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Nils Gustafsson (2020)

Nils Gustafsson

elite networks, political communication & social media

Nils Gustafsson (2020)

Social media and civil society organizations: Exploring the institutionalization of positive emotional vocabulary


  • Nils Gustafsson
  • Noomi Weinryb
  • Cecilia Gullberg

Summary, in English

This paper explores how positive emotional vocabulary used on social media potentially alters rationalized and institutionalized ways to manage and account for civil society organizations. Based on a study of Swedish civil society, our initial findings indicate that these changes entail: 1) a replacement of previous forms of engagement based on shared negative experiences or contentious politics by strong positive emotional content, both in terms of management and accounting 2) the increasing importance of emotional language competence in terms of the usage of positive emotional vocabulary to manage both staff, board members, and volunteers 3) the increased possibility to express and be open about emotional states in the workplace, which is perceived as both enabling and challenging for managers. In sum, the paper points to an inflation in the usage of positive emotional vocabulary in established civil society organizations, indicating an emerging institutionalization process of positive emotional vocabulary as a means to organize civil society.


  • Institutionen för strategisk kommunikation








  • Business Administration
  • Sociology
  • Communication Studies


  • critical management
  • organization studies
  • civil society organizations
  • civic participation
  • social media

Conference name

EGOS Colloquium 2018

Conference date

2018-07-05 - 2018-07-07

Conference place

Tallinn, Estonia