Ward van Zoonen is an Associate Professor in Leadership and Management at the Jyväskylän School of Business of Economics. Ward is the academic director of the profiling area Emergent Work in the Digital Society at the University of Jyväskylä and holds a teaching position at the communication science department at VU University Amsterdam. Ward obtained his Ph.D. in Communication Science at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research at the University of Amsterdam. Prior to this Ph.D., he completed a research master in communication science (MSc), a BS in Communication Science, and Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in marketing. He has received various international awards and recognitions for his research.
Currently, Ward’s research and teaching are focused on the digital transformation, remote work, and social networks in organizations that afford and constrain the ways employees communicate and collaborate. After obtaining his Ph.D. focusing on employees’ use of social technologies, his work has emphasized the study of emergent and advanced technologies in the context of organizing. He has paid specific attention to issues related to communication and behavioral visibility, as well as to how employees organize their connectivity to work across time and space.
The digitalization of work and society has raised important new challenges and opportunities for organizations and their employees. In order to succeed in the rapid transition into the new era of data-intensive and technology-supported work we need to develop a deeper understanding into how communication and collaboration is afforded and constrained by technology.
1. Data representations and employee surveillance.
Ward is an Academy of Finland Research Fellow (2023 – 2027). In his research project he aims to explore the implications of dataveillance – surveillance and monitoring practices based on digital trace data. The project recognizes the increasing availability of data about employees and its use in predicting employee motivations and behaviors. The project highlights the potential misrepresentations that can occur through data representations, which are influenced by surveillance and counter-surveillance practices. The primary objectives of the research are to investigate the process of dataveillance as a surveillance and counter-surveillance mechanism that shapes data representations and to examine how these dynamics impact employee well-being.
The project builds upon the concept of visibility management, which encompasses the organizational dynamics of surveillance and counter-surveillance. It explores how data becomes visible and how individuals exercise control over the data that is represented. The research also seeks to understand the individual consequences of surveillance practices and data representations, focusing on the impact on employees’ well-being. Previous studies have shown the potential negative effects of surveillance, including resistance, dissatisfaction, and increased turnover.
The research questions for the project are as follows:
- How are workplace surveillance and monitoring tactics deployed on employee data, and how do employees respond to such tactics?
- How do surveillance and counter-surveillance tactics shape data representations?
- What are the individual implications of these dynamics?
By addressing these research questions, the project aims to contribute to a deeper understanding of dataveillance, data representations, and their effects on employees in European organizations.
2. The Digitalization of media work
The DataMedia project is generously supported by the Helsingin Sanomat Säätiö (2023-2024). The project aims to investigate the impact of datafication on media workers and their well-being. Datafication refers to the transformation of media work and the quantification of various aspects of it, such as audience behavior and performance metrics. The project focuses on employees in media organizations who are particularly affected by datafication. The goal is to understand how datafication influences the work conditions, professional identities, and ultimately the well-being of media workers.
The project recognizes that data has become a valuable resource, shaping the belief that quantifying human behavior can provide an objective understanding of reality. This shift towards data-driven practices has brought changes to media production, distribution, and labor practices. However, concerns arise regarding the reductionist nature of datafication and its ability to accurately represent the complexity of media work and workers.
By understanding the forces that shape media workers’ experiences and well-being in the context of datafication, the project aims to contribute to the foundation’s goal of supporting the future of Finnish media and quality journalism. The interdisciplinary approach of the project combines theories from organizational psychology, organizational communication, and media studies to provide a comprehensive understanding of media worker well-being and identities. Ultimately, the project aims to offer insights and implications that help media organizations and their members navigate the challenges of a datafied world.
Peer Reviewed Academic Publications (see my scholar profile for an updated list)
Van Zoonen, W., Sivunen, A., & Blomqvist, K.B. (2023). Out of Sight, Out of Trust? An analysis of the mediating role of communication frequency and quality in the relationship between workplace isolation and trust. European Management Journal. Ahead-of-print.
Van Zoonen, W., ter Hoeven, C. L., & Morgan, R. (2023). Finding Meaning in platform work: An analysis of algorithmic management, work characteristics, and meaningfulness. The Information Society. Ahead-of- print.
Morgan, R., van Zoonen, W., & ter Hoeven, C. L. (2023). Lost in the Crowd? An investigation into where microword is conducted and classifying worker types. European Journal of Industrial Relations. Ahead- of-print.
van Zoonen, W., Treem, J. W., & Sivunen, A. E. (2023). Staying connected and feeling less exhausted: The autonomy benefits of after-hour connectivity. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 96(2), 242-263.
van Zoonen W., Sivunen, A. E., & Treem, J. W. (2023). Examining the longitudinal relationship between visibility and persistence on stress and technology-assisted supplemental work. Human Communication Research, 49(1), 13-23.
van Zoonen, W., Sivunen, A. E., & Treem, J. W. (2022). An Analysis of Fear Factors Predicting Enterprise Social Media Use in an Era of Communication Visibility, Internet Research, 32(7), 354-375.
van Zoonen, W., Sivunen, A., & Rice, R. E. (2022). Benefits and drawbacks of communication visibility: from vicarious learning and supplemental work to knowledge reuse and overload. Journal of Knowledge Management, 26(11), 214-233.
Araujo, T., van Zoonen, W., & ter Hoeven, C. (2022). “A Large Playground”: Examining the Current State and Implications of Conversational Agent Adoption in Organizations. International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management, 2250024.
Treem, J. W., van Zoonen, W., & Sivunen, A. E. (2022). Examining Communication Visibility and Social Technology Platform Use in Organizations. New Media and Society, 0(o), 1-26.
van Zoonen, W., Treem, J. W., & ter Hoeven, C. L. (2022). A Tool and a Tyrant: Social Media and Well-Being in Organizational Contexts. Current Opinion in Psychology, 45, Article 101300. https://doi.org/10.1016/ j.copsyc.2022.101300
van Zoonen, W., Rice, R. E., & ter Hoeven, C. L. (2022). Sensemaking by Employees in Essential versus Non-essential Professions During the COVID-19 Crisis: A comparison of effects of change communication and disruption cues on mental health, through interpretations of identity threats and work meaningfulness. Management Communication Quarterly, 36(2), 318-349.
Van Zoonen, W., & Sivunen, A. E. (2021). The impact of remote work and mediated communication frequency on isolation and psychological distress. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1080/1359432X.2021.2002299
van Zoonen, W., Sivunen, A., Rice, R. E., & Treem, J. W. (2021). Organizational Information and Communication Technologies and Their Influence on Communication Visibility and Perceived Proximity. International Journal of Business Communication, Ahead-of-Print. https//doi.org/ 10.1177/23294884211050068.
van Zoonen, W., Sivunen, A., Blomqvist, K., Olsson, T., Ropponen, A., Henttonen, K., & Vartiainen, M. (2021). Factors influencing adjustment to remote work: Employees’ initial responses to the covid-19 pandemic. Journal of Management & Organization, Ahead-of-Print. https://doi.org/10.1017/ jmo.2021.50
van Zoonen, W., Sivunen, A., & Treem, J.W. (2021). Technology Assisted Supplemental Work: A Multilevel Analysis of Perpetual Work Practices. Journal of Organizational Behavior. 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1002/ job.2538
van Zoonen, W., Sivunen, A., Blomqvist, K., Olsson, T., Ropponen, A., Henttonen, K., & Vartiainen, M. (2021). Factors influencing adjustment to remote work: Employees’ initial responses to the covid-19 pandemic. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(13), Article 6966.
van Zoonen, W., & ter Hoeven, C. L. (2021). Disruptions and Mental Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Comparing Stressors for Employees conducting essential and nonessential work. Journal of Business and Psychology, 37, 443 – 458. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-021-09744-5
Pekkala, K., & van Zoonen, W. (2021). Work-related social media use: The mediating role of social media communication self-efficacy. European Management Journal. https://doi.org/10.1016/ j.emj.2021.03.004
van Zoonen, W., Sivunen, A., & Rice, R. E. (2020). Boundary communication: how smartphone use after hours is associated with work-life conflict and organizational identification. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 48(3), 372-392.
ter Hoeven, C. L., & van Zoonen, W. (2020). Helping others and feeling engaged in the context of workplace flexibility: The importance of communication control. International Journal of Business Communication, 1-22. Doi; 10.1177/2329488419898799.
Büchler, N., ter Hoeven, C. L., & van Zoonen, W. (2020). Understanding constant connectivity to work: How and for whom is constant connectivity related to employee well-being?. Information and
Organization, 30(3), 1-20. Doi: 10.1016/j.infoandorg.2020.100302.
van Zoonen, W., & Sivunen, A. (2020). Knowledge brokering in an era of communication
visibility. International Journal of Business Communication, 1-18. Doi: 10.1177/2329488420937348.
Schafraad, P., & van Zoonen, W. (2020). How news values in corporate press release influence journalistic capital investment. Communications: The European Journal of Communication Research, 45(s1), 718-743.
Araujo, T., van Zoonen, W., & ter Hoeven, C. L. (2019). Automated one-2-one communication: the uses and adoption of conversational agents (Chatbots) in and by organizations (SWOCC; Vol. 73). Amsterdam: Stichting Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Commerciële Communicatie.
van Zoonen, W., & Treem, J.W. (2019). The role of organizational identification and the desire to succeed in employees’ use of personal twitter accounts for work. Computers in Human Behavior, 100, 26-34. Doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2019.06.008
Rice, R. E., Heinz, M., & van Zoonen, W. (2019). A public goods model of outcomes from online knowledge sharing mediated by mental model processing. Journal of Knowledge Management, 23(1), 1-22. Doi: 10.1108/JKM-06-2018-0360
van Zoonen, W., & Banghart, S. G. (2018). Talking engagement into being: A three-wave panel study linking boundary management preferences, work communication on social media, and employee engagement. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 23(5), 278-293. Doi: 10.1093/jcmc/ zmy014
van Zoonen, W., Bartels, J., van Prooijen, A. M., & Schouten, A. P. (2018). Explaining online ambassadorship behaviors on Facebook and LinkedIn. Computers in Human Behavior, 87, 354-362.
van Zoonen, W., & Rice, R. E. (2017). Paradoxical implications of personal social media use for work. New Technology, Work, and Employment, 32(3), 228-246.
van Zoonen, W., Verhoeven, J. W. M., & Vliegenthart, R. (2017). Understanding the consequences of social media use for work. European Management Journal, 35(5), 595-605.
van Zoonen, W., Verhoeven, J. W. M., & Vliegenthart, R. (2016). Social media’s dark side: Inducing boundary conflicts. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 31(8), 1-15.
van Zoonen, W., & van der Meer, G. L. A. (2016). Social media research: The application of supervised machine learning in organizational communication research. Computers in Human Behavior, 63, 132-141. Doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2016.05.028
Schafraad, P., van Zoonen, W., & Verhoeven, P. (2016). The news value of Dutch corporate press releases as a predictor of corporate agenda building power. Public Relation Review, 42(3), 451-458. Doi: 10.1016.j.pubrev.2015.11.014
van Zoonen, W., Verhoeven, J. W. M., & Vliegenthart, R. (2016). How employees use Twitter to talk about work: A typology of work-related tweets. Computers in Human Behavior, 56, 329-339. Doi: 10.1016/ j.chb.2015.09.021
ter Hoeven, C. L., van Zoonen, W., & Fonner, K. L. (2016). The practical paradox of technology: The influence of communication technology on employee well-being, Communication Monographs, 83(2), 239-263. Doi: 10.1080/03637751.2015.1133920
ter Hoeven, C. L., & van Zoonen W. (2015). Flexible work designs: Helping or hindering employee well- being? Testing the autonomy paradox. New Technology, Work and Employment, 30(3), 237-255. Doi: 10.1111/ntwe.12052
van Zoonen, W., & van der Meer, G. L. A. (2015). Crisis communication in a socially mediated era. Journal of Public Relations Research, 27(5), 371-388. Doi: 10.1080/1062726X.2015.1062382
van Zoonen, W., van der Meer, G. L. A., & Verhoeven, J. W. (2014). Employees work-related social-media use: His master’s voice. Public Relations Review, 40(5), 850-852. Doi: 10.1016/j.pubrev.2014.07.001 van Zoonen, W., Verhoeven, J. W. M., & Elving, W. J. L. (2014). Understanding employees’ work-related social media use: An extension of theory of planned behavior. International Journal of Management, Economics and Social Sciences, 3(4), 164-183.
Sivunen, A., Treem, J.W., & van Zoonen, W. (2023). The role of communication technologies in virtiual work. In Gilson, L. L., O’Neill T., and Maynard, M. T. (Eds.) Handbook of Virtual Work.
Treem, J.W., van Zoonen, W., & Sivunen, A. (2023). Social Media affordances and Privacy. In Trepte S. And Masur, P. K. (Eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Privacy and Social Media.
Verhoeven, J.W.M. & van Zoonen, W. (2022). Nice-to-know: Role expectations on enterprise social media in the aviation industry. In McCown, N. (ed.) The Internal Communication and Employee Engagement Case Study Book.
Valentini, C. van Zoonen, W., & Elving, W.J.L. (2022). CSR Communication in corporate social media: An empirical investigation of European companies’ use of social media between 2012 and 2020. In Niininen, O. I. (ed). Social media for progressive public relations.