The use of social media for engaging stakeholders in sustainability reporting

Giacomo Manetti, Marco Bellucci
2016 Accounting Auditing & Accountability Journal  
If you would like to write for this, or any other Emerald publication, then please use our Emerald for Authors service information about how to choose which publication to write for and submission guidelines are available for all. Please visit www.emeraldinsight.com/authors for more information. About Emerald www.emeraldinsight.com Emerald is a global publisher linking research and practice to the benefit of society. The company manages a portfolio of more than 290 journals and over 2,350 books
more » ... and book series volumes, as well as providing an extensive range of online products and additional customer resources and services. Emerald is both COUNTER 4 and TRANSFER compliant. The organization is a partner of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and also works with Portico and the LOCKSS initiative for digital archive preservation. Abstract Purpose -The purpose of this paper is to assess if online interaction through social media, particularly Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, represents an effective stakeholder engagement mechanism in order to define the contents of social, environmental, or sustainability reporting (SESR). Design/methodology/approach -After examining 332 worldwide sustainability reports for the year 2013, drawn up according to the guidelines provided by the Global Reporting Initiative, the authors conducted a content analysis on the Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube pages of the organisations who rely on these types of social media. This was done in order to assess the scope of interaction between the organisation and its stakeholders. Findings -The authors found that a small number of organisations use social media to engage stakeholders as a means of defining the contents of SESR, and that the level of interaction is generally low. Rather than assuming a deliberative approach that is aimed at forging a democratic consensus on how to address specific corporate social responsibility or SESR issues, these types of interaction focus on gathering divergent socio-political views in an agonistic perspective. Research limitations/implications -Further research could complement this exploratory research with statistical analyses. It could focus on how comments/replies by users are used by organisations and examine the impacts of SESR on companies' performances. Originality/value -The authors contribute to the literature on social accounting by understanding whether social media can be reliable instruments of stakeholder engagement and by examining the relevance of information that is voluntarily disclosed by corporations in SESR.
doi:10.1108/aaaj-08-2014-1797 fatcat:pbuxblbk2zcqfgmugiw5bmd6va