Social Media and Organizational Culture

Chances, Consequences, and Opportunities for the Internal Communication in Organizations

Seminar Paper, 2013

25 Pages, Grade: 1,0


Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

List of Abbreviations

1 Introduction
1.1 Aim of the thesis
1.2 State of research
1.3 Research method
1.4 Process of the thesis

2 Basic terms
2.1 Social Media
2.2 Organizational Culture
2.3 Communication

3 Social Media and Organizational Culture - Impact on the Internal Communication
3.1 Changes
3.2 Consequences
3.3 Opportunities

4 Discussion

5 Conclusion and Outline


List of Figures

Figure 3-1. Change-oriented Culture

Figure 3-2. Linkage between social media, organizational culture, and employees

List of Tables

Table 2-1. Organizational Culture Characteristics

List of Abbreviations

illustration not visible in this excerpt

1 Introduction

In the following chapter the aim of the thesis, the current state of research, and the research method are explained. Moreover, there will be an outline of the thesis at the end of this chapter.

1.1 Aim of the thesis

Nowadays, social media such as blogs and wikis are in general an important subject. It is not only a means for communication between two or more people, for example writing messages to each other, but also an efficient way to improve processes within organizations (e.g. Kaplan & Haenlein 2010, pp. 59-68; Iyilikci & Schmidt 2011, pp. 73-90; Hauptmann & Steger 2013, pp. 26-46).

The way of communication provided by social media differs from traditional communication instruments like e-mail or teleconferencing, because it is broader than traditional technologies (Hauptmann & Steger 2013, p. 27). Social media technologies have also the function to participate in a social environment (Hauptmann & Steger 2013, p. 27). Thus, the integration of social media technologies in organizations assumes a detailed organization change plan and an efficient change management (Terbuyken 2010, p. 153). Therefore, the introduction of these technologies has to match the organizational culture because an established organizational culture hardly dissolve (Robbins & Judge 2012, p. 546) so that the social media technologies have to be integrated in the organizational culture by change agents and change managers.

The thesis aims for the description and explanation of the role of social media in organizations but focuses especially on the effect of social media technologies on the organizational culture. This investigation includes the changes, consequences, and opportunities which are caused in the context of organizational culture by an integration of social media. Here, already established contributions of various authors are investigated so that the thesis provides further results.

1.2 State of research

The research of social media is a current field of research in which many investigations have been already started (e.g. Kaplan & Haenlein 2010, pp. 59-68; Iyilikci & Schmidt 2011, pp. 73-90; Hauptmann & Steger 2013, pp. 26-46).

This area of research is a young discipline which arose out of the growing use of social media technologies in private life and the resulting potential of social media integration in organizations to improve an organization’s prestige and sales (e.g. Kietzmann et al. 2011, p. 241).

However, many authors in social media research concentrated on the aim to clearly define what social media are and to give suggestions how organizations profit by using social media (e.g. Kietzmann et al. 2011, p. 241).

Other authors focus on the categorization of the social media concept and its subsets like social networking websites and weblogs and give the readers advice how to use social media technologies in organizations (e.g. Kaplan and Haenlein 2010, pp. 61-63).

A few authors already have researched the socio-cultural aspect of social media integration in an organization in order to depict the effect of social media technologies on the internal communication (e.g. Iyilikci & Schmidt 2011, pp. 73-90; Terbuyken 2010, pp. 153-166).

The research on the organizational culture concept is older than the social media research field and contains mainly the investigation of the organizational culture term (e.g. Robbins & Judge 2012, p. 546; Jacobsen 1996, p. 35) and its linkage to organizational performance (e.g. Schneider et al. 2013, p. 373).

Overall, the research of the influence of social media integration on the organizational culture is still an area of social media research which is sparsely examined. Therefore, this thesis’ intention is the exploration of existing research results in order to contribute new findings.

1.3 Research method

The research method of this thesis is based on literature review.

1.4 Process of the thesis

The answer to the main questions is carried out in four phases.

In the first phase (Chapter 2) the basic foundation is presented in order to understand the basic terms. For that matter, the concepts of social media, organizational culture, and communication are elucidated.

The second phase (Chapter 3) contains a detailed investigation of the effect of social media in organizations on the organizational culture, in which the special focus lies on communication, especially on internal communication. The question is answered, which changes, consequences, and opportunities are provided through social media on regard to the organizational culture.

In the third phase (Chapter 4) the results of the third chapter are presented and discussed critically.

Finally, the fourth phase (Chapter 5) includes a conclusion of the raised questions and their answers. It also offers an outlook on the discussed subject.

2 Basic terms

Before focusing on the impact of social media in organizations, it is necessary to clarify the basic terms in the context of this thesis. These terms are social media, organizational culture, and communication which are described in the following chapter.

2.1 Social Media

Many people make use of social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, YouTube etc., but actually do not exactly know what is meant by the term.

The concept of social media can be defined as “[…] technology-facilitated dialogue among individuals or groups […]” (Reilly & Weirup 2012, p. 3).

A more detailed definition is provided when two other concepts are defined before (Kaplan & Haenlein 2010, p. 60). At first, the concept of Web 2.0 has to be considered which is “[…] a platform whereby content and applications are no longer created and published by individuals, but instead are continuously modified by all users in a participatory and collaborative fashion” (Kaplan & Haenlein 2010, p. 61). The limitation of creating and publishing content and applications by individuals is one of the characteristics of Web 1.0 which separates it from Web 2.0. The second concept which has to be defined is User Generated Content. Kaplan & Haenlein (2010, p. 61) argue that User Generated Content is media content which is available on the internet and which is produced by the consumers. The basic requirement to classify media content as User Generated Content is its location on the internet because it has “[…] to be published either on a public […] website or on a social networking site […]” (Kaplan & Haenlein 2010, p. 61). Out of these two concepts, social media is defined as “[…] a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content” (Kaplan & Haenlein 2010, p. 61).

Moreover, Heymann-Reder (2011, p. 20) defines social media as internet platforms in which users establish relationships to other users and communicate, though the communication is not only verbally but also includes multimedia data types.

For the further process of the thesis, the differentiation of some social media manifestations is necessary. For instance, weblogs, also known as blogs, can be defined as websites on which a particular blogger or groups of bloggers, namely the operators of the blogs, publish postings, for instance texts, pictures, videos or combinations of them which are displayed in converse chronological order (Peters 2011, pp. 89-90). Furthermore, the concept of wikis has to be explained. Wikis are clusters of websites whose contents usually can be edited and updated online by every visitor of the website (Hein 2008, p. 271). Moreover, social networking sites are defined as “[…] applications that enable users to connect by creating personal information profiles, inviting friends and colleagues to have access to those profiles, and sending e-mails and instant messages between each other” (Kaplan & Haenlein, p. 63). Examples for content communities are YouTube or Flickr, whereby users share media content like videos or pictures with other users (Kaplan & Haenlein, p. 63).


Excerpt out of 25 pages


Social Media and Organizational Culture
Chances, Consequences, and Opportunities for the Internal Communication in Organizations
University of Duisburg-Essen  (Wirtschaftswissenschaften)
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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Social Media, Internal Communication, Interne Kommunikation, Organizational Culture, Unternehmenskultur
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Mohamed Asad (Author), 2013, Social Media and Organizational Culture, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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