There is no denying that social media has indeed become a force to be reckoned with in the twenty-first century. However, as the research on social media for marketing, branding, and customer service has evolved, research on social media in the organisation’s internal communication has remained scarce. Hence, this master’s thesis commenced with a wonder of how this new type of media could be applied to an organisation’s internal communication. Through an empirical study, the purpose of this master’s thesis is to fill this specific gap in communication research. Therefore we start by investigating the employment of internal social media in three organisations from both a managerial and employee perspective. This multiple case study is combined and supported by qualitative interviews with three Danish social media experts. Thus, the aim was to analyse social media in internal communication and hereby clarify which potential the application of social media within this area could provide, and how organisations could strategize their implementation. Our findings suggest that organisations apply social media to provide new and better conditions for their internal communication. Especially prevalent was the ability for employees to become more closely connected and for the top management and communication departments to facilitate greater involvement in their communication. Nevertheless, internal social media also poses challenges for the organisation; all three organisations included in the case study found employee participation excessively challenging. In response to this, an analysis of the employees’ motivation for participating on internal social media was conducted. This analysis clarified that employees’ participation on internal social media was greatly related to their perception of whether or not the media provided a specific work-related value. The potential of internal social media lies in its ability to unite a globally dispersed organisation through the increased online interaction of employees. While internal social media provides a wide range of organisational benefits, it also changes the current conditions for the internal communication through its specific ability to involve, create greater transparency and centre the communication around the individual employee. With these changes in the current conditions, a new way of thinking is required, in order to successfully achieve the potential of internal social media. Thus, an Internal Social Media Mindset was presented in order to clarify that a pure technological implementation of social media in the internal communication is not sufficient to ensure attainment of the full potential. Rather, organisations must choose a strategic approach to their implementation of internal social media. By following the four stages outlined in the Internal Social Media Roadmap presented in this thesis, organisations will be better prepared to achieve a proper implementation of internal social media. With the Internal Social Media Roadmap we hope to encourage a more strategic approach to the implementation of internal social media, and hence provide organisations with the best possible foundation for their internal social media strategies. The results of this study call for further research within the area of social media in internal communication. It is therefore our hope that this study will inspire other communication researchers to more closely investigate the remaining aspects of how social media can make a difference in the organisation’s internal communication.
|Uddannelser||Cand.ling.merc Erhvervssprog og International Erhvervskommunikation (Interkulturel Marketing), (Kandidatuddannelse) Afsluttende afhandling|