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How Does Corporate Social Responsibility Engagement Influence Word of Mouth on Twitter? Evidence from the Airline Industry


  • Tam Thien Vo

    () (The Australian National University)

  • Xinning Xiao

    () (Monash University)

  • Shuk Ying Ho

    () (The Australian National University)


Our study examines how a company’s engagement in corporate social responsibility (CSR) influences word of mouth (WOM) about the company on Twitter, particularly during a service delay. We use the airline industry as the study context. On the popular social medium Twitter, people post tweets about airline services and raise concerns about service delays when flights are delayed, canceled, or diverted. Drawing on the literature on legitimacy and the halo effect, we argue that a company’s CSR engagement enhances its corporate image, which in turn, influences WOM about the company on Twitter. We predict and find that airlines with better CSR engagement receive more positive word of mouth (PWOM) and less negative word of mouth (NWOM) on Twitter. We also find that service delays reduce PWOM and increase NWOM, with the additional finding that the positive relationship between service delays and NWOM is less strong for airlines with better CSR engagement. We conduct additional analyses to investigate the effects of environmental, social, and governance CSR on PWOM and NWOM. Our study has practical implications in informing companies about the benefits of CSR engagement in relation to public opinion during service delays.

Suggested Citation

  • Tam Thien Vo & Xinning Xiao & Shuk Ying Ho, 2019. "How Does Corporate Social Responsibility Engagement Influence Word of Mouth on Twitter? Evidence from the Airline Industry," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 157(2), pages 525-542, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:157:y:2019:i:2:d:10.1007_s10551-017-3679-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-017-3679-z

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    Cited by:

    1. Yaeri Kim & Seojin Stacey Lee & Taewoo Roh, 2020. "Taking Another Look at Airline CSR: How Required CSR and Desired CSR Affect Customer Loyalty in the Airline Industry," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(10), pages 1-19, May.


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