Empowerment Through Social Media?: Examining Individual Communication Behaviour Towards Corporate Sustainability
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Purpose - The purpose of this master thesis is to examine individual social media behaviour in relation to corporate sustainability issues. Based on a model from environmental psychology, factors that influence this behaviour are identified.
Methodology/approach - The study followed an explanatory and qualitative approach. Three focus groups, that consisted of 19 students in total, were conducted.
Findings - Key findings are (1) the level of social media activity with regard to corporate sustainability issues is not directly connected to the students’ awareness and knowledge of sustainability issues; (2) responsibility and priorities have a weaker influence on social media than on offline behaviour; (3) the perceived locus of control can prevent students from communicating about corporate sustainability in social media; (4) students with high knowledge on sustainability are less inclined to trust corporate sustainability communication.
Research limitations/implications - To further examine individual social media behaviour in relation to corporate sustainability issues, future research needs to apply long-term studies with bigger samples. Furthermore, participants with different socio-economic characteristics should be compared to see if key factors, relations, and barriers that have been the result of this study, are also true for other socio-economic groups.
Practical implications - The study’s findings suggest that corporations need to consider three main issues if they want to inform and engage individuals in corporate sustainability activities via social media: (1) content has to be tailored for target groups with different levels of knowledge on sustainability issues; (2) third-party-endorsements significantly support the creation of confidence in the communication of corporate sustainability activities and are therefore crucial; (3) detailed replies to critical comments from individual users help to create trust and transparency.
Originality/value - This study differs from previous research on social media in two ways: (1) it focuses on social media’s empowerment potential for sustainability instead of political issues; (2) it addresses the gap on individuals’ reasons to actively participate in social media.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 54 p.
Communication, social media, corporate sustainability, individual empowerment, environmental psychology
Economics and Business
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-298424OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-298424DiVA: diva2:946006
Master Programme in Sustainable Management
Helin, Jenny, Ph.D.Ljung, Anna, Ph.D.
Dahl, Matilda, Ph.D.