Mobilizing Government: Inter-Organizational Collaboration Using Open Social Media Platforms

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    The nature of inter-organizational collaboration between government and other stakeholders is rapidly changing with the introduction of open social media (OSM) platforms. Characterized by a high degree of informality as well as a blurred personal/professional nature, OSM can potentially introduce changes and tensions in the well-established routines of the public sector. This paper aims at shedding light on such changes, presenting findings from a study on the use of an OSM platform, WeChat, in an interorganizational collaboration project between government, university, and industry stakeholders in China. Drawing on the framework of the theory of temporary organizations, we analyze data from interviews and participant observations to single out the characteristics of inter-organizational collaboration afforded by OSM. The findings outline the features of collaboration practices afforded by OSM in the four dimensions of time, task, team, and transition. Specifically, we report on new collaboration procedures that are characterized by an ad-hoc and non-linear management of time; a sense of shared commitment to the accomplishment of tasks; a serendipitous recruitment of team members based on expertise rather than on organizational affiliation; and a transition from formal to informal as well as from professional to private collaboration.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 17th Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research : Internet Plus Government: New Opportunities to Solve Public Problems
    EditorsYushim Kim, Shuhua Monica Liu
    Number of pages9
    Place of PublicationNew York
    PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
    Publication date2016
    ISBN (Print)9781450343398
    ISBN (Electronic)9781450343398
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    Event17th Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research. dg.o 2016: Internet Plus Government - Fudan University, Shanghai, China
    Duration: 8 Jun 201610 Jun 2016
    Conference number: 17


    Conference17th Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research. dg.o 2016
    Location Fudan University
    Internet address


    • Social Media
    • Public Sector
    • Inter-organizational Collaboration
    • Affordances

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