On the Role of Social Media in the ‘Responsible’ Food Business: Blogger Buzz on Health and Obesity Issues

34 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2013

See all articles by Hsin-Hsuan Meg Lee

Hsin-Hsuan Meg Lee

University of Amsterdam Business School

Willemijn van Dolen

University of Amsterdam Business School

Ans Kolk

University of Amsterdam Business School

Date Written: November 16, 2013

Abstract

To contribute to the debate on the role of social media in responsible business, this article explores blogger buzz in reaction to food companies’ press releases on health and obesity issues, considering the content and the level of fit between the CSR initiatives and the company. Findings show that companies issued more product-related initiatives than promotion-related ones. Among these, less than half generated a substantial number of responses from bloggers, which could not be identified as a specific group. While new product introductions led to positive buzz, modifications of current products resulted in more negative responses, even if there was a high fit with core business. While promotion-related press releases were received negatively in general, particularly periphery promotion (compared to core promotion) generated most reactions. Our exploratory study suggests that companies can increase the likelihood of a positive reaction if they carefully consider the fit between initiatives and their core business, while taking the notion of ‘controversial fit,’ relating to the unhealthy nature of original products, into account. Further research avenues and implications, as well as limitations, are discussed.

Keywords: Blogging, Corporate Responsibility, Food Companies, Health, Obesity, Press Releases, Social Media

JEL Classification: D18, D21, G38, I18, L21, L66, L81, M14, M31, M37

Suggested Citation

Lee, Hsin-Hsuan Meg and Dolen, Willemijn van and Kolk, Ans, On the Role of Social Media in the ‘Responsible’ Food Business: Blogger Buzz on Health and Obesity Issues (November 16, 2013). Journal of Business Ethics, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2355697

Hsin-Hsuan Meg Lee

University of Amsterdam Business School ( email )

Roetersstraat 18
Amsterdam, 1018WB
Netherlands

Willemijn van Dolen

University of Amsterdam Business School ( email )

Amsterdam
Netherlands

Ans Kolk (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam Business School ( email )

Plantage Muidergracht 12
Amsterdam, 1018 TV
Netherlands
+31 20 525 4289 (Phone)
+31 20 525 5281 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.anskolk.eu

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
173
Abstract Views
1,085
rank
177,315
PlumX Metrics