Social media research wins 2011 Best Article Award

Nov 02, 2011

The management journal Business Horizons and Elsevier have awarded Beedie School of Business researchers Jan Kietzmann, Kristopher Hermkens, Ian McCarthy, and Bruno Silvestre with the Best Article Award for 2011 for their paper, “Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media.”

“The article is an excellent exemplar of the best of Business Horizons in that it addresses an important and timely topic while offering practical lessons for managers,” said the journal in a special announcement. “It also reinforces our commitment to be one of the leading publications for social media research and practitioner usage.”

Business Horizons also noted that the paper has been widely cited in industry and academic circles. It appears on a list of articles recommended by the US Department of Health for health care professionals to understand emerging health communication issues, and is listed as a key reading by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) policy paper on social media and its impact on employers and trade unions. The paper is also currently listed among the Top 10 of ScienceDirect’s hottest 25 articles published in its portfolio of business management and accounting journals.

The research, published in the journal’s spring edition, argues that for managers to effectively use and respond to social media they need to understand the different functionalities behind different social media platforms.

The Beedie School authors present a framework and recommendations for how firms should develop strategies for monitoring, understanding and responding to different social media activities — on the premise that different social media arenas correspond with different organizational functions — from employee recruitment to customer service to public relations.

“The social media ecosystem is rapidly evolving, and many managers struggle to understand the implications, both opportunities and threats, posed by this ecosystem, and as a result they are feeling the pressure,” said Ian McCarthy, Beedie School of Business Professor and Canada Research Chair in Technology & Operations Management. “There is an abundance of evidence indicating that it can significantly impact a firm’s reputation, sales and even survival.”

The research concludes that by carefully analyzing the layers of the social media ecosystem, firms can understand how these activities vary in terms of their function and impact — and act accordingly.

“Differences do matter in social media, which is why you need to set your priorities,” said Jan Kietzmann, Assistant Professor at the Beedie School. “That’s why it is important for companies to understand and where necessary develop these social media platforms.”

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