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Empowerment Through Social Media?: Examining Individual Communication Behaviour Towards Corporate Sustainability
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business Studies.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business Studies.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

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.
Keyword [en]
Communication, social media, corporate sustainability, individual empowerment, environmental psychology
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-298424OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-298424DiVA: diva2:946006
Educational program
Master Programme in Sustainable Management
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2016-07-21 Created: 2016-07-04 Last updated: 2016-07-21Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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