Smartphones and in turn social networking sites (SNS) have become daily companions for a lot of people around the globe. Social media allows for the instant sharing of the most in5mate experiences with respec5ve audiences. This poten5ally wide-ranging visibility of social media presences affects not only the private lives of individuals but also more and more their professional lives. It can become a risk when private and professional lives cross paths online. Whereas there are clear norms that cons5tute professional behavior at work, there are no such norms governing social media profiles. Consequently, the possibili5es of norm viola5ons arise which can lead to disapproval from colleagues. Yet, the appeal of social media usage is growing stronger and has started permea5ng not only teenagers lives anymore but also adult users lives. Therefore, adult users have to find a balance between providing informa5on about oneself to colleagues but not viola5ng any professional norms. This is a behavior which has been labelled online boundary management. However, research as to what determinants influence the decision to be more private or more open online in regards to co-workers is s5ll scarce. In the context of online boundary management theory as well as the theory of planned behavior, this study examined the influence of perceived social norms at work on individuals’ preference for separa5on between work contacts and private contacts on Instagram. An online survey was conducted where the perceived social norms at the respondents’ workplace were measured in four dis5nct categories. Their levels of preferred separa5on of work and private contacts was also assessed. The concept of perceived social risk was included in the analysis as a poten5al mediator. The findings suggest that two out of the four measured perceived social norms aspects, work/life integra5on norms as well as Instagram usage norms, had significant effects on the desire to separate work contacts from private contacts on the SNS Instagram. Higher levels of perceived formaliza5on in work/life integra5on norms as well as Instagram norms lead to a stronger preference for separa5on between contacts. Furthermore, social risk was found to par5ally mediate this rela5onship. Social norms regarding communica5on prac5ces or rules and regula5ons did not show strong significance.

Additional Metadata
Keywords media, business, Boundary Management, Instagram, Social Norms, Social Risk, Co-Workers
Thesis Advisor A.M. van Prooijen
Persistent URL
Series Media & Business
J. Frank. (2019, June 27). Hey, Do You Have Instagram? The blurring lines between private and professional iden55es on social networking sites in the context of social norms and online boundary management.. Media & Business. Retrieved from