Social media use and belongingness: How is following leaders and colleagues on social media related to employees’ feeling of belongingness to the organization?
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- Master of Science 
Humans are perceived to be strongly dependent on the group members (Over, 2016), and psychology scholars state that humans have a fundamental need to be socially connected to others (Maslow, 1968). Further, the research on belongingness provides evidence that humans have a fundamental need to belong and a motivation to fulfil this need (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). Nonetheless, there is a lack of research and literature on the sense of belongingness concerning organizational employees in particular. In this study, we investigate whether there is a relationship between following leaders or colleagues on social media and employees’ feeling of belongingness to the organization, as well as what factors could have moderating effects on the relationship. We propose six models that guide our research, and to explore the relationships we use data collected from an online survey with 69 participants. The participants work in a well-known Norwegian food-producing company where the CEO is known to be active on social media. The data analysis shows that the relationship between following leaders on social media and employees’ feeling of belongingness to the company is non-significant. Likewise, the data analysis shows that the moderating effects are not significant either. However, two of the propositions are partially supported by the data, and the descriptive analysis has led to important findings being established. The study contributes to the gap in the current literature by exploring how following colleagues on social media can be a predictor of employees’ feeling of belongingness to the workplace, that has not been previously examined. Furthermore, our findings suggest that the number of colleagues followed on social media is positively associated with employees’ feeling of belongingness. Moreover, the study highlights the importance of having an active official company’s social media profile and promoting it among employees, since following it is positively correlated with following colleagues on social media, which relevance and importance are described in the paper. Ultimately, practical implications, limitations and suggestions for future research are discussed.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Leadership and Organizational Psychology - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2020/Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Business, Leadership and Change - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2020