The normalization of social media as a workplace tool

Ben Marder, Tom Calvard, Tina Kowalski, Aliette Lambert, Chris Archer-Brown

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review


As with social life, social network sites (SNSs) have permeated the organizational milieu, proving in some cases ? e.g., LinkedIn ? to be innovative workplace tools. However, in this paper we are interested in the inclusion and normalization of personal social media networks in the context of the workplace and the effects on the well-being of employees. Given both its position as arguably the largest social media platform and its personal nature, our paper focuses on Facebook. Because of its reputation for reflecting behavior that often transgresses professional boundaries, Facebook is understood to be a less appropriate social media tool to extend to workplace relationships. We explore this preconception, demonstrating through our findings that Facebook has become normalized in the workplace and thus may be an effective workplace tool. To that end, we propose a normalization thesis suggesting that Facebook norms have evolved and are now reflective of ?everyday? social norms; thus, user behavior has adapted accordingly vis-à-vis the use of Facebook in the workplace. We demonstrate this development by testing the normalization thesis from a number of perspectives related to employee well-being (emotional responses, workplace factors and personality traits). Our findings indicate that Facebook use ? and potentially the use of other personal SNSs ? has become routinized and embedded to the extent that we identify no significant barriers to the extension of Facebook to workplace relationships. These findings reflect the maturity of social media and have important implications for understanding (potentially innovative) social media use, the workplace, and increasingly blurred boundaries between work and social life.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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