This study investigates online corporate opinion leadership on professional social media from two different perspectives: first, how corporate opinion leadership indicated by corporate followers is related to company revenue and second, what are the drivers and mediators of corporate opinion leadership?
The authors randomly selected more than 300 companies with active profiles on LinkedIn from the S&P 500 list and then collected data on corporate followers as an indicator of corporate opinion leadership and revenue during a year. Moreover, the authors collected daily information on content generated by companies, users, and employees such as job posts, users' reactions to posts, and employee profiles during a 44-day period, which allowed the authors to apply panel estimation techniques to estimate the determinants of corporate opinion leadership.
The estimation results reveal that corporate opinion leadership and business revenue are positively and significantly correlated. Furthermore, after controlling for firm fixed effects and endogeneity, the authors show that corporate, user and employee-generated content (mediated by groups and skills) have a significant impact on corporate opinion leadership.
Individual online opinion leaders are currently paying considerable attention to practitioners. However, professional networking platforms have also created an opportunity to establish corporate opinion leaders who may play an important role in business. The study provides useful and practical insights on the activities that companies can undertake to develop corporate opinion leadership.
This study seeks to expand previous research on opinion leadership with a focus on the corporate dimension, which is increasingly visible on professional networking platforms. Contrary to former research that collected data on perceived opinion leadership, the authors obtained data directly from LinkedIn. Moreover, the authors contribute to signaling and social identity theories by exploring how professional networking platforms constitute an environment for signaling and developing multiple professional identities.
The authors thank the editor, two anonymous reviewers, Steven Rogelberg and Eva Gallardo for their useful comments and suggestions. This research was conducted as part of the Project PID2021-122133NB-I00 financed by MCIN/ AEI / 10.13039/501100011033 / FEDER, EU. The authors also gratefully acknowledge the financial support from Generalitat Valenciana (CIAICO/2021/006) and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies (University of Notre Dame).
Korzynski, P., Paniagua, J. and Mazurek, G. (2023), "Corporate opinion leadership on professional social media", Management Decision, Vol. 61 No. 1, pp. 223-242. https://doi.org/10.1108/MD-07-2021-0950
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited