Social media use in local government: Linkage of technology, task, and organizational context

Gustavo Henrique Maultasch Oliveira, Eric W. Welch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

207 Scopus citations


Social media technologies have begun to enter the governmental workplace as tools to accomplish improved public service and engagement. Widespread recognition of the potential of social media technology for achieving public outcomes does not match our understanding about how and why specific tools are being used for specific purposes. This paper makes use of newly collected national survey data from local government managers in five different agencies to address the questions: which social media tools are being used, for which tasks or purposes; and what organizational characteristics influence the coupling of task and technology. Findings reveal patterns of social media tool application for particular purposes, although organizations do not all use social media tools in the same way. Moreover, regression analysis shows that different organizational factors - work characteristics, innovativeness, technology and management capacity and stakeholder influence - predict each of the four technology-task couplings - social media for dissemination, social media for feedback on service quality, social media for participation, and social media for internal work collaboration. This study demonstrates that social media tools are not a monolithic group and calls for greater research attention to the complex interactions among social media technology, task and organizational context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-405
Number of pages9
JournalGovernment Information Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • E-Government
  • Local government
  • Social media
  • Socio-technical system theory
  • Technology
  • Technology-task coupling
  • Web 2.0

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Social media use in local government: Linkage of technology, task, and organizational context'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this