Organizational Boundary Regulation through Social Media Policies

Scott Banghart, Michael Etter, Cynthia Stohl

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Digital ubiquity and penetration across spatio-temporal boundaries have exacerbated the need for a clearer understanding of where the boundaries of personal, professional, and public communication begin and end. Indeed, boundary specifications have become an iconic problematic for organizational control and employee communication in the age of social media. In response, corporations increasingly issue policies that aim to regulate when, where, how, and what employees communicate in online environments. We argue that these policies are forms of organizational boundary regulation. Drawing on a content analysis of 112 social media policies from the world’s largest corporations, we examine the boundary logics articulated in these policies to delineate corporate spheres of influence. Next, we show how boundary logics relate to directives for employee speech, self-expression, and relational engagement. We discuss how the boundary logic framework contributes to our understanding of the expansion of corporate control across multiple life domains in the digital age.
Original languageEnglish
JournalManagement Communication Quarterly
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)337 –373
Number of pages37
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


  • Social media
  • Policies
  • Boundary logics
  • Boundary regulation
  • Work/life boundaries
  • Employee communication
  • Corporate colonization and control

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