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Change communication and the use of anonymous social media at work: Implications for employee engagement

Heewon Kim (Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA)
Craig Scott (School of Communication and Information, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 5 June 2019

Issue publication date: 31 July 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how employees use anonymous social media to cope with organizational change, which may affect various engagement outcomes. Specifically, this study focuses on change communication from management (i.e. top–down communication) and workplace freedom of speech (i.e. bottom–up communication) as potential antecedents of anonymous communication. In turn, commitment, turnover intention and job satisfaction are examined as engagement outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

An online survey was conducted at Microsoft through Blind, a mobile platform for anonymous communication at work. A series of regression models were used to test hypotheses.

Findings

Results demonstrate that: the quality of change communication was related to anonymous social media use for information and support seeking; workplace freedom of speech was related to anonymous social media use for expressing ideas; perceived usefulness and trustworthiness of anonymous social media positively affected the usage of them; and the quality of change communication and workplace freedom of speech were linked to affective commitment and job satisfaction.

Originality/value

Despite the growing popularity of anonymous social media at work, their use and influences have received scarce empirical attention. This study advances the authors’ knowledge of the antecedents, characteristics and outcomes of anonymous social media use in a work environment characterized by frequent organizational changes. The findings also highlight the significance of communication qualities and freedom of speech at work.

Keywords

Citation

Kim, H. and Scott, C. (2019), "Change communication and the use of anonymous social media at work: Implications for employee engagement", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 410-424. https://doi.org/10.1108/CCIJ-07-2018-0076

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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