Young adults, the generation born in the 1980s and ’90s, have used internet throughout their childhood and adolescence and have actively taken part in different online networks. Hence, these young adults are in key position when the use of social media increases in working life.
The professional social media usage refers to the use of social media by the employees in their current work place, the creation and maintenance of useful social networks and following, producing or sharing content related to work or the organization. The professional usage of social media can occur both in general social media services (e.g. LinkedIn) and in internal corporate platforms (e.g. Yammer).
Professional social media usage can have positive impact on, for example employee commitment, social capital and social learning. However, excessive social media usage can negatively impact on concentration to work and may blur the line between work time and leisure time, resulting in increased stress and, in the worst case, burnout.
Although awareness of the risks and the advantages related to social media usage has gradually increased in organizations, there is a need for further research to understand the job demands, job resources and personal resources associated with professional social media usage.
The aim of the research project is to explore how social media is used for work purposes and what kind of relation there is to work engagement and more broadly to wellbeing at work and burnout. The research includes focus group interviews (N = 52) and an online survey (N = 563) of five expert organizations. In addition, a national comparison survey (N = 1800) is conducted among Finnish workers. The research gives comprehensive view on how young adults use social media at work and the association to their work engagement. The research provides comprehensive view on how social media is used for professional purposes and the relation to wellbeing at work and burnout.
Following topics are covered in the research:
- Social media usage
- Work engagement
- Job demands and job and personal resources
- Organizational identification
- Cyberbullying at work
The research project is part of Tampere University Emerging Technologies Lab.
For organizations, the article provides essential information on how social media can be utilized to develop wellbeing at work and organizational culture practices taking into account both the possibilities and the burdening factor of professional social media usage.
The results help organizations e.g.:
- crystalize their social media guidance, training and practices
- provide needed support, encouragement and practical examples for professional social media usage
- consider various motivational factors and flexibility related to professional social media usage
- take into account positive aspects of professional social media usage (e.g. information sharing and togetherness)
- take into account possible negative aspects of professional social media usage (e.g. technostress and cyberbullying at work)
The research contributes to theory by providing multidisciplinary findings to multiple research fields (e.g. social psychology, work and organizational psychology, human resource management, behavioral science, information technology).
The research also provides new information on societal level of social media usage in the work context.
The research is funded by The Finnish Work Environment Fund (2018-2020).