Wang, Ruoxu & Huang, Yan (2018). Communicating corporate social responsibility on social media: Effects of CSR strategy and source on stakeholders’ perceptions. Corporate Communications: An International Journal. 23(3), 326-341.

Summary
This study examined the effects of message source (CEO’s social media account vs. organization’s social media account) and different types of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) messages (internal CSR vs. external CSR vs. non-CSR) on stakeholders’ perceptions of organization public relationship (OPR) and behavioral intention toward the organization. Results showed emphasizing the internal and external CSR initiatives to publics on social media would have different effects on OPR. Specifically, the internal CSR message led to greater trust, satisfaction, commitment, and control mutuality among stakeholders compared to the external CSR message. However, message source did not show a significant main effect on the CSR communication effectiveness. When the CSR message appeared on the CEO’s social media account, both the internal CSR message and the non-CSR control message led to higher behavioral intention toward the company compared to the external CSR message. When the CSR message appeared on the organization’s social media account, both the internal and the external CSR messages led to greater behavioral intention toward the organization compared to the non-CSR control message.

Method

A 2 (message source: CEO’s Facebook account vs organization’s Facebook account) × 3 (types

of CSR messages: internal CSR vs external CSR vs control) between-subjects online experiment

(N = 242) was conducted.

Key Findings
(1) Internal CSR messages elicited greater perceptions of trust, satisfaction, control mutuality, and commitment toward the organization among the stakeholders compared to the external CSR messages and the CEO’s personal life messages.

(2) When the CSR message appeared on the CEO’s social media account, both the internal CSR message and the non-CSR control message led to higher behavioral intention toward the company compared to the external CSR message.

(3) When the CSR message appeared on the organization’s social media account, both the internal and the external CSR messages led to greater behavioral intention toward the organization compared to the non-CSR control message.

Implications for Practice
Emphasizing the organization’s willingness of and efforts for treating employees well may be more effective in fostering stakeholders’ organizational perceptions than emphasizing the organization’s contribution to the society in general.

When it comes to motivating stakeholders’ behavioral intention toward the organization on social media, the CEO’s and the organization’s social media accounts should use different message strategies. For the CEO’s social media account, the internal CSR message and the CEO’s personal life stories may be more effective. For the organization’s social media account, both types of CSR messages are more effective than non-CSR messages in eliciting stakeholders’ behavioral intentions. Posts about CEOs’ personal lives should be limited on organizations’ social media accounts.

Article Location
The full article is available at: https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/CCIJ-07-2017-0067

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Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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