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Enacting Boundaries through Social Technologies: The Dance between Work and Private Life
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1138-6645
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Social technologies have become ubiquitous. As technology in one shape or form infiltrates all areas of life, naturally there are consequences for individuals and organisations. Consequences arise when organisations implement technologies voluntarily but also when the employees use technologies to connect working life and private life in unforeseen ways. Platforms such as Facebook or Twitter enable boundary blurring and crossing, thus allowing the coming together of different areas of life. The concept of boundary work allows one to explore how people address the many challenges that arise as a result of using social technologies partly for work and partly for private purposes. The qualitative study design, complete with interviews and online observations of Facebook and Twitter, employed in this research helps to explore two research questions. Firstly, how do particular affordances of social technologies affect the blurring of boundaries between work and private life? Secondly, how do employees in non-governmental organisations enact boundaries between work and private life, with and in spite of social technologies?

The analysis shows that the particular affordances of social technologies, visibility, persistence and association increase boundary permeability and blending. The concept of boundary work is developed further by distinguishing offline and online boundary work. With the omnipresence of social technologies, it does not suffice purely to use offline boundary work, as people develop a variety of online boundary work tactics, too. The results indicate that challenges for employees are no longer restricted simply to boundaries between work and private life, but they are also expanding into the boundaries between the public and private spheres. As a consequence, this study suggests that many online representations exist, and organisations would gain substantially from understanding the differences between them, in order to better address changing conditions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm Business School, Stockholm University , 2015. , 236 p.
Keyword [en]
social technology, boundaries, NGO
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-123313ISBN: 978-91-7649-269-7OAI: diva2:873288
Public defence
2016-02-12, Gröjersalen, hus 3, Kräftriket, Roslagsvägen 101, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2016-01-21 Created: 2015-11-23 Last updated: 2015-11-25Bibliographically approved

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Siegert, Steffi
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