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Firms are increasingly employing social media to manage relationships with partner organizations, yet the role of institutional pressures in social media assimilation has not been studied. We investigate social media assimilation in firms using a model that combines the two theoretical streams of IT adoption: organizational innovation and institutional theory. The study uses a composite view of absorptive capacity that includes both previous experience with similar technology and the general ability to learn and exploit new technologies. We find that institutional pressures are an important antecedent to absorptive capacity, an important measure of organizational learning capability. The paper augments theory in finding the role and limits of institutional pressures. Institutional pressures are found to have no direct effect on social media assimilation but to impact absorptive capacity, which mediates its influence on assimilation.
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