Participatory communication on internal social media - a dream or reality? Findings from two exploratory studies of coworkers as communicators

Vibeke Thøis Madsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
180 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore whether internal social media (ISM) introduces a new kind of participatory communication within organizations that is capable of influencing and moving the organization. Design/methodology/approach: The paper is based on two exploratory studies: a multiple case study in ten Danish organizations, and a single case study in a Danish bank. Findings: The paper finds that different types of communication on ISM develop in different types of organizations. Participatory communication capable of changing the organization only develops when coworkers perceive that they have a license to critique. The paper, therefore, proposes to distinguish between three different types of communication arenas created by ISM: a quiet arena, a knowledge-sharing arena and a participatory communication arena. Research limitations/implications: The research is exploratory and based on two Danish case studies and the perceptions of coworkers and social media coordinators. A deeper, summative analysis of ISM across more and various organizations in multiple countries has to confirm the findings. Originality/value: The paper conceptualizes ISM as an interactive and dynamic communication arena, and proposes that the participatory communication on ISM is a co-constructed process among coworkers, middle managers and top managers.

Translated title of the contributionTre typer af kommunikation på interne sociale medier: Resultater fra to eksplorative studier af interne sociale medier
Original languageEnglish
JournalCorporate Communications. An International Journal
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)614-628
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • participatory communication
  • internal communication
  • Employee communication
  • internal social media
  • enterprise social media
  • social intranet

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