IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Social Media for Socially Responsible Firms: Analysis of Fortune 500’s Twitter Profiles and their CSR/CSIR Ratings


  • Kiljae Lee


  • Won-Yong Oh


  • Namhyeok Kim



The instrumental benefits of firm’s CSR activities are contingent upon the stakeholders’ awareness and favorable attribution. While social media creates an important momentum for firms to cultivate favorable awareness by establishing a powerful framework of stakeholder relationships, the opportunities are not distributed evenly for all firms. In this paper, we investigate the impact of CSR credentials on the effectiveness of social media as a stakeholder-relationship management platform. The analysis of Fortune 500 companies in the Twitter sphere reveals that a higher CSR rating is a strong indicator of an earlier adoption, a faster establishment of online presence (followers), a higher responsiveness to the firm’s identity (replies and mentions), and a stronger virality of the messages (retweets). Incidentally, the higher CSIR rating is also found to be associated with the stronger virality. Our findings also suggest that socially responsible firms can harvest proactive stakeholders’ participation (user-driven communication) without investing more resources (firm-driven communication). As the first study that conceptualizes the social media as a proponent of CSR, this paper contends that “being socially responsible” makes more practical sense for firms with the rise of social media. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Kiljae Lee & Won-Yong Oh & Namhyeok Kim, 2013. "Social Media for Socially Responsible Firms: Analysis of Fortune 500’s Twitter Profiles and their CSR/CSIR Ratings," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 118(4), pages 791-806, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:118:y:2013:i:4:p:791-806
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-013-1961-2

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Vanessa M Strike & Jijun Gao & Pratima Bansal, 2006. "Being good while being bad: social responsibility and the international diversification of US firms," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 37(6), pages 850-862, November.
    2. Kaplan, Andreas M. & Haenlein, Michael, 2011. "Two hearts in three-quarter time: How to waltz the social media/viral marketing dance," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 253-263, May.
    3. Kaplan, Andreas M. & Haenlein, Michael, 2010. "Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 59-68, January.
    4. Thomas P. Lyon & John W. Maxwell, 2011. "Greenwash: Corporate Environmental Disclosure under Threat of Audit," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(1), pages 3-41, March.
    5. White, Halbert, 1982. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Misspecified Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 1-25, January.
    6. Itziar Castelló & Josep Lozano, 2011. "Searching for New Forms of Legitimacy Through Corporate Responsibility Rhetoric," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 100(1), pages 11-29, April.
    7. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    8. Aaron K. Chatterji & David I. Levine & Michael W. Toffel, 2009. "How Well Do Social Ratings Actually Measure Corporate Social Responsibility?," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(1), pages 125-169, March.
    9. Roberts, Robin W., 1992. "Determinants of corporate social responsibility disclosure: An application of stakeholder theory," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 595-612, August.
    10. Kietzmann, Jan H. & Hermkens, Kristopher & McCarthy, Ian P. & Silvestre, Bruno S., 2011. "Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 241-251, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:jbuset:v:142:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10551-015-2743-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Xanat Vargas Meza & Han Woo Park, 2016. "Organic Products in Mexico and South Korea on Twitter," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 135(3), pages 587-603, May.
    3. Itziar Castelló & Michael Etter & Finn Årup Nielsen, 2016. "Strategies of Legitimacy Through Social Media: The Networked Strategy," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 402-432, May.
    4. Boyang Zhang & Vos Marita & Jari Veijalainen & Shuaiqiang Wang & Denis Kotkov, 2016. "The Issue Arena of a Corporate Social Responsibility Crisis ¨C The Volkswagen Case in Twitter," Studies in Media and Communication, Redfame publishing, vol. 4(2), pages 32-43, December.
    5. Boyd, D. Eric & McGarry, Benjamin Michael & Clarke, Theresa B., 2016. "Exploring the empowering and paradoxical relationship between social media and CSR activism," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(8), pages 2739-2746.
    6. Peter Seele & Irina Lock, 2015. "Instrumental and/or Deliberative? A Typology of CSR Communication Tools," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 131(2), pages 401-414, October.

    More about this item


    CSR; CSIR; Social media; Twitter;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:118:y:2013:i:4:p:791-806. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.