Employee engagement in generating ideas on internal social media: A matter of meaningfulness, safety and availability

Helle Eskesen Gode, Winni Johansen, Christa Thomsen

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The purpose is to explore employees’ perceptions of enablers and barriers to engage in multi-vocal dialogues about ideas (ideation) on internal social media (ISM) within a context of corporate communication.This exploratory study is based on four data sets: online observations of employee ideation on ISM from 2011-2018, semi-structured interviews and informal conversations with two managers (2015-2016), archival material, and semi-structured interviews with 14 employees (2017-2018) in a large, knowledge-intensive Danish organization.
The study identified various enablers and barriers to engagement related to psychological engagement conditions of meaningfulness, safety and availability. Managers’ communication role or importance of innovation, as well as tensions, e.g. obligation versus option to ideate or employee influence versus no influence, were identified as enabling or constraining employee engagement in
ideation on ISM. Broadening interviews to include employees who decided not to participate in online ideation would increase insights and nuance this study’s results. Managers need to be aware of the psychological engagement conditions and balance identified enablers, barriers and tensions by acknowledging communication reciprocity on ISM. Not only employees, but also managers, are dialogue partners in employee ideation on ISM. The study is one of the first to explore enablers of and barriers to psychological engagement conditions in a context central to corporate communication, namely internal innovation communication on ISM, and to study ideation from a coworker perspective.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCorporate Communications
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)263-280
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • management, organizational development and innovation
  • Employee engagement
  • Internal social media
  • emloyee ideation
  • employee communication
  • internal innovation communication


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