Controlled by algorithms - A study about the external bureaucratization of employer branding efforts caused by social media
Abstract: Employer branding, social media, public sector, algorithms bureaucracy, technology, control The purpose of this study is to deepen the understanding on employer branding via social media in the public sector. The aim is to investigate how employees within a municipality make sense and meaning of employer branding via social media and how this creates and potentially consumes positive aspects e.g. effectivity and transparency for the organisation. To be able to reach the purpose of this paper a qualitative case study was conducted at a municipality in Sweden with the aid of semi-structured interviews and observations. The study had an interpretative, critical and abductive approach. We found that algorithms implied three different meanings to the employees in the municipality. The first category we found was that the algorithms implied control, the second implication we found was the increase of interaction and speed, and the third finding, lastly, was the anxious feelings around social media. By this, we uncovered several different meanings that all tied back to one certain meaning: the control by the algorithms and the rules around them. In our research we found one common thread of the meaning which was the underlying control by algorithms when working with employer branding specifically through social media. Thus, what we found was social media to become an external bureaucratization of employer branding efforts, which could be understood as causing both positive and negative effects in the organisation.
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