Employee motivations for self-censorship on social media

Joost W.H. Verhoeven, Brendon Voogt, Vibeke Thøis Madsen

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftAbstraktForskningpeer review


While social media enable employee voice and stakeholder dialogue, sometimes self-censorship silences employees, because they feel it is too risky to speak up. This survey study among employees aims to unveil why employees employ self-censorship strategies when they communicate about work on social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.First, based on factor analysis, we found that on external social media four, rather than the predicted seven self-censorship strategies can be distinguished: (1) critically reviewing content before publication, (2) tailoring content to imagined audiences, (3) omission of controversial content, and (4) consultation of peers. Secondly, we found that employees omit controversial content from their messages (i.e., the more narrow traditional understanding of self-censorship) to protect personal and corporate reputations. At the same time, they critically review social media content before publication to deal with the risk of harming the quality of conversations. This suggests that altruistic as well as egoistic motives underly self-censorship in work-related social media use.
StatusUdgivet - 2017
Udgivet eksterntJa