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The Use of Social Media in Public Relations Practice: The Case of the Jordanian Non-Profit Organisations

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posted on 2022-10-13, 13:22 authored by Hanaa Albanna


Many social media experts have discussed the variety of benefits that could be attained using

applications of web 2.0 (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube) by non-profitable organisations.

Nonetheless, very few studies have examined the adoption of social media applications from

the perspective of non-profit organisations (NPOs). Similarly, while the factors associated with

social media adoption have been well-documented in developed countries, few studies have

been conducted regarding social media adoption in developing countries. Since many nonprofit organisations in developing countries are now adopting various aspects of social media,

we need to provide decision makers and Public Relations practitioners with accurate data to

more fully understand how it is being used and how it is affecting their organisations. Hence,

there is a need for more empirical studies to investigate factors that would influence and

increase the usage of social media in the non-profit organisations.

This research offers an original contribution to this field of knowledge by outlining how social

media is being adopted within non-profit organisations in Jordan; an area that has not been

explored previously. The outcomes of this enquiry have beneficial implications for both the

specific industry sector, as well as for academic knowledge more generally.

Accordingly, the main purpose of the current thesis is to understand the current situation of

social media usage as well as to identify the factors associated with the use of social media

applications and their effectiveness in Jordanian NPOs.

An expanded model was proposed based on four factors [Effort Expectancy, Performance

Expectancy, Facilitating Condition and Social Influence) extracted from the Unified Theory of

Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT). This framework breaks down the factors that

determine the adoption and use of social media technologies in NPOs. This framework was

extended by adding management commitment and effectiveness as external influencing


The study utilises a mixed-methods research methodology. A survey was distributed to

employees in the 98 Jordanian NPOs that were identified as actively using social media

applications. Structural equation modelling (SEM) was applied using the AMOS 21 program to

test the current study data which was obtained using questionnaire. Model fitness and

construct validity and reliability were tested, followed by the validation of the conceptual

model and the research hypotheses. In addition, the researcher conducted semi-structured

interviews with five Public Relations practitioners in five of these NPOs, using a thematic

analysis to analyse the data generated.

The results demonstrate that NPOs in Jordan have mainly used social media for community

engagement and for promoting their programmes and services. This is primarily done using

Facebook and Twitter.

The statistical findings supported the important role of performance expectancy, effort

expectancy, facilitating condition, social influences and management commitment on the

actual usage of social media. It was also found that Public Relations practitioners are satisfied

that their use of social media makes a significant contribution to their organisation's Public

Relations functions (awareness and community engagement).

This study establishes a foundation for the use of social media by NPOs, and provides an

improved understanding of how and why they are using it. The study also sheds greater light

on the factors that govern social media adoption in NPOs operating in the context of

developing nations, and, thereby, on the understanding of the organisational integration of

social media technologies in this environment. This study provides a set of implications and

key contributions which could potentially help Jordanian NPOs towards successful adoption

and diffusion of social media, hence accelerating their usage of this technology and thereby

enhancing their relationship with the public. Moreover, the findings of this research provide

empirical evidence that may be relevant for other developing countries that have a similar

context to Jordan. The findings of this research have the potential to be of benefit to all

stakeholders of NPOs, including policy makers, as well asresearchersin the social media, Public

Relations and non-profit research fields.

Furthermore, this study makes an important theoretical contribution by applying the UTAUT

to examine new technology (social media applications) in a new context (Jordan); a nonWestern context that has been almost unexplored previously. By including management

commitment and effectiveness alongside the UTAUT constructs and adding new relationships,

this study was able to extend the theoretical horizon of UTAUT.

It is recommended that future research develops a design to validate the conceptual model of

this study, opening up the prospect of reapplying and retesting the study model to explain

Public Relations practitioners' use of multiple technologies (e.g. e-government, e-learning, ecommerce).



  • School of Management

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  • Doctoral

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  • PhD

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