Author Identifier

ORCID: 0000-0002-0226-8954

Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Business and Law

First Supervisor

Professor Craig Standing

Second Supervisor

Dr Richard Fulford


There has been rapid adoption of social media (SM) in business functions such as marketing and advertising. This being primarily due to its capability to communicate information. There has been less widespread adoption of SM for other business functions and the potential of SM is not comprehensively understood. The purpose of this thesis is to explore the potential of SM for project management and to understand some of the difficulties that arise from SM use. The research specifically investigated how SM is being used for project activities and the maturity of the management processes that govern SM use. Implications for underlying theories such as virtual team, social capital and process maturity have also been analysed.

An expert panel of project management practitioners from various geographic regions were invited to participate in this research. To facilitate the investigation, the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) from Project Management Institute (PMI) was used as the term of reference comprising forty seven project management activities. The research utilised two methods, firstly a Delphi Study of three rounds was used to identify the fundamentals of the phenomenon and attempt to align the expert views, and secondly, Structured Case Study interviews took place to explore the rationale and motivation of responses given by selected panellists. It further investigates the impact on project team performance and the robustness of processes that supports SM use by assessing the contribution to relationship building, trusts, coordination, cohesion and team virtuality.

Key findings from the Delphi Study indicate that not all SM categories offer benefit for project activities. A list of SM categories that are most and least useful for all forty seven PMBOK process activities (across the project lifecycle) was identified. The two knowledge areas that are significantly benefitted are communication and stakeholder management while procurement management had limited use for SM. The findings also led to factors that could enable and inhibit the use of SM.

Structured Case study confirmed that project team performance is enhanced through the use of SM as it improves social capital factors of relationship building, coordination and cohesion, however, trust development is not easily achieved. SM tools support mobility, facilitate effective and efficient information sharing, provide a single information repository and offer wider stakeholder reach surpassing geographic limitations constrained only by internet connectivity which in composite results in cost savings for project team communication. These factors increase team virtuality but the perception that SM use is free or of minimal costs, may encourage circumvention of control mechanisms such as senior management reviews and approvals. Findings indicate that lack of formulated business processes to manage SM use will lead to poor governance. Therefore, a Social Media Maturity Model (SM Cube hereafter) was propagated. SM Cube will help project professionals evaluate the robustness of SM enabling processes. This research proffers a mechanism to determine maturity of support processes for SM use thereby adding originality to the body of knowledge. Project professional can use this research as a guideline or framework to introduce SM for their project management. It extends the process maturity, virtual team and social capital theories.