What is it about?
Social media is now a central means by which citizens engage in political activity. But are public servants politically active online or does the public service value of impartiality deter them from being active online? Analysis of survey data from Canada gathered during an election period show that unionized public servants are less active online despite participating more than other citizens in conventional offline political activities.
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Why is it important?
As social media has become a central means by which citizens engage in their social world, including gathering political information and participating in political discussions, for public servants, who are expected to serve all citizens and governments in an impartial manner this raises possible tensions. Thus far, it seems that a commitment to maintaining a perception of impartiality is leading public servants to refrain from being politically active compared to their fellow citizens working in the private sector.
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This page is a summary of: Public servants, anonymity, and political activity online: bureaucratic neutrality in peril?, International Review of Administrative Sciences, October 2018, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/0020852318780452.
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