Online Company-stakeholder Communication: Lessons from Vattenfall’s Social Media Campaign on Climate Change

Rikke Augustinus Eriksen, Mette Morsing

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Based on a systematic data collection we study one of the first pioneering company-stakeholder communication campaigns in social media: the case of energy company Vattenfall A/S’s pan-European campaign ‘The Climate Manifesto’. Our findings challenge the general assumption, that stakeholder interaction and dialogue on CSR issues is advanced in social media. Rather, our data shows how representatives from the corporate sector and civil society organizations repeat and reinforce their arguments with no amendments during the campaign. The analysis shows that constructive dialogue and interaction lacked between the company and stakeholders. Vattenfall was accused of green-washing, resulting in a communications crisis. Negative stakeholder reactions consisted of prejudiced and non-negotiable argumentation indicating that social media imposes new managerial challenges since communication processes are scaled up and bring on autonomous and legitimate sources of information, providing stakeholders with more
    power in terms of co-production of ‘the truth’, and more complex routes to corporate legitimacy compared to offline communication. We discuss assumptions about improved dialogue via social technologies and we question to what extent social media serve the enhancement of improved understandings across corporate and civil society on CSR issues. This paper suggests that managers face a risk of the “double-edge of stakeholder communication” when incorporating social media into their CSR strategies: companies
    need to expose themselves and engage in social media to improve stakeholder engagement, while they by this action also attract higher level of criticism.
    Based on a systematic data collection we study one of the first pioneering company-stakeholder communication campaigns in social media: the case of energy company Vattenfall A/S’s pan-European campaign ‘The Climate Manifesto’. Our findings challenge the general assumption, that stakeholder interaction and dialogue on CSR issues is advanced in social media. Rather, our data shows how representatives from the corporate sector and civil society organizations repeat and reinforce their arguments with no amendments during the campaign. The analysis shows that constructive dialogue and interaction lacked between the company and stakeholders. Vattenfall was accused of green-washing, resulting in a communications crisis. Negative stakeholder reactions consisted of prejudiced and non-negotiable argumentation indicating that social media imposes new managerial challenges since communication processes are scaled up and bring on autonomous and legitimate sources of information, providing stakeholders with more
    power in terms of co-production of ‘the truth’, and more complex routes to corporate legitimacy compared to offline communication. We discuss assumptions about improved dialogue via social technologies and we question to what extent social media serve the enhancement of improved understandings across corporate and civil society on CSR issues. This paper suggests that managers face a risk of the “double-edge of stakeholder communication” when incorporating social media into their CSR strategies: companies
    need to expose themselves and engage in social media to improve stakeholder engagement, while they by this action also attract higher level of criticism.

    Conference

    ConferenceEBEN Research Conference 2014
    LocationEuropean School of Management and Technology
    CountryGermany
    CityBerlin
    Period12/06/201414/06/2014
    OtherThe European Business Ethics Network
    Internet address

    Bibliographical note

    CBS library does not have access to the material

    Keywords

      Cite this

      Eriksen, R. A., & Morsing, M. (2014). Online Company-stakeholder Communication: Lessons from Vattenfall’s Social Media Campaign on Climate Change. Paper presented at EBEN Research Conference 2014, Berlin, Germany.
      Eriksen, Rikke Augustinus ; Morsing, Mette. / Online Company-stakeholder Communication : Lessons from Vattenfall’s Social Media Campaign on Climate Change. Paper presented at EBEN Research Conference 2014, Berlin, Germany.39 p.
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      abstract = "Based on a systematic data collection we study one of the first pioneering company-stakeholder communication campaigns in social media: the case of energy company Vattenfall A/S’s pan-European campaign ‘The Climate Manifesto’. Our findings challenge the general assumption, that stakeholder interaction and dialogue on CSR issues is advanced in social media. Rather, our data shows how representatives from the corporate sector and civil society organizations repeat and reinforce their arguments with no amendments during the campaign. The analysis shows that constructive dialogue and interaction lacked between the company and stakeholders. Vattenfall was accused of green-washing, resulting in a communications crisis. Negative stakeholder reactions consisted of prejudiced and non-negotiable argumentation indicating that social media imposes new managerial challenges since communication processes are scaled up and bring on autonomous and legitimate sources of information, providing stakeholders with morepower in terms of co-production of ‘the truth’, and more complex routes to corporate legitimacy compared to offline communication. We discuss assumptions about improved dialogue via social technologies and we question to what extent social media serve the enhancement of improved understandings across corporate and civil society on CSR issues. This paper suggests that managers face a risk of the “double-edge of stakeholder communication” when incorporating social media into their CSR strategies: companiesneed to expose themselves and engage in social media to improve stakeholder engagement, while they by this action also attract higher level of criticism.",
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      Eriksen, RA & Morsing, M 2014, 'Online Company-stakeholder Communication: Lessons from Vattenfall’s Social Media Campaign on Climate Change' Paper presented at, Berlin, Germany, 12/06/2014 - 14/06/2014, .

      Online Company-stakeholder Communication : Lessons from Vattenfall’s Social Media Campaign on Climate Change. / Eriksen, Rikke Augustinus; Morsing, Mette.

      2014. Paper presented at EBEN Research Conference 2014, Berlin, Germany.

      Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review

      TY - CONF

      T1 - Online Company-stakeholder Communication

      T2 - Lessons from Vattenfall’s Social Media Campaign on Climate Change

      AU - Eriksen,Rikke Augustinus

      AU - Morsing,Mette

      N1 - CBS library does not have access to the material

      PY - 2014

      Y1 - 2014

      N2 - Based on a systematic data collection we study one of the first pioneering company-stakeholder communication campaigns in social media: the case of energy company Vattenfall A/S’s pan-European campaign ‘The Climate Manifesto’. Our findings challenge the general assumption, that stakeholder interaction and dialogue on CSR issues is advanced in social media. Rather, our data shows how representatives from the corporate sector and civil society organizations repeat and reinforce their arguments with no amendments during the campaign. The analysis shows that constructive dialogue and interaction lacked between the company and stakeholders. Vattenfall was accused of green-washing, resulting in a communications crisis. Negative stakeholder reactions consisted of prejudiced and non-negotiable argumentation indicating that social media imposes new managerial challenges since communication processes are scaled up and bring on autonomous and legitimate sources of information, providing stakeholders with morepower in terms of co-production of ‘the truth’, and more complex routes to corporate legitimacy compared to offline communication. We discuss assumptions about improved dialogue via social technologies and we question to what extent social media serve the enhancement of improved understandings across corporate and civil society on CSR issues. This paper suggests that managers face a risk of the “double-edge of stakeholder communication” when incorporating social media into their CSR strategies: companiesneed to expose themselves and engage in social media to improve stakeholder engagement, while they by this action also attract higher level of criticism.

      AB - Based on a systematic data collection we study one of the first pioneering company-stakeholder communication campaigns in social media: the case of energy company Vattenfall A/S’s pan-European campaign ‘The Climate Manifesto’. Our findings challenge the general assumption, that stakeholder interaction and dialogue on CSR issues is advanced in social media. Rather, our data shows how representatives from the corporate sector and civil society organizations repeat and reinforce their arguments with no amendments during the campaign. The analysis shows that constructive dialogue and interaction lacked between the company and stakeholders. Vattenfall was accused of green-washing, resulting in a communications crisis. Negative stakeholder reactions consisted of prejudiced and non-negotiable argumentation indicating that social media imposes new managerial challenges since communication processes are scaled up and bring on autonomous and legitimate sources of information, providing stakeholders with morepower in terms of co-production of ‘the truth’, and more complex routes to corporate legitimacy compared to offline communication. We discuss assumptions about improved dialogue via social technologies and we question to what extent social media serve the enhancement of improved understandings across corporate and civil society on CSR issues. This paper suggests that managers face a risk of the “double-edge of stakeholder communication” when incorporating social media into their CSR strategies: companiesneed to expose themselves and engage in social media to improve stakeholder engagement, while they by this action also attract higher level of criticism.

      KW - CSR

      KW - Corporate communication

      KW - Social media

      KW - Stakeholder dialogue

      KW - The double-edge of communication

      M3 - Paper

      ER -

      Eriksen RA, Morsing M. Online Company-stakeholder Communication: Lessons from Vattenfall’s Social Media Campaign on Climate Change. 2014. Paper presented at EBEN Research Conference 2014, Berlin, Germany.