Use of Social Media Technologies for Intra-Agency Collaboration: Evidence from US Local Governments
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
In line with prior research, the paper takes a fundamental socio-technical theoretical approach (Bostrom & Heinen, 1977; Kling & Lamb, 1999) in which the adoption, implementation, and use of technology are determined by the interaction between technological and social context of the organization. However, in a break with prior work that often aggregates social media technologies as one class of technology, the paper theorizes different classes of social media functionality and purpose. As a result, it develops more explicit means by which technology, organization and context matter for effective collaboration. Based on an extensive literature review, the paper offers a theoretical model and several hypotheses, which it tests using a unique 2012 national survey of local governments in the US conducted by the Center for Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Studies at ASU. The survey was designed to first collect data on the use of specific social media technologies by the organization. It then collected data on the specific ways in which the different technologies are used for different types of agency work, including internal collaboration. Hence there is a connection in the data between the specific social media technology adopted by the organization and the task for which it was used. The survey also collected well-established measures of centralization, innovativeness, discretion, technical capacity, and political context. The paper uses descriptive statistics and regression analysis to understand the phenomenon of social media use for work collaboration and to test the hypotheses. Findings of this research provide insights about which social media technologies are used by local governments and how social media is used for collaboration on work. Insights from this research will contribute both to theoretical understanding about technology in government and provide useful information for agencies.