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CSR communication strategies for organizational legitimacy in Social Media Marcin Szewczyk & Elanor Colleoni Danish Technical University Copenhagen Business School
Model- Communication Strategies forCorporate Legitimacy
Defining Corporate Legitimacy• The creation of a “congruence between the social values associated with or implied by [organizational] activities and the norms of acceptable behavior in the larger social system” (Dowling & Pfeffer, 1975: p.122) lies at the core of the legitimacy of business in society.• Obtaining legitimacy by “aligning corporate behavior with stakeholder expectations” (Dawkins, 2004: p.108) is necessary to guarantee the corporation’s continued existence.
Research Question-RQ1Theoretical Question: Is there an alignment between companies CSR agenda and stakeholders social expectations?Empirical Question: Do the companies and their audiences discuss about similar arguments and with similar vocabularies?
Research Question-RQ2Theoretical Question: Do the different communication strategies lead to different convergence outputs?Empirical Question: If we identify the topics of discussion, do the companies and their audiences share the same attention and opinion towards the topics?
Data-• Why in social media?• We use Twitter from 2009• We identify the CSR accounts of seven companies based on the 100 Best Corporate Citizens 2009 list redacted by Corporate Responsibility Magazine (2009) :Starbucks, Ford, SmarterPlanet, Microsoft, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Campbell, Xcel Energy (Thanks to our colleague Michael Etter )• We download the networks of these companies (i.e. the online audiences) and their conversations… about 10K users and 300M tweets
Method– Identifying thecommunication strategies in Twitter Corporate @DIRECT Communication @RETWEET messages Flow Strategies Reciprocity No direct Self-Centered No No communication Mediated Experts Experts Experts Dialogical Audience Audience Experts Audience Experts
Method- Identifying the topics ofdiscussion• We first selected the CSR-related tweets from the general conversations using a Bayesian Classifier• We use Latent Semantic Analysis in order to extract the “conceptual spaces” that represent the “topics” (i.e. CSR themes).
Method- Identifying the attentionand the sentiment towards the topics• We define the attention as the relative amount of conversation generated by a topic• We use sentiment analysis to identify the affective orientation towards a topic (i.e. opinion). Sentiment analysis is a data mining techniques that allows subjective perceptions to acquire an objective existence as observable and measurable forms (Colleoni et al., 2011).
Results- We didn’t find evidence of the mediated strategy…. Degree of Reciprocity Features Degree of Conversation with Communication Experts Audience Strategy Corporation Experts Audience @DIREC @DIREC @RT @RT T T Ford 95.11% 94.63% 0,00% 1,12% 7,87% 8,99% Self-centered Starbucks 94.46% 89.25% 0,67% 0,33% 44,15% 5,02% DialogicalSmarter Planet 82.05% 70.24% 0,00% 3,17% 17,46% 36,51% Dialogical Green Mountain 61.80% 45.15% 1,08% 0,22% 43,87% 12,47% DialogicalCoffee Roasters Xcel Energy 41.66% 33.61% 8,15% 0,00% 11,11% 16,30% Self-centered Campbell 23.07% 14.50% 2,38% 0,00% 2,38% 9,52% Self-centered Microsoft 0% 1.90% 1.08% 3.60% 1,80% 31,65% Self-centered
Results- We found six topics of discussionbetween companies and audience Topics Theme Keywords Information seeking Power, wind and solar associated Energy & green & us with free, look, share Information seeking Energy and solar with thank, share, Thank & Share great, day Green, solar, energy but both Sustainable Debate Energy & Solar & Renew without associations with news or business Sustainable Debate Health & Care Us, health, energy, solar, care Business, make, market, work, Market Free & business & make blog Twitter, support, show, Iran, Democracy Democracy & support democracy
Results- The vocabulary of the companies does not vary among strategies, but….Dialogical Strategy: Most frequent words for Companies and Audience Companies Audience
Results- The vocabulary of the companies does not vary among strategies, but….Information Strategy: Most frequent words for Companies and Audience Companies Audience
Results- Is there congruence between companies and audience?Informational Strategy- Attention and Affective orientation’sCongruence by topic, Audience and Companies 0,4 0,35 0,3 0,25 Sentiment 0,2 Companies thank & share solar & renew Audience 0,15 health & care 0,1 energy & green & us democracy business & make 0,05 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Topics
Results- Is there congruence between companies and audience?Dialogical Strategy- Attention and Affective orientation’sCongruence by topic, Audience and Companies 0.45 0.4 0.35 0.3 solar & renew Sentiment 0.25 2 0.2 Companies 0.15 Audience health & care 0.1 democracy 1 business & make 0.05 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Topics