Original Research

Sensemaking of social media management: Seizing affordances in a dynamic complex environment

Fradreck Nyambandi, Andre De la Harpe
South African Journal of Information Management | Vol 26, No 1 | a1641 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v26i1.1641 | © 2024 Fradreck Nyambandi, Andre de la Harpe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 December 2022 | Published: 18 April 2024

About the author(s)

Fradreck Nyambandi, Department of Information Technology, Faculty of Informatics and Design, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa
Andre De la Harpe, Department of Information Technology, Faculty of Informatics and Design, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa


Background: Social Media (SM) growth and its acceptance at various economic levels are making it obligatory to make sense of its management in different business environments. A business environment can be volatile, uncertain, ambiguous, static-complex, simple-dynamic with a few similar, continuously changing factors, or simple-static with a few similar, unchanging factors. The environment is exemplified by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, regional war, globalisation, the fourth industrial revolution and disruptive technology. Regulatory focus theory was used to examine whether managers adopt a prevention or promotion focus to SM use, shed light on employees’ attitudes and whether regulatory focus affected the measures taken toward SM management.

Objectives: The purpose of this paper was to explore how designed SM platforms can be managed in the face of dynamic and complex environments.

Method: Experts’ interviews from various organisations were selected using snowball sampling to gather qualitatively rich data. The data were analysed thematically using ATLAS.ti software.

Results: Prevention through reengineering processes, increased use of algorithms, information technology (IT) investments and restricting SM to private use only were observed among experts. Additionally, promotion-focus managers allow employees to use SM for work-related tasks and use monitoring software.

Conclusion: Information technology investments, sizing SM affordances and sensemaking SM management is becoming mandatory given the dynamic nature or pace at which the environment is changing.

Contribution: The study contributed practical, social mediations, generated and qualitative method choice in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data.


sensemaking; SM management; KT; knowledge transfer; dynamic-complex environment; regulatory focus theory

JEL Codes

D83: Search • Learning • Information and Knowledge • Communication • Belief • Unawareness; L96: Telecommunications; M15: IT Management

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure


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