the 95% confidence intervals are shown in the table’s “LLCI”
and “ULCI” columns, respectively. The next three rows offer a succinct overview of the
overall conditional indirect effects caused by the combination of the direct influence of
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corporate social media on staff competency and the indirect effect of knowledge sharing.
Once again, the −1SD, MEAN, and +1SD cutoffs are used to categorize the data according
to its relevance. The findings imply that using corporate social media to communicate
information can boost employee competency, with the positive impact increasing with the
amount of relevant content shared. A 95% degree of assurance indicates that the genuine
impact is more likely between the lower and upper confidence intervals (LLCI and ULCI).
All our hypotheses have been accepted.
Table 5. Results of conditional indirect effects and total conditional effects of enterprise social media
on employee competence at multiple values of information relevance.
Enterprise Social Media on Employee
Information relevance at −1SD
Enterprise Social Media on Employee
Information relevance at MEAN
Enterprise Social Media on Employee
Information relevance at +1SD
Enterprise Social Media on Employee
Information relevance at −1SD
Enterprise Social Media on Employee
Information relevance at MEAN
Enterprise Social Media on Employee
Information relevance at +1SD
Total Conditional indirect effects
N = 272 employees; LLCI = lower level of the 95% confidence interval; ULCI = upper level of 95%
confidence interval.
The findings indicate that the use of enterprise social media (ESM) has a positive
impact on employee competence (EC) in Pakistani food and beverage companies, with
knowledge sharing (KS) playing a significant role in this association. This is notably evident
when the communicated information is deemed to be of great importance, as indicated
by a larger standard deviation (+1SD). Possible explanations include the fact that ESM
platforms are highly collaborative and facilitate the sharing of ideas, vital information,
and real-time feedback, all of which contribute to the enhancement of employees’ skills
and knowledge. In addition, the relevance of the information may impact employee
engagement with shared materials, which can affect their learning and skill development.
The more pertinent the shared information, the more likely it is that employees will want
to learn and apply it, thereby enhancing their skills. From a sustainability standpoint,
promoting a philosophy of knowledge sharing through ESM could be a good method to
continue enhancing employee skills and the company’s overall productivity, which could
result in enhanced business performance. It also fosters an environment that is receptive to
new ideas, which is beneficial to the organization’s long-term health. However, businesses
must ensure that the content published on these platforms is relevant and beneficial to their
employees. This will keep them motivated and interested in learning and skill development.
The food and beverage industry in Pakistan is highly competitive, so retaining a skilled
workforce could be a critical differentiator and a crucial component of the company’s
business strategy.
5. Discussion
This study’s primary objective was to investigate how the use of enterprise social
media (ESM) may impact an employee’s level of competence. This study was strengthened
by incorporating the moderating effect of information relevance and the mediating effect
of knowledge sharing. To provide answers to a variety of research queries, we devised
several hypotheses. Knowledge sharing was included as a moderating variable in the
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model because it functions as a link between ESM usage and employee competence. In
addition, information relevance was included as a second moderating variable in this study
so that we could obtain a greater understanding of the extent and complexities of the
relationship between ESM usage and employee competence.
To validating our hypotheses, we collected data from both supervisors and employees
within the organization. This allowed us to obtain a diversity of perspectives from within
the organization. According to the findings of this study, enterprise social media (ESM) and
employee competency have a strong and positive correlation. This discovery sheds light
on the significance of digital tools and platforms in the process of enhancing employee
skills and competencies. The potential benefits that can be obtained by integrating ESM
technologies into an organization’s daily operations is an essential conclusion that can be
derived from this study. By doing so, businesses have the potential to foster a culture of
continuous learning and knowledge exchange, which may ultimately result in an increase
in the total skills and capacities of their workforce. On the other hand, we discovered
that the intensity of the association between ESM usage and employee competence is
dependent on the platform’s ability to provide relevant information. This was one of our
more unexpected discoveries. This suggests that for ESM to have a significant impact
on employee competence, organizations must ensure that the information conveyed is
pertinent to the activities and responsibilities of their employees.
5.1. Theoretical Implications
Operationalization of the social capital theory provides a strong theoretical framework
for our study, which is one of its primary contributions. Utilizing the social capital theory,
our investigation focuses on the significance of social relations businesses can be essential
sources of capital that businesses can utilize to promote the expansion of their human
resource capacities. When employees have important social contact with one another, their
awareness and engagement are enhanced. The current study utilized the social capital
theory to investigate how ESM tools affect employees’ performance and skill sets [113]. This
theory is founded on a comprehensive conception that accurately reflects the complexity of
ESM’s application in business settings. This study employs the social capital theory due to
its capacity to investigate power relations at the organizational and individual levels and
how employees reproduce structure via habitus. The purpose of the current study was to
shed light on the relationship between the use of social media in the workplace and the
level of expertise exhibited by the employees of an organization that utilized such media.
We drew on the concept of social capital theory, the moderating influence of information,
to better understand knowledge sharing and the relationship between businesses’ use of
social media platforms and the level of staff competency.
Companies rely significantly on social media platforms for internal communication
and information dissemination today. Sun, Zhou, and colleagues argue that corporate
social media networks make it easier for employees to share their knowledge within an
organization by leveraging Internet technologies [23]. It is impossible to overstate the
significance of the relationship between an organization’s use of social media platforms
and the abilities of its workforce. This study examines the function of knowledge sharing
as a mediator between social media usage’s influence on employee competency in the
workplace. The research concentrates specifically on the relationship between these two
factors. Social media platforms simplify employees’ sharing of knowledge, increasing
employee competence. Therefore, the exchange of information functions as a moderator
between employee skills and the social media platforms utilized by the organization. The
level of trust between colleagues increases when they discuss sensitive matters in private. If
employees continue to share pertinent information, the correlation between disseminating
beneficial information and increased employee capacity will continue to improve.
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5.2. Practical Implications
Enterprise social media (ESM) has the potential to enhance employee competence (EC)
in organizations, particularly in Pakistan’s food and beverage industry, according to the
current study. It provides a comprehensive explanation of how everything operates and
useful information for businesses. It has been demonstrated that ESM improves employee
performance and skills, so businesses should utilize it strategically. To reap the benefits
of ESM, however, you must use it properly and adhere to specific rules and policies [114].
In order to prevent people from using ESM inefficiently and ineffectively, which could
have a negative impact on productivity, businesses should establish comprehensive ESM
rules that emphasize ethical use, privacy, and the quality of content. Second, knowledge
sharing (KS) within organizations is a crucial aspect of the collaboration between ESM and
EC. Encourage an environment that makes it simple for people to communicate and work
together to learn. Businesses could facilitate this by providing ESM tools that promote
interactive conversations, shared workstations, and community bulletin boards. Fostering
KS through ESM not only makes individuals better at their employment, but it also increases
a company’s knowledge capital and is geared toward profit [60,80].
Employers should use motivational-reward practices to encourage employees to voluntarily share information. This could entail recognizing individuals in team meetings,
awarding prizes for innovative ideas, or even providing tangible incentives for participation on ESM platforms [82]. Lastly, the study demonstrates the significance of valuable
information when employing ESM. Businesses must ensure that the content disseminated
via ESM platforms corresponds to the interests and requirements of their employees. Irrelevant information can decrease user interest and diminish the positive effects of ESM
on EC [97,98]. Companies could use AI-based content curation tools to personalize and
accelerate the distribution of information to each employee based on their job, hobbies,
and learning requirements. In conclusion, the practical implications of this study indicate
that ESM must be implemented and managed systematically. By doing so, businesses
can enhance their employees’ skills and performance, as well as increase their output and
6. Conclusions
In conclusion, this study investigated the moderating effect of information sharing on
the relationships between employee competency, knowledge sharing, and corporate social
media. The data were analyzed using multilevel approaches, accounting for variations
among employees and subordinates reporting to the same supervisor in diverse institutional contexts. The findings revealed positive effects of information sharing on employee
competence and knowledge sharing. Furthermore, information exchange was found to
enhance the mutually beneficial relationship between a company’s social media presence
and the competence of its workforce. This supported the first hypothesis, suggesting that
information sharing mediates the positive relationship between enterprise social media
and employee competency, thus validating the hypothesis.
The findings shed light on the relationship between workplace social media, information exchange, and employee competence. Firstly, empirical evidence was provided
to confirm that knowledge sharing is a mediator best workplace social media use and
employee competency improvements. Secondly, the study expanded our understanding
of the factors influencing worker competence. The study emphasized the importance of
employing multilevel techniques to reduce bias and provide accurate data. The conclusions
contribute to the growing body of research on the economic benefits of leveraging social
media for business purposes. However, the study has its limitations. The research focused
on a small portion of manufacturing firms in the Multan metropolitan area, suggesting
that the findings might not represent the broader population of companies. This was a
consequence of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Future studies should endeavor to include
as many companies as possible. The self-assessment methodology employed in this study
may also have introduced bias, as employees tend to overestimate their skills. This issue
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could be mitigated by using multiple sources of information. Furthermore, the study was
limited to manufacturing industry employees in Multan and its surrounding areas, and
therefore, its findings may apply to the broader regional service industry. Future studies
should consider including the service sector.
Author Contributions: Conceptualization, M.C., A.A. and M.I.; Methodology, M.C.; Software, A.A.;
Validation, M.C. and M.I.; Formal analysis, M.I.; Investigation, M.B.; Resources, M.B.; Data curation,
M.B., A.A. and M.I.; Writing—original draft, A.A.; Writing—review & editing, A.A.; Supervision,
A.A.; Project administration, M.I.; Funding acquisition, M.C. All authors have read and agreed to the
published version of the manuscript.
Funding: This research was funded by Scientific Research Foundation of Xijing University grant
number XJ210212 and The APC was funded by the same.
Institutional Review Board Statement: The study was conducted in accordance with the
Declaration of Helsinki, and approved by the Institutional Review Board (or Ethics Committee)
of Xijing University, Shaanxi (234001-03-02-2023). for studies involving humans.
Informed Consent Statement: Informed consent was obtained from all subjects involved in the study.
Data Availability Statement: The data presented in this study are available on request from the
corresponding author. The data are not publicly available due to privacy.
Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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