Design and Innovation Research Seminar | Weatherhead School at Case Western Reserve University

Design and Innovation Research Seminar

From Chaos to the Organizing of Mass Mobilization: The Role of Social Media in Social Tragedies


Several studies have shown both the effectiveness and pitfalls of social media for mediating collective communication during political upheavals. However, little literature exists on understanding how the diversity of content generated in social media enables the collective sensemaking of tragic events that challenge the legitimacy of public authorities. This research aims to broaden our understanding of how social media facilitate the collective sensemaking of tragedies that lead to mass mobilizations. We used in-depth qualitative research to understand data from the Twittersphere. We conducted our study in the context of a Guatemalan tragedy in which 41 girls living in a state care home lost their lives. During the aftermath of the tragedy, discussions on social media led to the mobilization of thousands of Guatemalans in several crowd protests against the government. Our theoretical contribution is a process model of how social media enables the collective construction of meaning powerful enough to mobilize thousands of individuals in protest. 




This paper is co-authored with Jose Carlos Arriola Ortiz and Arvind Tripathi and is currently under review.



Michael D. Myers is Professor of Information Systems in the Department of Information Systems and Operations Management at the University of Auckland Business School. His work has been published in many journals and books. He wrote a book entitled Qualitative Research in Business & Management, the second edition published by Sage Publications in 2013. He won the Best Paper award (with Heinz Klein) for the most outstanding paper published in MIS Quarterly in 1999. This paper has been cited over 5500 times. He also won the Best Paper Award (with Lynda Harvey) for the best paper published in Information Technology & People in 1997. He currently serves as Senior Editor of Information & Organization, European Journal of Information Systems and Pacific Asia Journal of the AIS. He is also Editor of the AISWorld Section on Qualitative Research. He previously served as Senior Editor of MIS Quarterly from 2001-2005 and as Senior Editor of Information Systems Research from 2008-2010. He also served as President of the Association for Information Systems (AIS) in 2006-2007 and as Chair of the International Federation of Information Processing (IFIP) Working Group 8.2 from 2006-2008. Michael is a Fellow of the Association for Information Systems.

Friday, Sep. 14, 2018 from 10:30 a.m. to noon
120 Peter B. Lewis Building
11119 Bellflower Road
Cleveland, OH 44106-7235
United States
Speaker(s): Michael D. Myers, PhD, Univ. of Auckland
Sponsored by: Design and Innovation Department


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