Abstract: Institutionalization of social media technologies in governments and public administrations is taking place world-wide. This process implies that after an initial phase of experimentation, social media is gradually formalized within the organizational structures as a response to the disruptive nature of these digital platforms. In this paper we focus on exploring what factors operate as inhibitors of the institutionalization process of social media in public administrations. For this purpose, we have conducted a questionnaire on social media aimed at Spanish local governments with more than 50.000 inhabitants. Based on this data, and following the literature on social media institutionalization, we define what we have named Social Media Institutionalization Index (SMI). Our SMI is based on a set of resumed indicators measuring the level of institutionalization of social media in public sector organizations. Descriptive analysis shows that Spanish local governments are halfway through social media institutionalization. Moreover, aspects including security, lack of resources for maintenance, control and evaluation, and organizational culture, are perceived by public employees in charge of social media as institutionalization inhibitors. Linear regression results partially corroborate some of these perceptions, highlighting organizational culture as a fundamental barrier. At the same time, our analysis emphasizes that some inhibitors could be overvalued by public employees.
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