Dec 6 2019

Doctoral Dissertation Defense: Gustavo Henrique Maultasch de Oliveira

December 6, 2019

2:00 PM - 4:00 PM


2203 AEH


400 S Peoria Street, Chicago, IL 60607



The Department of Public Administration is pleased to announce the upcoming doctoral dissertation defense:

Candidate:  Gustavo Henrique Maultasch de Oliveira, PhD in Public Administration

Title: “Use of Social Media by Local Governments and its Organizational Factors"

Date/Time: Friday, December 6, 2019 2pm

Location: UIC Art and Exhibition Hall (AEH)
400 South Peoria St., Chicago, IL 60607, Room 2203

Dissertation Committee:
Dr. James Thompson, Chair (Department of Public Administration)
Dr. Eric Welch, Advisor (Arizona State University- School of Public Affairs)
Dr. Michael Siciliano (Department of Public Administration)
Dr. Yonghong Wu (Department of Public Administration)
Dr. Steve Jones (Department of Communications)

*All are welcome to this public defense.*

See below for the Dissertation Abstract.


As governments increase their use of social media for public communication, many hold the expectation that these tools can help increase civic engagement and improve the quality of democracy. To understand if this is a mere expectation or accurately reflects the way social media is being used by governments, an empirical investigation was conducted, with two main goals: to understand how US local governments are actually using social media, that is, for what communication purposes they are using it (for this, three main purposes were proposed theoretically: Governance, Technocratic and Rhetoric); and to understand the internal organizational factors that explain the use of social media for these different purposes. Two different datasets were used for this investigation, one consisting of a qualitative analysis and coding of Facebook posts by local governments, and the other consisting of a broad survey answered by local government managers of five different departments (Mayor’s Office, Police, Finance, Community Development and Parks and Recreation). Results indicate that most departments are using social media for perfunctory purposes (Technocratic, for broadcast of information), but are not using it for more participatory, engagement purposes. As for the organizational factors, results indicate that some factors – such as legal obligation, positive attitudes towards social media and organizational guides for social media usage – positively affect most purposes of use, while other organizational factors – such as employee discretion – affect only certain purposes. The dissertation concludes with a discussion of the contributions for the theory and practice of public administration, in particular regarding the use of social media and technology in government.


Sharon Hayes

Date posted

Nov 27, 2019

Date updated

Nov 27, 2019