This paper aims to provide an in-depth evaluation of how German and Austrian utilities use Facebook to engage stakeholders, including a look at the objectives pursued with the use of Facebook, addressed stakeholders as well as the provided information. German and Austrian utility companies are confronted with serious changes in the European energy sector. In this context, stakeholder theory emphasises the importance for utility companies to actively manage the relationships with the relevant stakeholders. Nowadays, a considerable number of these stakeholders might be addressed by using Facebook.
The quantitative study includes 88 German and Austrian utility companies.
Research findings indicate that Facebook is a common instrument in the German and Austrian energy sectors. It seems that so far, no real stakeholder dialogue has been achieved. Moreover, issues which deeply affect a wide variety of citizens are not emphasised on most Facebook accounts. Therefore, so far, the majority of utilities is not using the full potential of Facebook.
By developing a process of agenda-setting driven by social media, the paper contributes to the existing literature and gives practical implications for public and private entities in the energy sector.
The authors are grateful to Linda Tuttle Weidinger, B.A., instructor of English, University of Applied Sciences and University of Education, Linz, Austria, for her language assistance and proofreading.
Martin, S. and Grüb, B. (2016), "Towards a process of agenda setting driven by social media", International Journal of Energy Sector Management, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 38-55. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJESM-01-2015-0001Download as .RIS
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