Area of Expertise
- Big Data and Data Analytics
- Corporate Social Responsibility
- Nonprofit Organizations
- Social Media
- Voluntary Disclosure
Gregory D. Saxton is Associate Professor of Accounting at the Schulich School of Business. Previously, he was Associate Professor of Communication at the University at Buffalo, SUNY and Associate Professor of Public Administration at SUNY, College at Brockport, and has taught at Virginia Commonwealth University and the Singapore Institute of Management. He has received PhDs in Political Science from Claremont Graduate University (2000) and in Accounting from York University (2016). He also received an M.A. in Public Policy from Claremont Graduate University, an M.A. in Political Science from McGill University, and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Victoria. He has worked for the California state government and as a consultant for nonprofit organizations.
Greg’s research uses Big Data and data analytic techniques to analyze nonprofit organizations, corporate social responsibility, and the capital markets, and has appeared in the Financial Times 50 journals Accounting, Organizations, and Society and Journal of Business Ethics as well as numerous ABDC A*/A journals, including Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, International Journal of Accounting Information Systems, Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Public Administration Review, Annals of Operations Research, Journal of Communication, Public Relations Review, British Journal of Political Science, and Journal of Accounting and Public Policy. He is a member of the editorial boards of the journals Voluntaristics Review and Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. For more details see http://social-metrics.org
2021 Best Book Award, Academy of Management - Public and Nonprofit Division
2013 Best Paper Award, for best paper presented at the 2013 conference of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action, November 21-23, 2013, Hartford, CT.
2013 Best Paper Award, Public Relations Division, annual meeting of the International Communication Association, June 17-21, London, UK.
2012 Top Research Paper Award, Public Relations Division, 98th Annual Convention of the National Communication Association, November 12-15, Orlando, FL.
2002 ARPA Best Article Award, for best manuscript published in the American Review of Public Administration
Saxton, G. D. and Neu, D. (Forthcoming), "Twitter-based social accountability processes: The roles for financial inscriptions-based and values-based messaging", Journal of Business Ethics.
Harris, E. E., Neely, D. G., and Saxton, G. D. (2021), "Social media, signaling, and donations: Testing the financial returns on nonprofits’ social media investment", Review of Accounting Studies.
Social media outlets provide nonprofit organizations the opportunity of opening new communication and disclosure channels. Organizations must decide whether to set up these channels. They – and in turn their target audiences – must also decide how much to use social media. In this study we test a novel multi-level signaling theory framework to examine the relationship between social media investments and financial returns. Employing both cross-sectional and cross-temporal samples of 427 of the largest US non-hospital charities, we look at the association between donations and three dimensions of organizations’ social media efforts: 1) whether the organization has a social media presence, 2) how much the organization uses social media, and 3) the level of engagement of the organization’s audience. The findings support our conjecture that financial returns result from establishing a particular communication channel, from using that channel, and from having channel-specific audience engagement. We also consider how our three social media signaling dimensions condition the core donations demand variables, finding that social media substitutes for traditional fundraising expenditures. These results carry implications for the signaling and donation demand literatures and further our understanding of how these new media are changing the rules of donor engagement.
Neu, D., Saxton, G. D., Everett, J. and Rahaman, A. S. (2021), "The Centrality of Ethical Utterances Within Professional Narratives", Accounting History.
Neu, D., Saxton, G. and Rahaman, A. (2021), "Social Accountability, Ethics and the Occupy Wall Street Protests", Journal of Business Ethics.
Guo, C., Ren, C. and Saxton, G. (2020), "Responding to Diffused Stakeholders on Social Media: Connective Power and Firm Reactions to CSR-Related Twitter Messages", Journal of Business Ethics.Keywords
Social media offers a platform for diffused stakeholders to interact with firms—alternatively praising, questioning, and chastising businesses for their CSR performance and seeking to engage in two-way dialogue. In 2014, 163,402 public messages were sent to Fortune 200 firms’ CSR-focused Twitter accounts, each of which was either shared, replied to, “liked,” or ignored by the targeted firm. This paper examines firm reactions to these messages, building a model of firm response to stakeholders that combines the notions of CSR communication and stakeholder salience. Our findings show that firm response to a stakeholder on social media is positively and most significantly associated with what we refer to as the stakeholder’s connective power but negatively associated with the firm’s own connective power. To a lesser extent, firm response is positively associated with the stakeholder’s normative power but negatively associated with the firm’s own normative power. Firm response is also shown to be positively associated with stakeholder urgency in terms of both the originality of a stakeholder message and the expression of positive sentiment.
Balsam, S., Harris, E. and Saxton, G. (2020), "The Use and Consequences of Perquisite Types in Nonprofit Organizations", Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, 39(4), 106737.
We document perquisite use in the nonprofit sector, the determinants of that use, and the ensuing consequences. Relative to the for-profit sector, the nonprofit sector is characterized by a lack of residual ownership rights and less detailed disclosure requirements, factors that have the potential to influence this piece of the compensation package. Using a sample of over 126,000 organization-year observations from 2008 to 2018, we document that approximately 24% of organizations report providing one or more of their executives with perquisites. We find that perks are more likely in larger nonprofits with excess endowments and fewer governance policies, and less likely at organizations with more outside monitors. We also find that perk disclosure has a negative impact on future donations. However, when we decompose our analysis by type of perk, we find evidence that some perks have a positive effect on future donations. Our results are robust to a variety of alternative formulations and provide useful insights for nonprofit regulators, boards, and donors.
Guo, C. and Saxton, G. (2020), "Social Media Capital: Conceptualizing the Nature, Acquisition, and Expenditure of Social Media-Based Organizational Resources", International Journal of Accounting Information Systems, 36, 100443.
The near-universal organizational participation in social media is predicated on the belief there are some tangible or intangible new resources to be had through tweeting, pinning, posting, friending, and sharing. We argue the linchpin of any payoff from engagement in social media is a special form of social capital we refer to as social media capital, and offer a conceptual framework for understanding its nature, acquisition, and expenditure. This paper contributes to existing literature by elaborating a new type of organizational resource and then synthesizing and extending research on the processes through which organizations can translate social media efforts into meaningful organizational outcomes. Understanding this causal chain is critical not only for measuring the return on investment from social media use but also for developing accounting information systems that are both adaptable to social resources and better able to exploit the data analytic and forecasting capabilities of real-time social media data.
Everett, J., Neu, D., Rahaman, A.A. and Saxton, G. (2020), "Speaking Truth to Power: Twitter Reactions to the Panama Papers", Journal of Business Ethics, 162(2), 473-485.
The current study examines the micro-linguistic details of Twitter responses to the whistleblower-initiated publication of the Panama Papers. The leaked documents contained the micro-details of tax avoidance, tax evasion, and wealth accumulation schemes used by business elites, politicians, and government bureaucrats. The public release of the documents on April 4, 2016 resulted in a groundswell of Twitter and other social media activity throughout the world, including 161,036 Spanish- language tweets in the subsequent 5-month period. The findings illustrate that the responses were polyvocal, consisting a collection of overlapping speech genres with varied thematic topics and linguistic styles, as well as differing degrees of calls for action and varying amounts of illocutionary force. The analysis also illustrates that, while the illocutionary force of tweets is somewhat associated with the adoption of a prosaic and vernacular ethical stance as well as with demands for action, these types of voicing behaviors were not present in the majority of the tweets. These results suggest that, while social media platforms are a popular site for collective forms of voicing activities, it is less certain that these collective stakeholder voices necessarily result in forceful accountability demands that spill out of the communication medium and thus serve as an impulse for positive social change.
Neely, D.G. and Saxton, G. (2019), "The Relationship Between Sarbanes–Oxley Policies and Donor Advisories in Nonprofit Organizations", Journal of Business Ethics, 158(2), 333-351.
This study examines the impact of Sarbanes–Oxley (SOX) on the nonprofit sector. Focusing on three key SOX policies applicable to charities—conflict-of-interest policies, records retention policies, and whistleblower policies—this study tests the relationship between the existence and addition of these policies on subsequent ethical and governance lapses as reflected in the issuance of “donor advisories” by the large third-party ratings agency Charity Navigator. The findings suggest that, controlling for other relevant organizational factors, the three SOX-inspired written policies are related to a reduced likelihood of donor advisories in the organizations rated by Charity Navigator.
Saxton, G., Singhal, A., Wang, H. and Xu, W. (2019), "Social Media Fandom for Health Promotion?", SEARCH Journal of Media and Communication Research, 11(1), 1-14.
As digital media technologies proliferate and social media spaces expand, how does one leverage popularity and cultivate fandom to promote health? Despite the easy entry, broad reach, and interactive features of social media such as Facebook and Twitter, health promoters are unsure how to meaningfully engage users and build lasting online communities. In this article, we examined the Facebook Insights and Twitter hashtag network over a nine-month period for Season 1 of the exemplary transmedia edutainment show East Los High. Premiered on Hulu, the popular entertainment streaming site, East Los High was purposefully designed to serve Latino youths in the United States, spurring conversations and promoting healthy relationships and safe sex practices across different digital platforms. We used Facebook analytics to gauge the audience reach, engagement, and dissemination; developed a 10-indicator index to identify the most successful among the 352 Facebook posts; analysed the position of East Los High in the Facebook co-commenting network; and assessed the top word pairs from those Facebook comments in accordance with the show’s social objectives. We also studied the underlying structure of the Twitter hashtag network representing the interactions between @EastLosHighShow and its 2,136 followers with tweets that included #ELH, #ELHaddict(s), and/or #EastLosHigh. While challenges exist in initiating and maintaining user engagement on these social media platforms, our findings revealed effective and actionable strategies for health promotion by cultivating fandom and building communities on social media.
Saxton, G. and Xu, W. (2019), "Does Stakeholder Engagement Pay off on Social Media? A Social Capital Perspective", Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 48(1), 28-49.
Nonprofits use social media to pursue a broad range of mission-related outcomes. Given the centrality of user connections and social networks on these sites, attaining these outcomes is contingent on first generating a stock of online social capital through investing in online relationships. Yet, little is known empirically about this process. To better understand the return on social media, this study develops empirical measures of four key dimensions of social media–based social capital centering on the nature of nonprofits’ network positions and stakeholder ties. The study then tests a series of hypotheses relating the increase in social capital to different types of stakeholder engagement tactics. Using Twitter data on 198 community foundations, the study finds that content with multiple communication cues and intersectoral stakeholder targeting predict higher levels of social capital; communicative and stakeholder diversity, thus, appear to play a key role in the successful organizational use of social media.
Dietrich, S., Gomez, L., Lin, Y., Ngoh, Z. and Saxton, G. (2019), "Do CSR Messages Resonate? Examining Public Reactions to Firms’ CSR Efforts on Social Media", Journal of Business Ethics, 155(2), 359-377.Keywords
We posit a key goal of firms’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts is to influence reputation through carefully crafted communicative practices. This trend has accelerated with the rise of social media such as Twitter and Facebook, which are essentially public message networks that organizations are leveraging to engage with concerned audiences. Given the large number of messages sent on these sites, only some will be effective and achieve broad public resonance. Building on signaling theory, this paper asks whether and how messages conveying CSR-related topics resonate with the public and, if so, which CSR topics and signal qualities are most effective. We test our hypotheses using data on public reactions to Fortune 500 companies’ CSR-focused Twitter feeds, using the retweeting (sharing) of firms’ messages as a proxy for public resonance. We find resonance is positively associated with messages that convey CSR topics such as the environment or education, those that make the topic explicit through use of hashtags, and those that tap into existing social movement discussions.
Everett, J., Neu, D., Rahaman, A.A. and Saxton, G. (2019), "Twitter and Social Accountability: Reactions to the Panama Papers", Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 61, 38-53.Keywords
The potential of social media to disseminate, aggregate, channel and democratize social accountability processes has encouraged a variety of organizations to actively promote and champion such initiatives. These initiatives typically envision a three step social accountability process where, for example, the publication of previously-private financial information about the inappropriate wealth accumulation activities of politicians and their business allies (step #1), combined with social media dissemination and discussion of these activities (step #2), can result in an accountability conversation that spills out of the medium and that sometimes results in positive social change (step #3). The current study examines Twitter reactions to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalist’s (ICIJ) publication of the Panama Papers. The analysis illustrates that there was a Twitter reaction: furthermore, that there were different styles of response and that certain styles were more likely to elicit an audience reaction, especially if the tweeter was a journalist or organization. While the provided analysis focuses on step #2 within the social accountability process, the results imply that publicly-interested accounting academics qua activists can facilitate social accountability by helping to make previously-private financial information public and by cultivating sympathetic individuals within the traditional media as well as within organizations that are active on social media.
Guo, C. and Saxton, G. (2018), "Speaking and Being Heard: How Nonprofit Advocacy Organizations Gain Attention on Social Media", Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 47(1), 5-26.
The social media era ushers in an increasingly “noisy” information environment that renders it more difficult for nonprofit advocacy organizations to make their voices heard. How then can an organization gain attention on social media? We address this question by building and testing a model of the effectiveness of the Twitter use of advocacy organizations. Using number of retweets and number of favorites as proxies of attention, we test our hypotheses with a 12-month panel dataset that collapses by month and organization the 219,915 tweets sent by 145 organizations in 2013. We find that attention is strongly associated with the size of an organization’s network, its frequency of speech, and the number of conversations it joins. We also find a seemingly contradictory relationship between different measures of attention and an organization’s targeting and connecting strategy.
Huang, Y., Lin, Y. and Saxton, G. (2016), "Give Me a Like: How HIV/AIDS Nonprofit Organizations Can Engage Their Audience on Facebook", AIDS Education and Prevention: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 28, 539-556.
With the rapid proliferation and adoption of social media among healthcare professionals and organizations, social media-based HIV/AIDS intervention programs have become increasingly popular. However, the question of the effectiveness of the HIV/AIDS messages disseminated via social media has received scant attention in the literature. The current study applies content analysis to examine the relationship between Facebook messaging strategies employed by 110 HIV/AIDS nonprofit organizations and audience reactions in the form of liking, commenting, and sharing behavior. The results reveal that HIV/AIDS nonprofit organizations often use informational messages as one-way communication with their audience instead of dialogic interactions. Some specific types of messages, such as medication-focused messages, engender better audience engagement; in contrast, event-related messages and call-to-action messages appear to translate into lower corresponding audience reactions. The findings provide guidance to HIV/AIDS organizations in developing effective social media communication strategies.
Ghosh, A. and Saxton, G. (2016), "Curating for Engagement: Identifying the Nature and Impact of Organizational Marketing Strategies on Pinterest", First Monday, 21(9), 1-42.
In an increasingly overloaded information environment sparked by the explosion of digital media, the ability to curate content has taken on greater importance. This study begins with the supposition that businesses that are able to adopt a content curation role and help consumers sort through the daily influx of information may be more successful in attracting, engaging, and retaining customers while fostering brand awareness and word of mouth. Accordingly, this study investigates organizational marketing strategies on Pinterest, the fifth most popular U.S. social media site and the largest social curation platform. Pinterest effectively offers a unique opportunity for businesses to engage customers through social curation strategies, and in this paper we set out to address two related questions. First, how are organizations communicating with current and potential customers on Pinterest? And second, how effective are these strategies? We address these questions by inductively analyzing 1,095 “pins” sent by 18 cosmetic surgery businesses. Undertaking analyses at the pin, board, and account levels, we ultimately identify three distinct pinning strategies: Lifestyle, Information Source, and Market Creator. These strategies are then related to the effectiveness of brand awareness and word of mouth, using the number of repins as the primary measure of “reach” of a marketing campaign. The Lifestyle strategy had the biggest impact, generating the largest number of repins. The implications of these social curation strategies for social media marketing are explored.
Anderson, K. and Saxton, G. (2016), "Babies, Smiles, and Status Symbols: The PersuasiveBabies, Smiles, and Status Symbols: The Persuasive Effects of Images in Small-Entrepreneur Crowdfunding Requests Effects of Images in Small-Entrepreneur Crowdfunding Requests", International Journal of Communication, 10, 1764-1785.Keywords
This article examines the persuasive effects of images in the context of online peer-topeer microfinance. The theoretical framework—based in self-presentation and impression management—relates micro-entrepreneurs’ loan-request image choices to lending decisions and lenders’ perceptions of the borrower’s trustworthiness and need. We explore effects of three specific visuals: (1) genuine enjoyment (Duchenne) smiles; (2) material status symbols; and (3) babies, children, and husbands. Using loan-request image data from 323 women micro-entrepreneurs on the Kiva.org website, results suggest smiling behavior is not associated with funding speed. However, loan-request images that include a baby are associated with significantly quicker funding, and those that include a man or an indication of relative material well-being are associated with delays in the average funding speed.
Gunz, S., Saxton, G. and Suddaby, R. (2015), "Twittering Change: The Institutional Work of Domain Change in Accounting Expertise", Accounting, Organizations and Society, 45, 52-68.
This paper develops an endogenous model of institutional and professional domain change. Traditional accounts of domain change focus attention on how professional expertise is extended to new areas of practice. This form of domain extension is typically both deliberate and contested. However, domain change can also occur in a somewhat quotidian and uncontested fashion when professional expertise is extended intra-organizationally. We analyze the ways in which the domain of accounting expertise is reconstituted in new social media – Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – in Big 4 accounting firms. Using content analysis and interview data we show how social media professionals, in pursuing their own professional project, generate change in the professional domain of accountancy. Our analysis demonstrates that the institutional work of domain change occurs through three related activities: boundary work, rhetorical work and the construction of the embedded actor.
Guo, C., Niyirora, J., Saxton, G. and Waters, R. (2015), "#AdvocatingForChange: The Strategic Use of Hashtags in Social Media Advocacy", Advances in Social Work, 16, 154-169.
Social media continues to change how advocacy organizations mobilize, educate, and connect with their constituents. One of the most unique yet understudied tools available on social media platforms is the hashtag. Little research exists on how social work and advocacy organizations use hashtags, much less on how such use can be effective. This study examines the hashtag use by 105 constituent members of the National Health Council, a national US-based patient/health advocacy coalition. The study presents an inductive coding scheme of the types of hashtags employed, analyzes inter-sectoral differences in hashtag usage, and examines the relationship between hashtag use and measures of the effectiveness of social media messages.
Saxton, G. and Waters, R. (2014), "What Do Stakeholders `like’ on Facebook? Examining Public Reactions to Nonprofit Organizations’ Informational, Promotional, and Community-Building Messages", Journal of Public Relations Research , 26(3).
Although public relations scholarship has often discussed the possibilities of dialogue and engagement using social media, research has not truly explored this dynamic. Instead, research on social media platforms has focused on measuring the content and structure of organizational profiles. This study seeks to enhance the field’s discussion about social media engagement by determining what organizational content individual stakeholders prefer on Facebook in terms of liking, commenting, and sharing. A content analysis of 1,000 updates from organizations on the Nonprofit Times 100 list indicates that, based on what they comment on and Like, individuals prefer dialogic, as well as certain forms of mobilizational, messages; however, they are more likely to share one-way informational messages with their own networks. These findings are interpreted using practical and theoretical implications for the practice of public relations.
Saxton, G. and Waters, R.D. (2014), "What Do Stakeholders `like’ on Facebook? Examining Public Reactions to Nonprofit Organizations’ Informational, Promotional, and Community-Building Messages", Journal of Public Relations Research, 26(3), 280-299.
Although public relations scholarship has often discussed the possibilities of dialogue and engagement using social media, research has not truly explored this dynamic. Instead, research on social media platforms has focused on measuring the content and structure of organizational profiles. This study seeks to enhance the field’s discussion about social media engagement by determining what organizational content individual stakeholders prefer on Facebook in terms of liking, commenting, and sharing. A content analysis of 1,000 updates from organizations on the Nonprofit Times 100 list indicates that, based on what they comment on and like, individuals prefer dialogic, as well as certain forms of mobilizational, messages; however, they are more likely to share one-way informational messages with their own networks. These findings are interpreted using practical and theoretical implications for the practice of public relations.
Guo, C., Neely, D. and Saxton, G. (2014), "Web Disclosure and the Market for Charitable Contributions", Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, 33, 127-144.
Nonprofit organizations face intense competition in the market for charitable contributions. Increasingly, donation decisions are made online, and organizations have responded by implementing substantive Internet disclosure and reporting regimes. We posit here that the voluntary disclosure of financial and performance information inherent in these regimes provides additional relevant information to a broad array of market participants, and thus has a positive impact on the receipt of charitable contributions. We test our hypotheses on a random sample of 400 US nonprofit organizations by building on the well established economic model of giving (Weisbrod and Dominguez, 1986), in which donations serve as the proxy for demand. Our central research question is thus: Are donors willing to ‘‘pay’’ for Web disclosure? Results indicate a positive relationship between the level of charitable contributions and the amount of disclosure provided by an organization on its website; however, performance and annual report disclosure are more important than financial disclosure, and performance disclosure has the biggest impact in organizations that are less reliant on donations.
Guo, C. and Saxton, G. (2014), "Tweeting Social Change: How Social Media are Changing Nonprofit Advocacy", Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 43(1), 57-79.Keywords
How are nonprofit organizations utilizing social media to engage in advocacy work? We address this question by investigating the social media use of 188 501(c)(3) advocacy organizations. After briefly examining the types of social media technologies employed, we turn to an in-depth examination of the organizations’ use of Twitter. This in-depth message-level analysis is twofold: A content analysis that examines the prevalence of previously identified communicative and advocacy constructs in nonprofits’ social media messages; and an inductive analysis that explores the unique features and dynamics of social media-based advocacy and identifies new organizational practices and forms of communication heretofore unseen in the literature.
Saxton, G. and Wang, L. (2014), "The Social Network Effect: The Determinants of Donations on Social Media Sites", Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 43, 850-868.Keywords
Social networking applications such as Facebook, Twitter, and Crowdrise offer new ways for nonprofits to engage the community in fundraising efforts. This study employs data from Facebook Causes to examine the nature and determinants of charitable giving in social networking environments. Our findings suggest donations on these sites are not driven by the same factors as in “off-line” settings. Instead, a social network effect takes precedence over traditional economic explanations. Facebook donors do not seem to care about efficiency ratios, their donations are typically small, and fundraising success is related not to the organization’s financial capacity but to its “Web capacity.” Moreover, online donors are prone to contribute to certain categories of causes more than others, especially those related to health. Given the growth in social media-driven fundraising—and the increase in crowdfunding, slacktivism, impulse donating, and other new practices this entails—these findings carry notable theoretical and practical implications.
Saxton, G., Wu, H. and Zhuang, J. (2014), "Publicity vs. Impact in Nonprofit Disclosures and Donor Preferences: A Sequential Game with One Nonprofit Organization and N Donors", Annals of Operations Research, 221, 469-491.Keywords
Charitable giving is one of the essential tasks of a properly functioning civil society. This task is greatly complicated by the lack of organizational transparency and by the information asymmetries that often exist between organizations and donors in the market for charitable donations. The disclosure of financial, performance, donor-relations, and fundraising-related data is thus an important tool for nonprofit organizations attempting to attract greater donations while boosting accountability and public trust. There are, however, varying payoffs associated with such disclosure depending on the nature of donor preferences and the relative openness and effectiveness of competing organizations. To help understand the interplay between nonprofit organizational disclosures and individual donations, we present a novel game-theoretic model of disclosure–donation interactions that incorporates the predominant forms of both donor preferences and “value-relevant” information.
Guo, C. and Saxton, G. (2014), "Online Stakeholder Targeting and the Acquisition of Social Media Capital", International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, 19, 286-300.
The diffusion of social media has opened new possibilities for targeted stakeholder communication and, with it, new forms of organizational resources. This article examines the nexus between social media-based stakeholder communication and the acquisition of social media-based resources, referred to here as social media capital. After laying out a conceptual mapping of both targeted stakeholder communication and social media capital, the article turns to an inductive analysis of the relationship between the messages 117 US community foundations are sending to their core stakeholders on Twitter and subsequent levels of social media capital. The article thus contributes to the existing literature by elaborating new forms of targeted stakeholder communication, a new type of organizational resource, and the relationship between the two.
Guidry, J., Saxton, G. D. and Waters, R. D. (2014), "Moving Social Marketing Beyond Personal Change to Social Change: Strategically Using Twitter to Mobilize Supporters into Vocal Advocates", Journal of Social Marketing, 4, 240-260.
Purpose – This paper aims to examine what type of messaging on Twitter is most effective for helping move social marketing beyond focusing on personal changes to fnd out what messages help turn members of the public into vocal advocates for these organizations’ social changes. Social marketing scholarship has regularly focused on how organizations can effectively infuence changes in awareness and behaviors among their targeted audience. Communication scholarship, however, has repeatedly shown that the most infuential form of persuasion happens interpersonally. As such, it is imperative that organizations learn how to engage audiences and facilitate the discussion about organizational messages between individuals. Social media provide platforms for such conversations, as organizational messaging can be shared and discussed by individuals with others in their networks.
Design/methodology/approach – Through a content analysis of 3,415 Twitter updates from 50 nonproft organizations, this study identifes specifc types of messages that are more likely to get stakeholders retweeting, archiving and discussing the organizations’ messaging through regression analysis.
Findings – Messages focusing on calls-to-action and community building generated the most retweets and Twitter conversation; however, they were also the least used strategies by nonproft organizations.
Originality/value – Research has regularly examined the types of messages sent out by nonproft organizations on Twitter, but they have not tested those messages against measures of engagement. This study pushes the understanding of social media communication to the next level by analyzing those message categories against metrics provided by Twitter for each tweet in the sample.
Lovejoy, K., Saxton, G. and Waters, R. (2012), "Engaging Stakeholders Through Twitter: How Nonprofit Organizations are Getting More Out of 140 Characters or Less", Public Relations Review, 38, 313-318.
While it may seem difficult to communicate in a meaningful manner with 140 characters or less, Twitter users have found creative ways to get the most out of each Tweet by using different communication tools. This paper looks into how 73 nonprofit organizations use Twitter to engage stakeholders not only through their tweets, but also through other various communication methods. Specifically it looks into the organizations utilization of tweet frequency, following behavior, hyperlinks, hashtags, public messages, retweets, and multimedia files. After analyzing 4655 tweets, the study found that the nation’s largest nonprofits are not using Twitter to maximize stakeholder involvement. Instead, they continue to use social media as a one-way communication channel as less than 20% of their total tweets demonstrate conversations and roughly 16% demonstrate indirect connections to specific users.
Guo, C. and Saxton, G. (2012), "Conceptualizing Web-Based Stakeholder Communication: The Organizational Website as a Stakeholder Relations Tool", Communication & Science Journal.Keywords
With the near ubiquity of the organizational website, organizations’ online stakeholder relationships have dramatically increased in prevalence, complexity, and financial and strategic importance. To help advance our understanding of these relationships, we introduce and test the multi-dimensional concept of Web-based stakeholder communication using original data on US community foundations. After presenting the conceptual foundations of Web-based stakeholder communication, we develop operational measures of its key dimensions, namely stakeholder targeting and the balance of organizations’ online stakeholder portfolios. We then explore the outcomes of Web-based stakeholder communication by testing for its relationship to subsequent levels of charitable contributions. We end with an in-depth discussion of the most important implications for organizational theory and practice.
Lovejoy, K. and Saxton, G. (2012), "Information, Community, and Action: How Nonprofit Organizations Use Social Media", Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 17(3), 337-353.Keywords
The rapid diffusion of “microblogging” services such as Twitter is ushering in a new era of possibilities for organizations to communicate with and engage their core stakeholders and the general public. To enhance understanding of the communicative functions microblogging serves for organizations, this study examines the Twitter utilization practices of the 100 largest nonprofit organizations in the United States. The analysis reveals there are three key functions of microblogging updates—“information,”“community,” and “action.” Though the informational use of microblogging is extensive, nonprofit organizations are better at using Twitter to strategically engage their stakeholders via dialogic and community-building practices than they have been with traditional websites. The adoption of social media appears to have engendered new paradigms of public engagement.
Nah, S. and Saxton, G. (2012), "Modeling the Adoption and Use of Social Media by Nonprofit Organizations", New Media & Society, 15, 294-313.Keywords
This study examines what drives organizational adoption and use of social media through a model built around four key factors – strategy, capacity, governance and environment. Using Twitter, Facebook, and other data on 100 large US nonprofit organizations, the model is employed to examine the determinants of three key facets of social media utilization: (1) adoption, (2) frequency of use and (3) dialogue. We find that organizational strategies, capacities, governance features and external pressures all play a part in these social media adoption and utilization outcomes. Through its integrated, multi-disciplinary theoretical perspective, this study thus helps foster understanding of which types of organizations are able and willing to adopt and juggle multiple social media accounts, to use those accounts to communicate more frequently with their external publics, and to build relationships with those publics through the sending of dialogic messages.
Project Title Role Award Amount Year Awarded Granting Agency Project TitleAccounting Inscriptions and Social Media-based Social Accountability Processes RoleCo-Principal Investigator Award Amount$194,000.00 Year Awarded2020–2024 Granting AgencySocial Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Project TitleThe Effect of Bots on The Financial Markets RolePrincipal Investigator Award Amount$18,867.00 Year Awarded2021-2022 Granting AgencyCPA Ontario and Schulich School of Business Joint Centre in Digital Accounting Information Project TitleBig Data, Social Network Analysis, and the Financial Markets RolePrincipal Investigator Award Amount$59,490.00 Year Awarded2019–2021 Granting AgencySocial Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Project TitleBig Data, Social Network Analysis, and the Financial Markets RolePrincipal Investigator Award Amount$9,444.00 Year Awarded2020 Granting AgencyTri-Council COVID-19 Supplemental Funds for IDG Grant