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Social Media as a Mechanism for Engagement?

Social Media in Human Resources Management

ISBN: 978-1-78190-900-3, eISBN: 978-1-78190-901-0

Publication date: 8 August 2013



This chapter examines the use of social media within organizations in order to engage with both current and potential future employees.


It is commonly claimed that social media technologies can help organizations to engage with both current and potential employees. This chapter examines these claims through an examination of the use of social media within two organizations: a UK television company and an international UK telecommunications company. Data was gathered from the company websites and via 34 semi-structured interviews.


The two case studies confirm that social media has promise with regard to facilitating the engagement of existing employees. However, the findings suggest also that the use of social media to engage employees will not be successful unless the culture and leadership of the organization already embraces open communication and participation.

Research limitations/implications

The findings are limited in that they rely on two case studies and therefore might not be applicable to other organizations. Despite the limitations, this chapter has significant implications for organizations considering the adoption of social media as a means to improve employee engagement. It suggests that when adopting social media for organizations, the very first step should be to assess the organizational readiness with a focus on culture and people rather than on the technology itself. This is because managerial behaviors and styles are central to the level of engagement individuals feel with an organization. For the same reason leaders need to be trained to lead collaboratively, and to be able to understand the new social practices.


The chapter makes an important contribution to an extremely sparse literature on social media as a means for engaging with employees through the provision of rare empirical data and is therefore valuable both for managers and for HR scholars and practitioners.



Parry, E. and Solidoro, A. (2013), "Social Media as a Mechanism for Engagement?", Social Media in Human Resources Management (Advanced Series in Management, Vol. 12), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 121-141.



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