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 journalArticle

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
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

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Electric network analysis
network analysis
public opinion
social network
president
ban
social media
Advocacy
Social network analysis
Public opinion
immigration
firm

Keywords

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

Cite this

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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.",
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