The challenges of introducing internal social media: the coordinators' roles and perceptions

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the challenges associated with introducing internal socialmedia (ISM) into organizations in order to help them reap the benefits of coworker communication on ISM.Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on an exploratory study in ten organizations. Thedata were collected in semi-structured interviews with ISM coordinators in Spring 2014.Findings – According to the ISM coordinators, four challenges were associated with introducing ISM:coworkers could perceive communication on ISM as not work related; coworkers might not understand theinformal nature of communication on ISM, and self-censorship might stop them communicating on ISM; ISMwas not considered a “natural” part of the daily routines in the organizations; and top managers mainlysupported ISM in words, not in action.Research limitations/implications – The study is based on the perceptions of ISM coordinators. Furtherresearch is called for to explore both coworker perceptions and actual communication on ISM.Practical implications – Practitioners introducing ISM should be aware of these four challenges, and shouldhelp coworkers tomake sense of communication on ISMas work-related communication among coworkers. ISMcoordinators’ perceptions of their own role in relation to coworker communication on ISM make a difference.Originality/value – The study provides insights into the key challenges associated with introducing ISM,as well as the role of ISM coordinators as community facilitators and sense-givers.Keywords Organizational communication, Internal communication, Coworker, Internal social mediaPaper type Research paper
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Communication Management
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)2-16
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Media, communication and languages

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