Corporate social media as a tool for voluntary reporting, transparency and stakeholder’s engagement in Western European local governments

  1. Melinda Ratkai
Supervised by:
  1. Enrique Bonsón Ponte Director

Defence university: Universidad de Huelva

Year of defence: 2014

  1. Lourdes Torres Pradas Chair
  2. Tomás Escobar Rodríguez Secretary
  3. Takacs Karoly Committee member

Type: Thesis


This thesis contributes new and unique evidence to the debates surrounding business, management and communication changes and paradigmatic shifts in Western Europe by means of social media (SM) by seeking the answer to how the Facebook platform is actually being used by stakeholders and Western European local governments, and how this usage can be measured and explained. Through the use of existing literature and prior studies this doctoral dissertation first identifies a gap in the knowledge of SM usage (caused by a recent paradigmatic shift from analogue to the digital world). As the next step, it identifies inter-relations of relevant factors towards a continuance use intention or perpetuation of Facebook, and establishes new metrics of corporate Facebook measurement (which may be applicable to most SM). Based on these metrics and avenues it later investigates methods of stakeholders‘ engagement, transparency, voluntary reporting and Facebook activity in 2012 and 2013. In so doing, it broadens the toolkit of this new research area and provides new evidence of voluntary reporting, transparency and stakeholders‘ engagement in 15 Western European countries. Importantly, it is the first work to examine this multidisciplinary research field from the aforementioned different perspectives. The establish of new metrics for measuring popularity, commitment, virality and engagement on corporate Facebook and the analyzes of 75 Western European municipalities for scholars contribute valuable interpretations of how social media (most particularly Facebook) may have functioned over the course of the study period and how the identified features and practices responded to the changing business and social environments. Our understanding benefited significantly from these 4 basically independent, but still coherent researches examining: continued use intention of Facebook; establishing metrics for measurement; and combining the content and media types of the posts and the different levels of engagement metrics with stakeholders and local governments behaviors, expectations and changed needs. Patterns were likely to be observed across the examined population detecting differences among different public administration styles. The conclusions from this original project may be placed within the context of the wider social sciences debates. The need for new, relevant and more diverse studies is emphasized to advance the interpretations of current economic and social changes of Western Europe by expanding research to multiple countries and integrating research findings.