Polarized public opinion responding to corporate social advocacy: Social network analysis of boycotters and advocators

Hyejoon Rim, Young Ah Lee, Sanglim Yoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite growing attention to corporate social-political advocacy, little is known about how publics mobilize and establish relationships in social media when firms are involved in hot-button issues. Using the social network approach, this study examines a network structure which emerged around boycotting and advocating for Starbucks and Budweiser when these two brands responded to President Donald Trump's immigration ban executive order in 2017. The study identified three unique characteristics in the boycotters’ networks. The boycotters appeared not only in the aggregated brand boycotting networks, but also in the advocators’ networks. In addition, boycotters in Budweiser and Starbucks networks were engaged in boycotting other brands or organizations which were opposed to Republicans or President Trump's policy. Finally, the network of boycotters was very dense and highly connected among subgroups while that of advocators was sparse. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101869
JournalPublic Relations Review
Volume46
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Boycott
  • Corporate social advocacy (CSA)
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • NodeXL
  • Social network analysis
  • Twitter

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