CSR, Big Data, and Accounting: Firms' Use of Social Media for CSR-Focused Reporting, Accountability, and Reputation Gain
Author(s)Saxton, Gregory Douglas
Corporate social responsibility
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AbstractThe rise of Big Data, particularly social media, is engendering considerable disruptions in the ways in which firms and stakeholders communicate about firm-relevant issues. The effect of social media appears to be particularly strong in the domain of corporate social responsibility (CSR). This thesis presents three empirical studies on Fortune 200 firms use of social media to engage in CSR-related activities. All three studies rely on original 2014 data related to the 42 CSR-focused Twitter accounts maintained by the US-based Fortune 200 companies comprising 18,722 firm messages and 163,402 messages sent by members of the public. This thesis first examines the outcomes of firms social media-based CSR engagement, building a theoretical argument about the reputational benefits, or reputational capital, acquired by firms through the messages they send on social media. It then turns to an investigation of the publics discussion of the companies CSR activities; this second study relies on inductive analyses to build insights into the nature of the firm-centered CSR messages sent by members of the public, the nature of firms reactions to these public messages, and the relationship between the two. The third and final study refines and then empirically tests the causal model developed in the second study. Collectively, these three studies shed light on the nature of the micro-reporting and micro-accountability behaviors that appear to characterize firms CSR efforts on social media sites. The thesis concludes with a summary of the implications of these new behaviors for the accounting and CSR literatures.
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation