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The role of women's leadership in environmental NGOs' online accountability

Laura Saraite-Sariene (Economy and Company, University of Almería, Almería, Spain)
Federico Galán-Valdivieso (Economy and Company, University of Almería, Almería, Spain)
Juana Alonso-Cañadas (Economy and Company, University of Almería, Almería, Spain)
Manuela García-Tabuyo (Economy and Company, University of Almería, Almería, Spain)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 13 September 2021

Issue publication date: 18 July 2022




The role of female managers has been of increasing interest among scholars in recent years, especially regarding sustainability issues. The same could be said about the usefulness of social media in non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in demonstrating accountability to their stakeholders and attracting and keeping donors and volunteers. This paper aims to meet both research interests by analyzing to what extent women in top positions can foster stakeholders' engagement via social media.


Online engagement can be proxied using data from social media to develop a measure that summarizes the main actions social media users are able to use in order to show their reactions to social media publications. Facebook data were obtained using proprietary software (Facebook data model) developed by the research team to carry out data massive extraction, processing and exploration.


The results of the multivariate analysis show that female leadership in both top and environmental-specific positions enhance social media engagement, while a higher percentage of women on the board of directors exert the opposite effect.

Research limitations/implications

This study is not without limitations. First, this research is focused on a specific type of non-governmental organization (environmental NGO). Second, this study does not include economic variables such as donation income or expense structure. Third, data come only from Facebook as the leading social network.


This paper advances in the scarce knowledge about the role of women and the levels of online engagement (interactive conversations) in NGOs focused on sustainability.



Saraite-Sariene, L., Galán-Valdivieso, F., Alonso-Cañadas, J. and García-Tabuyo, M. (2022), "The role of women's leadership in environmental NGOs' online accountability", Online Information Review, Vol. 46 No. 4, pp. 660-677.



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