Public Affairs team wins best paper award

A collaboration between two students in the School of Public Affairs won the best paper award at the College of Public Service and Community Solutions Second Doctoral Conference.

Federica Fusi and Fengxiu Zhang’s paper, Professional Networks in Public Organizations and Social Media Use, which explored social media use by public employees with a particular emphasis on relationships.

They say that most work has focused on organizational and individual factors rather than ties between employees. The pair used 2014 survey data from a U.S. public university to evaluate connections such as closeness, strength of ties, seniority and outside work socialization. They also incorporated perceptions of social media, use in and out of the workplace, and individual characteristics from gender to tenure.

The authors said that findings “provide a more nuanced understanding of how public employees utilize social media tools in public organizations and enhance our understanding of the interconnectedness between offline and online professional networks.”

Fusi is interested in technology in public organizations and data sharing. Zhang’s interests lie in risk management and adaption in public organizations and e-government. Both students work the Center for Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Studies (CSTEPS) at ASU.

“They saw the Doctoral Research Symposium as an opportunity to work together, and for the first time, write a paper without faculty guidance,” said Mary Feeney, associate director of CSTEPS. “They have been loudly collaborating, debating over the model and passing drafts back and forth.”

“They have put in a lot of hard work and talent, and are most deserving of this award,” Feeney added.

Fusi and Zhang plan to make revisions based on feedback at the conference. They will submit to a peer-reviewed journal.