Social media as management fashion – A discourse perspective
Paper i proceeding, 2013
Social media platforms and services have rapidly grown into an important societal phenomenon, lately also with increased impact on business. The relative novelty of its occurrence in a business context, the lack of well-grounded best practice and the scarcity of research, result in organizational decision-makers having to rely on vendor descriptions and trade press articles to make sense of social media. By using management fashion theory and discourse analysis, we examine how a management fashion discourse on social media unfolds and enacts social media as a disruptive force that managers must consider in the form of e.g. strategies, normative guidelines and policies. Our analysis shows that social media discourse differs somewhat from how previous IT fashions have developed, primarily due to the fact that social media discourse is propelled by forces outside the company. We analyze the discourse constructs identified in the data using management fashion theory and position social media discourse as a particular form of management fashion. The ‘problem discourse’ defines hinders towards strategic development of social media and the reasons for their existence, which provides an agenda for change. The ‘solution discourse’ theorizes social media as a business case and provides arguments for how managers should organize internally to meet the new demands. The ‘bandwagon discourse’ provides role models, policies and codes of conduct for a successful dissemination of social media into the organization.