Despite the exponential growth of social media in emergency services design and delivery, academic research and managerial practice have paid little attention to how to adopt and use it to transform operations and enhance organizational performance. This paper aims to provide some insights of a longitudinal case study of the adoption and use of social media technologies by the New South Wales (NSW) state emergency service (SES) in Australia. The study identifies a set of internal and external factors explaining the adoption and use of social media by the NSW SES including: the social media bandwagon effect, the effectiveness of social media use during the January 2011 Queensland floods, the NSW state strategic planning on emergency services, the opportunity offered by the upgrade of the NSW SES web site, and a strong internal management leadership toward the use of social media to support emergency operations. Finally, implications for research and practice are discussed.
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Appendix 1: Sample interview questions
Please can you comment on NSW SES vision/strategy around social media tools adoption and use?
Please tell us about the organizational environment that brought about the need to adopt and use social media tools.
What are the objectives of the agency social media initiative?
Comment on the use by the NSW SES of the following social media tools (e.g., not aware of this, do not have, but aware, have but do not regularly use, have and regularly use for firm purposes):
Facebook Company page; Facebook Group; Facebook Events Page; Twitter Channel; YouTube video/channel; Del.icio.us; LinkedIn; flickr; Other technology used (Please specify..............).
Please, can you comment on social media platform within the NSW SES (do you have integration of social platform with existing enterprise information systems?).
Do you take advantage of outside help to establish and/or maintain these tools?
Can you comment on the following dimensions related to social media adoption by the NSW SES
Level of use (internal and external),
Value/benefits (tangible and intangible),
Can you comment on the types of interactions current used through social media tools by NSW SES with key stakeholders:
Volunteer (e.g., on the field, achievements, bond and identity to the NSW SES)
Citizen (e.g., information (type???)
Other agencies (e.g., collaboration, information sharing, coordination)
Management of comments (e.g., visibility, possibility to post and add, follow, etc.)
Watching and listening to what fans or followers or members are posting
Problem identification and resolution.
Can you comment on the role of senior management (e.g., support, understanding of importance of social media tools to support SES strategy) during the adoption process of social media tools?
Can you Comment on the future and importance of social media tools within the NSW SES?
Appendix 2: The NSW SES organizational chart
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Fosso Wamba, S., Edwards, A. & Akter, S. Social media adoption and use for improved emergency services operations: the case of the NSW SES. Ann Oper Res 283, 225–245 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10479-017-2545-9
- Disaster management
- Emergency service
- Social media