The Role of Department Type in Public Managers’ Attitudes Toward Social Media Use
The American Review of Public Administration , Volume 52, pp 457-471; https://doi.org/10.1177/02750740221106158
Abstract: Social media technologies have been widely adopted by governments to increase civic engagement, promote openness, and extend services. Previous research finds that public managers’ attitudes are important predictors of social media adoption and successful implementation. Managers’ attitudes may vary due to different organizational structures, functions, and operations based on department type or because departments vary along with key dimensions. This research investigates the following questions: (1) Does department type significantly predict public managers’ attitudes toward social media, (2) does department type moderate the effect of predictors of managers’ attitudes toward social media found in previous research, and (3) do the predictors of managers’ attitudes toward social media found in previous research mediate attitude differences observed across different kinds of departments. Using data collected from a 2014 national web survey in the United States on technology in city government, we find department type is an important predictor of managers’ attitudes toward social media use. The effects of other predictors of attitudes toward social media use were not moderated by department type. Instead, those predictors had similar effects regardless of department type. Some of the variables related to organizational characteristics and culture (e.g., social media use, innovativeness, and use of e-services) helped to explain differences between the attitudes of managers from different departments. Our findings are important for developing strategies to target managers’ negative attitudes toward using social media, thus removing one of the barriers to successful technology implementation.
Keywords: department type / attitudes toward social media use
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