Purpose This paper aims at exploring how and to what extent universities enlisted Facebook, a social media platform, in the discharging and shaping of their accountability during the COVID-19 emergency. Design/methodology/approach Drawing on the literature on accountability in the virtual world and crises, a netnographic analysis of the Facebook postings by a sample of Italian universities is performed to identify and interpret the accountability discharged via social media platforms by universities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings Universities used social media in a range of modes, from conveying simple instructions to rendering traditional accountability for their conduct during the crisis. However, in various Facebook postings, they give voice to various stakeholders’ thoughts and experiences, thereby completely reversing the traditional accountability relationship and making the various stakeholders feel included in the university community. Practical implications Social media can constitute a useful tool for organizations willing to deploy different modes of accountabilities, according to what is required by the specific situation. In the authors’ case, social media provided a forum for account-sharing during a critical situation that was common to both the account giver and the recipient. Originality/value To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the use of social media by universities for accountability purposes and to reveal their possibilities in supporting more ethical forms of accountability.

Account(share)ability through social media during the COVID-19 emergency: the case of universities

Leoni, Giulia;
2022

Abstract

Purpose This paper aims at exploring how and to what extent universities enlisted Facebook, a social media platform, in the discharging and shaping of their accountability during the COVID-19 emergency. Design/methodology/approach Drawing on the literature on accountability in the virtual world and crises, a netnographic analysis of the Facebook postings by a sample of Italian universities is performed to identify and interpret the accountability discharged via social media platforms by universities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings Universities used social media in a range of modes, from conveying simple instructions to rendering traditional accountability for their conduct during the crisis. However, in various Facebook postings, they give voice to various stakeholders’ thoughts and experiences, thereby completely reversing the traditional accountability relationship and making the various stakeholders feel included in the university community. Practical implications Social media can constitute a useful tool for organizations willing to deploy different modes of accountabilities, according to what is required by the specific situation. In the authors’ case, social media provided a forum for account-sharing during a critical situation that was common to both the account giver and the recipient. Originality/value To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the use of social media by universities for accountability purposes and to reveal their possibilities in supporting more ethical forms of accountability.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/1086342
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