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Social performance and social media activity in times of pandemic: evidence from COVID-19-related Twitter activity

Baboukardos, Diogenis and Gaia, Silvia and She, Chaoyuan (2021) 'Social performance and social media activity in times of pandemic: evidence from COVID-19-related Twitter activity.' Corporate Governance. ISSN 1472-0701

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Abstract

Purpose The purpose of this study is to examine corporate disclosure of stakeholder-oriented actions on Twitter in response to COVID-19 during the pandemic outbreak and to empirically investigate whetherfirms’ social performance and their financial resilience impact on their engagement in, and communication of, stakeholder-oriented COVID-19 actions. Design/methodology/approach This study scrapes a sample of tweets communicated by major global listed firms between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020 and identifies disclosures that mention firm engagement in stakeholder-oriented actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cross-sectional regression analysis is used to examine the relationship between firms’ social performance and the number of tweets they post about stakeholder-oriented COVID-19 actions. Further, firms’ financial resilience is examined as a moderating factor of this relationship. Findings The results show that firms with better social performance are more likely to engage in and, hence, communicate stakeholder-oriented actions for the COVID-19 pandemic on Twitter. Moreover, it is evident that firms with better social performance communicate more stakeholder-oriented actions only when they belong to industries that have not been severely impacted by the pandemic. Originality/value This study has two important contributions. First, this study provides contemporary evidence of corporate disclosure of firms and their stakeholder-oriented actions on Twitter in response to the COVID-19 pandemic during the initial outbreak period. Second, it reveals insights into what characteristics drive firms to engage in costly corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, and promote them on social media, in a period characterized by high economic uncertainty.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Twitter;COVID-19pandemic; social performance; financial resilience
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School > Essex Accounting Centre
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 10 May 2021 15:34
Last Modified: 10 May 2021 16:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/30316

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