Blog, Blogger and the Firm: Can Negative Posts by Employees Lead to Positive Outcomes?

Information Systems Research, Forthcoming

Posted: 6 Jan 2010 Last revised: 5 Aug 2014

See all articles by Rohit Aggarwal

Rohit Aggarwal

University of Utah - Department of Operations and Information Systems

Ram D. Gopal

University of Connecticut - Department of Operations & Information Management

Ramesh Shankar

University of Connecticut - School of Business

Param Vir Singh

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business

Abstract

Blogs have recently received a lot of attention, especially in the business community, with a number of firms encouraging their employees to publish blogs to reach out and connect to a wider audience. The business world is beginning to realize that employee blogs can cast a firm in either a positive or a negative light, thereby enhancing or harming the firm’s reputation. However, we find that negative posts by employees draw a higher readership, which has the potential to actually help the overall reputation of the firm. The explanation for this is that readers perceive an employee blogger to be honest and helpful when they read negative posts on the blog, and recommend the blog more to their friends, who will then also be exposed to the positive posts on the blog. First, we present a theoretical discussion, explaining why blogs containing negative posts could draw a larger audience. Next, we present empirical evidence that blogs that contain negative posts do draw a larger readership, and we derive a relationship between the extent of negative posts and readership. Our empirical model accounts for inherent non-linearities, serial correlation, issues of endogeneity and unobserved heterogeneity, and potential alternative specifications. Our results suggest that ceteris paribus, negative posts increase the readership of an employee blog asymptotically. Furthermore, we use the derived model to suggest conditions under which negative posts on an employee blog can lead to a greater overall positive influence on readers towards the employee’s firm. We illustrate the application of the framework using a unique blogging data from employees at a Fortune 500 company.

Keywords: blog, employee blogs, bloggers, attribution theory, non-linear models, negative posts, influence

Suggested Citation

Aggarwal, Rohit and Gopal, Ram D. and Shankar, Ramesh and Singh, Param Vir, Blog, Blogger and the Firm: Can Negative Posts by Employees Lead to Positive Outcomes?. Information Systems Research, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1532277

Rohit Aggarwal (Contact Author)

University of Utah - Department of Operations and Information Systems ( email )

1645 E Campus Center Drive
University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
United States

Ram D. Gopal

University of Connecticut - Department of Operations & Information Management ( email )

368 Fairfield Road
Storrs, CT 06269-2041
United States

Ramesh Shankar

University of Connecticut - School of Business ( email )

2100 Hillside Road
U-1041
Storrs, CT 06269-2041
United States
860-486-5217 (Phone)
860-486-4839 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.sramesh.com/

Param Vir Singh

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business ( email )

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
412-268-3585 (Phone)

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