Social Media Communication in Organizations: The Challenges of Balancing Openness, Strategy, and Management

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
International Journal of Strategic Communication, 2012, 6 (4), pp. 287 - 308
Issue Date:
2012-10-01
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Organizations from government departments and corporations to small businesses are increasingly adopting social media for strategic corporate and organizational communication and public relations. This is seen by many as a positive development because the openness of the Web 2.0 environment potentially democratizes voice and affords participation, dialogue, and community-building. However, optimistic views of the benefits of organizational social media communication fail to adequately take account of potential conflict between the philosophy of openness that characterizes Web 2.0 and organizational strategy and management processes. Based on two international surveys from Australasia and Europe, this paper shows how social media are being deployed by organizations in a number of countries. These findings were further explored through depth interviews with a selection of social media specialists to examine how the tensions between the open, uncontrolled practices of social media and organizational strategy and management might be resolved or balanced, particularly in relation to objectives, control, and governance. The findings identify future directions in strategic communication that mediate the interests of organizations and online communities. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
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