Is the Death of Local News Contributing to a Rise in Corporate Wrongdoing?
New research shows that the decline in local newspapers has led to a subsequent rise in organizational wrongdoing within the community, particularly when there is a lack of community connectedness.
The findings are contained in the paper, “The Crisis in Local Newspapers and Organizational Wrongdoing: The Role of Community Social Connectedness”, which was published in Organization Science. The paper was co-authored by Mike Valente, an Associate Professor of Business and Sustainability at the Schulich School of Business, and Tony Jaehyun Choi, an Assistant Professor in the Business-Society Management Department at Rotterdam School of Management and a former PhD student of Professor Valente.
As part of their research, the two academics analyzed American metropolitan areas during the period 2007 to 2015. “Because local newspapers, through their general watchdog function, play an instrumental role in balancing economic and non-economic values, we investigated whether the significant decline in local newspapers in US municipalities weakened the enforcement mechanism that would normally curb organizational wrongdoing,” says Valente.
“Our results in fact show that a decline in local newspapers increases organizational wrongdoing,” adds Valente. “But this relationship is moderated by community social connectedness, which is defined as the dense interlocking network of relationships between local people in a community. Community social connectedness ultimately compensates for the scarcity of local newspapers by essentially replacing news outlets as an enforcement body.”