Public employees in social media communities: Exploring factors for internal collaboration using social network analysis

J. Ignacio Criado, Julián Villodre


This paper analyzes the interactions that public employees perform in social media communities, providing empirical evidence on the dynamics of internal collaboration. In general terms, this study responds to a rising interest in the study of social media communities as tools for co-production and innovation. In doing so, this paper asks the following research questions: How do interactions among public employees occur within a social media community? What factors determine the number of interactions in a public-sector specific social media community? For this purpose, our study analyzes NovaGob, the most active digital social media community of public sector innovation in Spain and Latin America. By using social network analysis (SNA), we provide evidence on the importance of formal and informal power in stimulating participation. Moreover, we show how interest and will to collaborate influences the number of interactions. Finally, this study uses a gender variable to discuss the possible existence of a second digital gender gap, which affects how public sector employees use these communities. This paper advances some conclusions about the behavior of public employees collaborating in social media communities, suggesting the need for future attention to inter-agency phenomenon.

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