Date of Award

12-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Business Administration

Major Professor

Rhonda K. Reger

Committee Members

David Gras, Dave W. Williams, Wenjun Zhou

Abstract

Strategic management researchers are increasingly interested in the influence of social media communication on negative social evaluations and firms’ impression management to reduce negative evaluations. Drawing on communication, psychology, and sociology literature, this dissertation develops three essays to theoretically and empirically investigates negative social evaluations on firms, their antecedents, and firm strategies to manage them in the social media era. In Essay 1, I theorize how social media characteristics—greater access, velocity, emotionality, and communality—lead to a greater likelihood that social disapproval will generate, as well as spread faster, be more intense, and connect more constituents. Further, Essay 1 develops a two-stage model that explicates how a firm’s communication strategies are linked to the four social media characteristics and how they affect a firm’s social disapproval. Essay 2 frames theory to better understand cross-border social disapproval that is interactively mobilized by social media coverage, national animosity, and nationalism. It tests the theoretical framework by constructing national dyadic data from 32,007 negative events, 9,699,177 Twitter posts and 186,937 blog posts regarding constituents across 482 US-based multinational enterprises in 48 host countries during 2007 to 2014. Essay 3 builds a theoretical framework depicting how communication strategies through social media posts and traditional press releases lead firms to lose or gain constituent support. It tests the theoretical argument using a comprehensive database, including 1,257,370 tweets and 81,887 press releases from 286 newly public firms in the US and their constituents during 2007-2016. Taken together, this dissertation contributes to research on negative social evaluations, multinational enterprises, and impression management in the era of social media.

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