Date of Award

5-2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Communication and Information

Major Professor

John Haas

Committee Members

Virginia Kupritz, Laura Miller, Timothy Munyon

Abstract

More and more, social media is becoming an integrated component of individuals’ lives. With this, social media is impacting various landscapes that we interact in such as the workplace. Though social media is continuously being integrated into the workplace, scholarship pertaining to the relationship between social media and the workplace is still in its infancy. Yet, even with this lack of empirically supported knowledge, organizations and its members are still utilizing social media for various purposes. For instance, organizations use social media for recruitment purposes, to manage its image and to communicate to its internal and external members. One space that organizations use social media to communicate about includes critical events. My dissertation homes in on organizational use of social media during critical events to explore how this impacts the workplace. Specifically, my dissertation investigates if members find organizational use of social media (typically of an informal nature) as an appropriate platform to convey messages about critical events (typically more serious and formal in nature). Next, I explore if organizations can communicate too much or too little about critical events via social media. Moreover, I hypothesize that there will be a difference between perceptions of message amount and quality based on a member’s rank within the organization. Lastly, I wanted to dive into the individual level to see if and how members used social media to, in turn, cope or regain power during these critical events. Additionally, I extend Standpoint Theory into the organizational context which is, to my knowledge, one of the first studies to do so. To examine these questions and proposed statements, I use mixed methods in which I integrate findings from interviews and surveys to determine unique findings. In Chapter 5, I provide the outcome of my study and conclude the dissertation with recommendations for future studies and some closing remarks.

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