The Use of Social Media in Public Relations Practice: The Case of the Jordanian Non-Profit Organisations
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Many social media experts have discussed the variety of benefits that could be attained using applications of web 2.0 (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube) by non-profitable organisations. Nonetheless, very few studies have examined the adoption of social media applications from the perspective of non-profit organisations (NPOs). Similarly, while the factors associated with social media adoption have been well-documented in developed countries, few studies have been conducted regarding social media adoption in developing countries. Since many nonprofit organisations in developing countries are now adopting various aspects of social media, we need to provide decision makers and Public Relations practitioners with accurate data to more fully understand how it is being used and how it is affecting their organisations. Hence, there is a need for more empirical studies to investigate factors that would influence and increase the usage of social media in the non-profit organisations. This research offers an original contribution to this field of knowledge by outlining how social media is being adopted within non-profit organisations in Jordan; an area that has not been explored previously. The outcomes of this enquiry have beneficial implications for both the specific industry sector, as well as for academic knowledge more generally. Accordingly, the main purpose of the current thesis is to understand the current situation of social media usage as well as to identify the factors associated with the use of social media applications and their effectiveness in Jordanian NPOs. An expanded model was proposed based on four factors [Effort Expectancy, Performance Expectancy, Facilitating Condition and Social Influence) extracted from the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT). This framework breaks down the factors that determine the adoption and use of social media technologies in NPOs. This framework was extended by adding management commitment and effectiveness as external influencing factors. The study utilises a mixed-methods research methodology. A survey was distributed to employees in the 98 Jordanian NPOs that were identified as actively using social media applications. Structural equation modelling (SEM) was applied using the AMOS 21 program to test the current study data which was obtained using questionnaire. Model fitness and construct validity and reliability were tested, followed by the validation of the conceptual model and the research hypotheses. In addition, the researcher conducted semi-structured interviews with five Public Relations practitioners in five of these NPOs, using a thematic analysis to analyse the data generated. The results demonstrate that NPOs in Jordan have mainly used social media for community engagement and for promoting their programmes and services. This is primarily done using Facebook and Twitter. The statistical findings supported the important role of performance expectancy, effort expectancy, facilitating condition, social influences and management commitment on the actual usage of social media. It was also found that Public Relations practitioners are satisfied that their use of social media makes a significant contribution to their organisation’s Public Relations functions (awareness and community engagement). This study establishes a foundation for the use of social media by NPOs, and provides an improved understanding of how and why they are using it. The study also sheds greater light on the factors that govern social media adoption in NPOs operating in the context of developing nations, and, thereby, on the understanding of the organisational integration of social media technologies in this environment. This study provides a set of implications and key contributions which could potentially help Jordanian NPOs towards successful adoption and diffusion of social media, hence accelerating their usage of this technology and thereby enhancing their relationship with the public. Moreover, the findings of this research provide empirical evidence that may be relevant for other developing countries that have a similar context to Jordan. The findings of this research have the potential to be of benefit to all stakeholders of NPOs, including policy makers, as well asresearchersin the social media, Public Relations and non-profit research fields. Furthermore, this study makes an important theoretical contribution by applying the UTAUT to examine new technology (social media applications) in a new context (Jordan); a nonWestern context that has been almost unexplored previously. By including management commitment and effectiveness alongside the UTAUT constructs and adding new relationships, this study was able to extend the theoretical horizon of UTAUT. It is recommended that future research develops a design to validate the conceptual model of this study, opening up the prospect of reapplying and retesting the study model to explain Public Relations practitioners’ use of multiple technologies (e.g. e-government, e-learning, ecommerce).
Phd Thesis - School of Management
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