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Stakeholder dialogue on Facebook

Stakeholder dialogue on Facebook PurposeGerman, Austrian and Swiss utilities are confronted with radical changes in the European energy sector. A dialogue between the utility companies and their various groups of stakeholders is gaining importance. Increasingly, utilities create their own Facebook presence enabling such a dialogue. Still, to the best of the author’s knowledge there exists no research which explicitly focuses the stakeholder dialogue of German, Austrian or Swiss utilities on Facebook. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is toanalyse Facebook as an instrument for dialogic communication in the energy sector.Design/methodology/approachAn online survey was distributed to 1,280 German, Austrian and Swiss utilities, and 14 per cent of the utilities completed the survey, including 130 German, 19 Austrian and 25 Swiss companies. The participating utilities are primarily in public ownership.FindingsThe Facebook conversation of utility companies and their stakeholders meets the basic requirements of a virtual stakeholder dialogue. Nevertheless, less than half of the companies perceive their current stakeholder conversation on Facebook as truly interactive. Therefore, even if the basic requirements of a dialogue are met, most companies still do not seem to fully use the dialogue potential of Facebook.Originality/valueThis study provides first insights into virtual stakeholder dialogues in the energy sector. A suggestion to operationalise such a virtual dialogue is provided. Both operationalisation as well as the empirical results help researchers and practitioners to better understand virtual stakeholder dialogues. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Energy Sector Management Emerald Publishing

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References (35)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
1750-6220
DOI
10.1108/IJESM-04-2016-0004
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeGerman, Austrian and Swiss utilities are confronted with radical changes in the European energy sector. A dialogue between the utility companies and their various groups of stakeholders is gaining importance. Increasingly, utilities create their own Facebook presence enabling such a dialogue. Still, to the best of the author’s knowledge there exists no research which explicitly focuses the stakeholder dialogue of German, Austrian or Swiss utilities on Facebook. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is toanalyse Facebook as an instrument for dialogic communication in the energy sector.Design/methodology/approachAn online survey was distributed to 1,280 German, Austrian and Swiss utilities, and 14 per cent of the utilities completed the survey, including 130 German, 19 Austrian and 25 Swiss companies. The participating utilities are primarily in public ownership.FindingsThe Facebook conversation of utility companies and their stakeholders meets the basic requirements of a virtual stakeholder dialogue. Nevertheless, less than half of the companies perceive their current stakeholder conversation on Facebook as truly interactive. Therefore, even if the basic requirements of a dialogue are met, most companies still do not seem to fully use the dialogue potential of Facebook.Originality/valueThis study provides first insights into virtual stakeholder dialogues in the energy sector. A suggestion to operationalise such a virtual dialogue is provided. Both operationalisation as well as the empirical results help researchers and practitioners to better understand virtual stakeholder dialogues.

Journal

International Journal of Energy Sector ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 5, 2017

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