CMM Institute 2021 Fellow completes dissertation

2021 fellow disertation

Lilya Shienko was selected as a CMM Institute Fellow in 2021 as part of an international cohort of 13 diverse colleagues, each seeking to engage with CMM concepts to investigate complex social issues. During her Fellow’s year, Lilya explored the integration of online social support as a coping mechanism for stress related to social isolation during COVID-19.  This eventually evolved into her dissertation topic, which focused on the impact of social media on job satisfaction.

Lilya incorporated CMM heuristics into the interpretive phase of her data analysis, alongside concepts of Adlerian psychology. Both Adlerian and CMM concepts informed the conceptual framing of Lilya’s dissertation, which hypothesized that social media usage during work hours could exert an influence (either positive or negative) on overall job satisfaction. Following Adlerian theory, she designed her interview protocols to focus on patterns of communication that were potentially constitutive of qualities of belongingness, identity, motivations, efficacy, and self-esteem. CMM concepts were applied in data analysis to explore the way that these qualities were “made” or co-constructed in social media-enabled communication.

Her work is the first known specific combination of CMM and Adlerian psychology in a dissertation study at Adler University. According to contemporary Adlerian scholar Richard Watts, the pioneering work of Alfred Adler is considered to have transformed the field of psychology, departing from the work of his mentor, Sigmund Freud by adding constructivist (e.g., solution-focused) narrative therapy ideas. Lilya’s work in combining both bodies of theory was well-received by her dissertation committee, which included seasoned Adlerian practitioners and educators.

Lilya has long been interested in the ways that technology such as social media has transformed ways of conducting business and entertainment. Her dissertation study was guided by prior research, which showed social media use at work might indirectly or directly impact work life through factors such as employee productivity, mental well-being, and performance. She did not find much had been written on the specific impact on job satisfaction, and found that there were even fewer studies of this phenomenon employing qualitative methodology. Lilya’s study therefore took a qualitative direction as part of the exploration of “how” social media use at work could impact overall job satisfaction. She found numerous examples of ways that social media usage in the work environment could both improve or damage self-esteem; influence productivity (increase or decrease); create social comparisons in the work sphere (e.g., fear of missing out); serve as a stress reliever or stressor during work hours; improve or worsen communication with friends and colleagues, and function as entertainment. Her conclusions suggest that future research could delve deeper into how social media use affects employee mental well-being as a factor potentially influencing job satisfaction, perhaps pointing towards strategies that organizational leaders can employ to strengthen employee mental well-being and performance through the intentional incorporation of daily social media use with a positive focus.

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