Social Media for Government Use

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Shahsavarani, Narges




Social media use around the word is growing rapidly and governments similar to private sector firms are endeavoring to employ social media for a variety of purposes. Current research (McNutt, 2014; Snead, 2013; Chun & Luna Reyes, 2012; Picazo-Vela et al., 2012; Lavender, 2013; Mergel, 2013b) supports the observation that governments use social media as a tool to provide information to the public, to engage with citizens, to improve service delivery, to enhance democratic engagement, to facilitate feedback and comments from citizens, to communicate with stakeholders and to collaborate across organizations. Although the use of social media may bring benefits to governments, successful deployment of these technologies also faces some challenges and barriers, such as an incompatible organizational culture, information security and privacy issues. While researchers have investigated some of the issues concerning these benefits and barriers, there is still a dearth of empirical evidence related to what citizens and employees, as potential stakeholders, want when interacting with different levels of government through social media tools. This study aims to address two important objectives: 1) understanding social media as a phenomenon and its implications for government use; 2) understanding the perceptions of citizens, employees and government senior management in terms of government use of social media. The fundamental research question for this study is, what is the relative importance of the benefits and barriers linked to social media use by governments for different stakeholder groups? By applying stakeholder theory this study differentiated between the perceptions of three stakeholder groups (i.e. citizens, government senior management, and employees). Using the concept of salience developed by Mitchell et al. (1997) who suggested that an organization needs to know competing stakeholders’ claims and prioritize them, this work contributes to the literature by taking a step toward understanding potential stakeholders’ needs, stakes and expectations so that the organizations concerned can integrate their information, feedback and opinions into innovative forms of interaction. Stakeholder theory provides a useful framework for considering these issues, which may assist organizations in identifying potential stakeholders and prioritizing their needs and concerns.


Business Administration - Management
Canadian Studies




Carleton University

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