Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to (n=472) examine how negative, user-generated content on Facebook impacts stakeholders’ perceptions of the organization. Design/methodology/approach – At Phase 1, stakeholders’ perceptions about the organization – public relationship, corporate social responsibility, attitude toward the organization, and reputation of the organization were assessed. A week later, at Phase 2, participants were exposed to negative Facebook comments. This study employed the theory of inoculation as a way to bolster stakeholders’ attitudes to protect against attitude shift following exposure to negative, user-generated comments. Findings – Paired sample t-tests indicate stakeholders’ perceptions of the organization – public relationship and corporate social responsibility significantly decrease after stakeholders read negative, user-generated content. The pattern of means supports the idea inoculation can prevent against attitude shift. Practical implications – Strategic communication professionals should be aware of the impact negative posts can have and develop a strategy to respond to negative comments on Facebook. Originality/value – There is limited experimental research examining the impact of negative Facebook posts on stakeholders. It extends current literature and provides practitioners with some guidance on the impact of negative, user-generated content.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Industrial relations
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management