Facebook: Examining the information presented and its impact on stakeholders

Michel M. Haigh, Pamela Brubaker, Erin Whiteside

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the content of for-profit organizations' Facebook pages and how the communication strategy employed impacts stakeholders' perceptions of the organization-public relationship, corporate social responsibility, attitudes, and purchase intent. Design/methodology/approach: For Study 1, a content analysis examined the types of information on for-profit organizations' Facebook pages. Facebook pages were coded for organizational disclosure and information dissemination, corporate social responsibility information, and interactivity. Pages were also coded for using a corporate ability, corporate social responsibility, or hybrid communication strategy. Three organizations were then selected based on the content analysis results to serve as exemplars in the two-phase experiment. Participants filled out measures of initial attitudes, perceptions of the organization-public relationship, corporate social responsibility, and purchase intent. A week later, participants interacted with the organizations' Facebook pages and then answered additional scale measures. Findings: Study 1 found for-profit organizations discuss program/services, achievements, and awards on their Facebook pages. The main communication strategy employed on Facebook is corporate ability. Study 2 results indicate interacting with Facebook pages bolsters stakeholders' perceptions of the organization-public relationship, corporate social responsibility, and purchase intent. The organization employing a corporate social responsibility communication strategy had the most success bolstering these variables. Research limitations/implications: Several of the organizations did not have Facebook pages to code for the content analysis. Some organizations' pages were not coded because the page was just starting and there was no information available. The content analysis included a small sample size (n=114) which impacted the experiment. It limited the number of organizations that could be employed in the experimental conditions. Practical implications: When posting information on Facebook, organizations should employ the corporate social responsibility communication strategy. However, regardless of the strategy employed, interacting with Facebook information can bolster stakeholders' perceptions of organizational-public relationships, corporate social responsibility, attitudes, and purchase intent. Originality/value: The paper adds to the experimental literature. There is very limited experimental research examining the impact of Facebook on stakeholders. It provides practitioners with some guidance on the types of communication strategy they should employ when posting on Facebook.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-69
Number of pages18
JournalCorporate Communications
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 31 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Industrial relations
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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