My discussion is based on “Strategic Social Media Use in Public Relations: Professionals’ Perceived Social Media Impact, Leadership Behaviors, and

My discussion is based on “Strategic Social Media Use in Public Relations: Professionals’ Perceived Social Media Impact, Leadership Behaviors, and Work-Life Conflict.” 


In their study, “Strategic Social Media Use in Public Relations: Professionals’ Perceived Social Media Impact, Leadership Behaviors, and Work-Life Conflict” (Jiang, Luo, & Kulemeka, 2017), the authors aim to explore how social media use affects the lives of communication professionals, both professionally and personally. They also hope to explain how social media use impacts leadership behavior (Jiang, Luo, & Kulemeka, 2017).


 The authors of this study used a quantitative research approach in the form of an online survey utilizing the SurveyMonkey platform (Jiang et al., 2017 p. 27). The survey was given to communication professionals at U.S.-based organizations from a variety of sectors including corporations, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, government, military, and service organizations (p. 27). After retrieving contact information from thousands of organizations’ websites, the authors emailed 3,889 individuals with survey requests and received 458 survey responses in return (p. 28).

Using an 11-point scale, survey participants were asked to “check the number that best describes your use of social media in your public relations-related work” in relation to the study’s questions which focused on (Jiang et al., 2017 p. 28).:

1. Which types of social media tools communication professionals use. (Note: Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter were the only options put forward.)

2. Communication professionals’ perceptions on whether social media use enhances or aggravates their work and work-life balance.

3. How social media impacts the behavior of leaders who utilize it.

Key Findings:

 Communication professionals who used YouTube for media relations, employee communications, and marketing purposes felt it enhanced their impact in work situations.

1. Social media use in crisis management situations and employee communications led a significant number of those surveyed to report social media use causing “an aggravating impact (e.g., extended work hours, increased workload” on their work (Jiang et al., 2017 p. 18).

2. Communication professionals from the public affairs/government sector, who reported using social media for work purposes and on a frequent basis, reported “a high level of strain-based work-life conflict” (Jiang et al., 2017 p. 18).

Overall Assessment: How well the study was designed and conducted.

I appreciate that the authors cast a wide net when collecting survey participants from a variety of sectors. I also appreciate that they included a variety of uses of social media i.e., media relations, crisis management, publicity, etc. (Jiang et al, 2017).   However, their results don’t account for how sector-specific nuances within each social media usage category might yield different results. For example, I think it would be interesting to understand how social media use for crisis management might be different for those in the nonprofit sector versus private corporations. I am curious to know if differentiating the responses on a sector basis might impact the results. Based on the participant profile, it seems that authors did not have enough data to determine findings for each sector (Jiang et al., 2017 p. 29).

The authors maintain that there is a “critical need” to “advance our understanding of how communication professionals’ social media use, leadership behaviors, and work-life conflict are linked to one another” (Jiang et al., 2017 p. 19). I appreciate the authors’ desire to expand the understanding of how social media can impact work and work-life balance, but I feel that this study attempts to draw too many conclusions.

I am not a statistician, but in reviewing the responses for the leadership behavior-focused questions, it appears that all the respondents gave themselves a high score with averages being 9 or 10 out of 11 with low standard deviations compared to the sections focused on social media usage and work-life conflicts. It seems that there is not enough response variation in this section to predict leadership behavior outcomes. To me, a quantitative approach to the study seems to have been appropriate for measuring social media use to predict work-life conflict. However, for predicting leadership behaviors, a qualitative approach might have been more effective.

My overall assessment of the study is that it’s too ambitious and too general. When it comes to predicting leadership behavior, it fails to be convincing. While the authors do define some specific uses of social media within the realm of communication roles, they aren’t specific enough to yield meaningful results. For example, what qualifies as “using social media” in relation to special events (Jiang et al., 2017)?


Question #1: In the Participant Profile (Table 1) for the study, you’ll note that 91.5% of survey respondents were identified as being the same race, “white” (Jiang et al., 2017 p. 29). Do you think this impacts the results of the study? Should the authors have mentioned this in their conclusion when considering possible limitations of the study? Support your response by citing material from the study.

Question #2 What are some strengths and weaknesses of the authors’ sampling method for this study? What are some potential problems with the sample population’s characteristics?

Question #3: The authors regularly refer to “social media tools” (Jiang et al., 2017) in their study. Yet the study only focuses on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Do you think it is appropriate to generalize the results from this study and imply that these results are applicable to the use of all/any social media platforms?

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