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Pasquini, Laura A. Organizational Identity and Community Values: Determining
Meaning in Post-Secondary Education Social Media Guideline and Policy Documents.
Dissertation Abstract, Doctor of Philosophy (Applied Technology and Performance
Improvement), August 2014.
With the increasing use of social media by students, researchers, administrative
staff, and faculty in post-secondary education (PSE), a number of institutions have
developed guideline and policy documents to set standards for social media use. Social
media platforms and applications have the potential to increase communication
channels, support learning, enhance research, and encourage community engagement
at PSE institutions. As social media implementation and administration has developed
in PSE, there has been minimal assessment of the substance of social media guideline
and policy documents (McNeil, 2012).
The first objective of this research study was to examine an accessible, online
database (corpus) comprised of 24, 243 atomic social media guideline and policy text
documents from 250 PSE institutions representing 10 countries to identify central
attributes. To determine text meaning from topic extraction, a rotated latent semantic
analysis (rLSA) method was applied (Evangelopoulos & Polyakov, 2014). The second
objective of this investigation was to determine if the distribution of topics analyze in the
corpus differ by PSE institution geographic location. To analyze the diverging topics, the
researcher utilized an iterative consensus-building algorithm (Winson-Geideman &
Through the maximum term frequencies, LSA determined a rotated 36-factor
solution that identified common attributes and topics shared among the 24,243 social
media guideline and policy atomic documents. This initial finding produced a list of 36
universal topics discussed in social media guidelines and policies across all 250 PSE
institutions from 10 countries. Continually, the applied chi-squared tests, that measured
expected and observed document term counts, identified distribution differences of
content related factors between US and Non-US PSE institutions.
This analysis offered a concrete analysis for unstructured text data on the topic of
social media guidance. This resulted in a comprehensive list of recommendations for
developing social media guidelines and policies, and a database of social media
guideline and policy documents for the PSE sector and other related organizations.
Additionally, this research stimulated important theoretical development for how
organizations socially construct a semantic structure within a community of practice
(Wenger, 1998). By assessing the community of practice, comprised of PSE 250
institutions that direct social media use, a corpus of documents provided unstructured
data to evaluate the community. The spontaneous participation and reification process
of the social media guideline and policy document corpus reaffirmed that a corpus-
creating community of practice can instinctively form a knowledge-sharing organization
that provides meaning, values, and identity. These findings should stimulate further
research contributions, and provides practitioners and scholars with tools to measure,
understand, and assess semantic space for other artifacts developed within a
community of practice in other industries, organizations, or distributed associations.