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Title: Introducing social networking tools into members of the European Parliament's communication patterns
Author: Belkacem, Kheira
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2013
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This PhD research adopts an interdisciplinary approach to answer the following research question: to what extent could Members of the European Parliament incorporate social networking tools (SNT) as part of their communication resources in engaging with other actors when carrying out their work as legislators? The methodological framework chosen to conduct this study is exploratory and combines two qualitative methods: elite interviews and observation. Interviews with MEPs and their staff aimed to explore MEPs’ understanding of SNT use, their motivations and their perceived benefits of using SNT when carrying out their work as legislators. Interviews with officials of the EP and members of the European civil society were purposely designed as validating interviews. In total, 29 interviews were conducted in 2011-2012. Observation of MEPs’ communication patterns during parliamentary weeks has allowed me to assess, on the one hand their communication patterns from an organisational perspective and on the other hand the potential for introducing new communicative tools into MEPs’ communicative practices. Observation was conducted with two MEPs and their staff during two weeks each. The theoretical framework of this study relies strongly upon communication network theories and organisational studies that explore the adoption of SNT in the workplace. Based on a grounded theory approach, this exploratory study suggests an emergent model of use of SNT for MEPs in carrying out their legislative work, based on MEPs’ motivations and perceived benefits of using these tools. Findings suggest that there are four domains in which MEPs could use SNT in their legislative functions: to democratise lobbying practices in the EP, to raise their awareness of public opinion, to reshape their relationship with journalists and finally to coordinate their actions as representatives with the European civil society’s. Thus, this study explores the adoption of SNT by elected members of the European Parliament by focusing on their understanding of their use of SNT when carrying out their role as legislators.
Supervisor: Coleman, Stephen ; Macintosh, Ann Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available