The Word is Free or is it? Internal listening on internal social media during times of turbulence in a Danish hospital

Helle Eskesen Gode, Vibeke Thøis Madsen, Mona Agerholm Andersen

Research output: Contribution to conference without a publisher/journalAbstractResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The Word is Free or is it? Internal listening on internal social media during times of turbulence in a Danish hospital
When organizations find themselves in a challenging and critical situation, internal listening may be a way for management and employees to maintain trust and improve engagement, and overcome worries and resistance (Sahay, 2021, Lewis, 2020). For several years, scholars have acknowledged the importance of employee voice as a driver of employee engagement (e.g. Ruck et al., 2017) but in recent years, the center of attention has moved to internal listening. Having a voice does not make sense if employees’ proposals and concerns are not listened to (Ruck, 2021). However, internal listening is still undertheorized (Macnamara, 2018), and researchers should direct their attention to more empirical research on how organizations may build and maintain a strategic listening focus in different contexts (Neil and Bowen, 2021).Internal social media (ISM) have been suggested to be a useful communication arena (Heide and Simonsson, 2011) as it can provide an arena where managers can listen to the organization (Madsen and Johansen, 2019)As a consequence, this study explores employee communication on internal social media (ISM) in a Danish Hospital in the aftermath of the Danish nurse strike in 2021 and the COVID-19 pandemic. More specifically, the intention is to investigate if and how ISM is useful for internal listening in times of turbulence. The empirical material includes communication threads on “The Word is Free”, a discussion forum on internal social media, and semi-structured interviews with key managers and nurses in the studied hospital. The analysis sheds light on how managers and employees practice internal listening and with what consequences for the employees’ experience of psychological safety and feeling of influence. The study thus contributes with insights into internal listening in an organization where employees are fatigued by work overload and lack of recognition.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventECREA 2022: 9th European Communication Conference - Aarhus, Denmark
Duration: 19 Oct 202222 Oct 2022
https://conferences.au.dk/ecrea2022

Conference

ConferenceECREA 2022
Country/TerritoryDenmark
CityAarhus
Period19/10/2222/10/22
Internet address

Keywords

  • Media, communication and languages
  • Internal social media
  • Organizational listening

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