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Walking the talk about corporate social responsibility communication: An Elaboration Likelihood Model perspective


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Large organizations, including listed businesses, financial service providers as well as public services entities are increasingly disclosing information on their environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues through corporate websites or via social media. Therefore, this research uses valid measures from the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) to explore the individuals' attitudes toward online corporate social responsibility (CSR) communications. The data was gathered from a structured questionnaire among three hundred ninety-two respondents (n=392). A structural equations modeling partial least squares (SEM-PLS 3) approach was used to analyze the data. The findings revealed that the timeliness, relevance and accuracy of information as well as the source expertise were highly significant antecedents that were affecting the research participants' attitudes toward CSR communications. This contribution implies that there is scope for content curators to publish quality online information on their business activities to improve their trustworthiness and positive credentials among stakeholders.
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Walking the talk about corporate social responsibility communication: An
Elaboration Likelihood Model perspective
By Mark Anthony Camilleri
, University of Malta, Malta AND University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
Suggested Citation: Camilleri, M.A. (2022). Walking the talk about corporate social responsibility communication:
An Elaboration Likelihood Model perspective, Business Ethics, the Environment & Responsibility,
This is a prepublication version.
Large organizations, including listed businesses, financial service providers as well as public
services entities are increasingly disclosing information on their environmental, social and
governance (ESG) issues through corporate websites or via social media. Therefore, this research
uses valid measures from the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) to explore the individuals’
attitudes toward online corporate social responsibility (CSR) communications. The data was
gathered from a structured questionnaire among three hundred ninety-two respondents (n=392). A
structural equations modeling partial least squares (SEM-PLS 3) approach was used to analyze the
data. The findings revealed that the timeliness, relevance and accuracy of information as well as
the source expertise were highly significant antecedents that were affecting the research
participants’ attitudes toward CSR communications. This contribution implies that there is scope
for content curators to publish quality online information on their business activities to improve
their trustworthiness and positive credentials among stakeholders.
Keywords: Elaboration Likelihood Model; information relevance; information accuracy; information timeliness;
source trustworthiness; source expertise.
Department of Corporate Communication, Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences, University of Malta, Malta.
1. Introduction
Companies publish their corporate reports to legitimize their operations among
stakeholders (Hou & Reber, 2011; Jamali, 2008; Lim & Greenwood, 2017). Their CSR reports
enable interested parties to make informed judgments on the businesses’ non-financial
performance, in terms of their corporate governance, social impact and environmentally friendly
initiatives (Camilleri, 2019). Hence, CSR or sustainability disclosures are more important than
ever (Camilleri, 2021a). Recently, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a dramatic
effect on society and on the economy at large. These challenging times inspired businesses to
respond to COVID-19, in different ways (Dias, Rodrigues & Craig, 2016).
Several aspects that arose from this pandemic were unprecedented in the modern economy.
Initially, many businesses were not adequately prepared to respond to such a global crisis. The
pandemic’s preventative measures affected the businesses’ activities. It changed the employers’
and employees’ attitudes in their workplace environment (Kramer & Kramer, 2020; Wang, Xu &
Wang, 2020). Inevitably, it led to significant changes in their conditions of employment. Many
workers experienced a reduction in their wages or salaries. Alternatively, they were expected to
avail themselves of their leave of absence, among other issues (Spurk & Straub, 2020). Companies
became more flexible regarding their working times. In many cases, they changed their working
practices as they introduced teleworking, where possible (Endresen, 2020).
Very often, they updated their webpages with specific information on the latest
developments and on their immediate responses to COVID-19. A few companies were also making
reference to the pandemic in their corporate communications including in their CEO’s letter,
within the CSR report itself or in their media releases. Generally, institutions and organizations
were utilizing digital media to engage in public relations with different stakeholders (Schultz &
Seele, 2020). They used web sites including popular social media platforms to share information
on their corporate behaviors, or to interact in two-way conversations with online users (Capriotti,
Zeler & Camilleri, 2021
Troise & Camilleri, 2021). Specific stakeholders including the
government, creditors, shareholders, among others, also expect businesses to communicate about
their financial performance as well as on their ESG credentials, particularly, in the light of the latest
COVID-19 developments. At times, various businesses were scaling back or delaying their CSR
disclosures (BSR, 2020).
In the context, this research investigates the online users’ perceptions and attitudes toward
the content of CSR websites. The methodology synthesizes and integrates conceptual
underpinnings relating to the ELM (Allison, Davis, Webb, & Short, 2017; Browning, Gogo &
Kimmel, 2018; Cheung, Lee & Rabjohn, 2008; Gu, Xu, Xu, Zhang & Ling, 2017; Li, 2013; Petty
& Cacioppo, 1986) and to its related Information Adoption Model (IAM) (Erkan & Evans, 2016;
Hussain, Ahmed, Jafar, Rabnawaz & Jianzhou, 2017; Sussman & Siegal, 2003; Tseng & Wang,
2016). The empirical study explores external stakeholders’ insights on the quality of informational
content and sheds light on peripheral issues including on their perceptions about the sources’
credibility. It clarifies whether ELM’s central and/or peripheral factors were affecting their
attitudes toward online CSR communications.
In sum, this research hypothesizes that high elaboration factors that are associated with
argument/information quality (i.e. the central route), as well as a low elaboration factors, including
those related to source credibility factors (i.e. the peripheral route), are significantly affecting the
individuals’ attitudes toward CSR content. Indeed, this contribution addresses a knowledge gap in
academia. Currently, there are just a few studies (Bögel, 2015; Browning, Gogo & Kimmel, 2018;
Zhang, Zhou, Yu, Cheng, de Pablos & Lytras, 2021) that relied on ELM’s key constructs to
examine the online users’ stance about digital communications on CSR issues.
This research clearly differentiates itself from previous theoretical underpinnings as it
sheds light on the external stakeholders’ insights about the relevance, accuracy and timeliness of
CSR communications. At the same time, it investigates their perceptions about the sources’
credibility, in terms of their trustworthiness and expertise in curating interactive content relating
to the businesses’ CSR activities, during the challenging times of COVID-19.
This article is structured as follows: the following section provides a critical review of the
relevant literature that is focused on ELM. It introduces the readers to the measures of this study
and to the formulation of hypotheses. The methodology section describes the method that was used
to capture and analyze the data from the respondents. Afterwards, the results section presents the
findings from a structural equation modeling approach. In conclusion, this contribution outlines
its theoretical as well as its practical implications. It identifies its research limitations and outlines
plausible research avenues to academia.
2. Background
Stakeholders, particularly regulatory authorities as well as investors and creditors, expect
big businesses to be accountable and transparent in their corporate disclosures (Lee & Shin, 2010).
They anticipate that public companies and large undertakings would publish comparable year-on-
year financial statements as well as reliable ESG disclosures (De Pelsmacker & Janssens, 2007;
Reverte, 2009). Stakeholders demand that they clearly explain what, why, when and how decisions
were made during the reporting period. Apart from the publication of annual corporate statements,
the reporting businesses and organizations are expected to communicate with stakeholders through
regular media releases, to keep them up to date with the latest developments (Göransson &
Fagerholm, 2018; Morsing, 2006; Mtapuri, Camilleri & Dłużewska, 2021). Moreover, today’s
stakeholders would also appreciate honest and timely communications through social media,
especially during crises like COVID-19 (Camilleri, 2021b).
In many cases, various businesses were satisfying the information needs of their
stakeholders during COVID-19. The advances in technology have led to greater organizational
transparency with stakeholders. Online users can easily access a wide array of information through
the Internet. Several businesses dedicated a COVID-19 webpage in addition to their commercial,
CSR and/or sustainability reports. Very often, they featured relevant and comprehensive
information on their day-today operations and shed light on their responses to COVID-19. Some
businesses also used synchronous communications channels like social network sites (SNSs) to
engage in interactive conversations with interested stakeholders, in real time (Camilleri & Isaias,
2021). Evidently, they became proficient in curation of digital content, as they were capable of
disseminating elaborated messages, including textual content, images and videos through different
social media.
3. The conceptual framework and the formulation of hypotheses
Previous contributions investigated topics relating to corporate communication in different
contexts (Du, Bhattacharya & Sen, 2010; Fassin, 2008; Morsing & Schultz, 2006; Pérez, del Mar
García de los Salmones & Liu, 2019). ELM has been widely adopted, particularly in marketing,
psychology and information management literature, as it is aimed at identifying the factors that are
influencing the individuals’ change in attitudes towards communications. This model suggests that
there are two routes that can determine the degree of influence of information (Petty & Cacioppo,
The central route (i.e. high elaboration) presumes that persuasive, high quality content can
affect the individuals’ perceptions toward information (Petty, Cacioppo & Schumann, 1983). Petty
et al. (1983) suggested that the quality of the arguments can have a significant effect on the
persons’ attitudes about the usefulness of information. Alternatively, the peripheral route posits
that for some reason, people may not always be motivated or less capable of reflecting on the
message that is conveyed to them (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986). In this case, they would probably rest
on the credibility of the source (Erkan & Evans, 2016; Ji, Chen, Tao & Li, 2019).
While the central route is associated with the relative merits of information that is presented
in support of an advocacy, the peripheral route is not related to the core of the message (Cheung
et al., 2008; Erkan & Evans, 2016; Li, 2013; Petty & Cacioppo, 1986). The low elaboration route
involves less cognitive efforts from the part of the recipients of information. In this case, the
subjects may rely on subjective cues or heuristic inferences relating to source credibility, such as
endorsements and recommendations of other individuals, who may be likeable and/or
knowledgeable in their respective fields (Bhattacherjee & Sanford, 2006; Li, 2013; Wang &
Scheinbaum, 2018). Thus, individuals can be influenced by peripheral cues if they identify
themselves with a trustworthy source or with an expert.
Many authors have built on the theoretical foundations of ELM. For example, Sussman
and Siegal (2003)’s Model of Information Adoption comprised four factors. The authors suggested
that argument quality, source credibility were antecedents of information usefulness. They implied
that the latter construct would in turn predict information adoption. Other researchers like Cheung
et al. (2008) argued that the relevance, timeliness, accuracy and comprehensiveness of the
arguments, together with source expertise and source trustworthiness, would precede information
usefulness and information adoption of electronic word of mouth publicity from online customer
communities. The latter measures, namely, information usefulness and information adoption were
drawn from Davis’ (1989) Technology Acceptance Model. Many researchers contended that
individuals would probably accept to engage with certain communication technologies if they were
useful to them (Davis, 1989; Davis, Bagozzi & Warshaw, 1989; Wixom & Todd, 2005).
Subsequently, Erkan and Evans (2016) have utilized Sussman and Siegal’s (2003) measures and
integrated them with other constructs from Fishbein and Ajzen’s (1975) Theory of Reasoned
Attitudes towards CSR communications
The Theory of Reasoned Action and its related Theory of Planned Behavior were used by
different researchers to explore the individuals’ attitudes, perceptions and beliefs towards online
information (Kim, Namkoong & Chen, 2020; Ng, Lee, Wong & Lam, 2020; Zimmer, Arsal, Al-
Marzouq & Grover, 2010). Attitudes refer to the degree to which individuals hold favorable or
unfavorable evaluations of possible behaviors, as they consider the outcomes of performing certain
actions (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975). This argumentation suggests that individuals are cognizant and
knowledgeable on different issues, hence they may be predisposed to hold biased opinions about
something or someone (Kim et al., 2020; Ng et al., 2020). In a similar vein, Eagly and Chaiken
(1995) contended that the individuals’ attitudes would usually precede their evaluative responses.
Several researchers investigated the antecedents as well as the outcomes of the consumers’
attitudes toward CSR reporting (Jauernig & Valentinov, 2019; Camilleri, 2018a). Some authors
found that CSR communications generated positive transformational effects on organizational
performance, including increased awareness of the businesses responsible behaviors among
stakeholders, improved image, reputation, and brand equity among other benefits (Camilleri,
2015a; Eccles, Krzus & Ribot, 2015; Jauernig & Valentinov, 2019; Peña-Miranda, Guevara-Plaza,
Fraiz-Brea & Camilleri, 2021).
CSR communications raise societal expectations and can put corporations under increased
pressures to prove their legitimacy and social license to operate (Christensen, Morsing &
Thyssen, 2013; Demuijnck & Fasterling, 2016; Kim, 2019). The relationship between corporate
talk and action can be negative if stakeholders do not trust the businesses’ CSR credentials
(Cho, Laine, Roberts & Rodrigue, 2015). Stakeholders might hold favorable attitudes about CSR
communications, Alternatively, they could be skeptical, as they perceive them as rhetoric exercises
(Davison, 2008; Greenwood, Jack & Haylock, 2019;
O’Connor & Ihlen, 2018). They may suspect
that certain businesses engage in greenwashing and/or in posturing behaviors. Of course, the
information that is presented in corporate disclosures and in the digital media is directed at
stakeholders who may or may not build positive impressions about the business and their CSR
credentials. Their attitudes may be affected by the quality of the content that is featured in their
corporate communications.
The quality of CSR communications
The quality of online information can affect the consumers' attitudes towards the source,
particularly if it provides accurate, factual, and detailed information, rather than brief superficial,
and subjective information (Filieri, 2015
Wang & Strong, 1996). Information quality has long
been discussed within the business ethics literature (Ingenhoff & Sommer, 2010). It is usually
associated with the persuasive strength of the arguments that are embedded in the messages we
receive (Bhattacherjee & Sanford, 2006). DeLone and McLean (2003) pointed out that information
quality is measured in terms of accuracy, relevance, understandability, completeness, currency,
dynamism, personalization, and variety. Information is considered to be high quality if it meets
the requirements of its targeted recipients (Liu, Li, Zhang & Huang, 2017; McKinney, Yoon &
Zahedi, 2002).
On the other hand, poor information quality may be time consuming and can increase the
customers’ information search and processing costs (Gu, Konana, Rajagopalan & Chen, 2007).
Customers can measure the quality of content through indicators like information relevance, data
richness, information access, interactivity and customization capabilities (Islam & Rahman, 2017;
Popovič, Hackney, Coelho & Jaklič, 2012). McKinney et al.’s (2002) suggested that
understandability, reliability, as well as the usefulness of information are three key dimensions
related to information quality (Cheung et al., 2008: Ko, Kirsch & King, 2005). Hence, the
businesses’ corporate communications in terms of their presentation format and the language that
is being used to convey relevant information, should be appropriate within its context. The
recipients of information ought to be in a position to understand and interpret the content that is
featured in the businesses’ communications.
The clarity of information is an important factor to determine whether the communications
are truthful, sincere and appropriate (Habermas, 2002). The relevance of information is considered
as a necessary precondition for the stakeholders’ positive attitudes towards CSR reports (Lock &
Seele, 2016). CSR disclosures ought to be presented in a manner that are comprehensible to the
businesses’ stakeholders, who are interested in the organizations’ activities (Christensen et al.,
2013). Report preparers should avoid the use of unfamiliar words, technical concepts and
unnecessary jargon that are incomprehensible to stakeholders (GarciaTorea, FernandezFeijoo &
De La Cuesta, 2020). This argumentation leads to the following hypotheses:
H1: The relevance of information significantly affects the individuals’ attitudes towards
online CSR communications.
Internet users may not always read the web pages in detail (Madu & Madu, 2002). Very
often, they sift through the pages to find the information they need. They may want to access
information quickly and with little effort (Cheung et al., 2008). A review of the relevant literature
suggests that stakeholders can make better decisions if they receive accurate and timely
information (Islam & Rahman, 2017). Although, in many cases, CSR reports may appear to be
factually correct, they may not always present a true and fair view of the businesses’ ESG
performance (Camilleri, 2015b). Stakeholders require companies to be as honest and transparent
as possible in their non-financial disclosures. They rely on pertinent information to make decisions
with a high degree of confidence (Camilleri, 2018b; Rawlins, 2008). Therefore, report preparers
should strive in their endeavors to reduce bias, as they are expected to present a balanced account
of their company's performance. The corporate disclosures ought to be as clear and accurate as
possible. This reasoning leads to the following hypothesis:
H2: The accuracy of information affects the individuals’ attitudes towards online CSR
The accuracy of CSR reports can be improved with appropriate regulation, monitoring and
compliance (Camilleri, 2017). Currently, there are a variety of global standards including the
Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC),
International Standards Organization (ISO) and Social Accountability (SA), among others, that are
supporting corporations in their CSR reporting. Most of these non-governmental organizations
(NGOs) are increasingly auditing the businesses’ CSR reports to confirm the reliability and
veracity of their disclosures (Reynolds & Yuthas, 2007). Ongoing evaluations and assurances of
CSR reports can increase the stakeholders’ trust in the businesses’ claims (Camilleri, 2022).
For this reason, there is scope for the businesses to audit their non-financial disclosures on
a regular basis and to publish them in a timely manner, as it is the case with corporate financial
statements. Arguably, if CSR web sites are not updated, they will not meet their stakeholders’
requirements. Very often, the information that is published in CSR reports is not timely enough
for the stakeholders' decision-making processes (Ettinger, Grabner-Kräuter & Terlutter, 2018;
Hetze & Winistörfer, 2016).
The dissemination of timely information could possibly enhance its perceived usefulness
(Islam & Rahman, 2017). In a similar vein, online CSR disclosures can be appraised for the
“timeliness of their information” (Thorne, Mahoney & Manetti, 2014). This discourse leads to the
following hypothesis:
H3: The timeliness of information significantly affects the individuals’ attitudes towards
online CSR communications.
Source credibility of CSR communications
ELM suggests that the individuals’ attitudes can be influenced by varying the quality of
the arguments in persuasive messages (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986). The arguments’ content can have
a positive or negative effect on the individuals’ attitudes toward information. In other words, the
evaluation of elaborate information is an important element that can help individuals to form their
attitudes on a wide variety of topics.
The quality of information is usually associated with strong, persuasive arguments
(Sussman & Siegel, 2003). Truthful arguments are perceived as honest and trustworthy by the
recipients of information (Ingenhoff & Sommer, 2010; Li, 2013). Past research suggests that
individuals are influenced by the source’s attractiveness, likeability, and credibility (Cheung et al.,
2008). Source expertise and trustworthiness were often considered as two key dimensions of
source credibility (Ayeh, 2015; Lowry, Wilson & Haig, 2014; Newell & Goldsmith, 2001).
Whilst the source trustworthiness construct is used to measure the recipients’ levels of trust
on the information they receive from communicators; source expertise is used to measure the
recipients’ perceptions about the communicators. The latter construct is related to the extent to
which they can provide correct information (Filieri, Hofacker & Alguezaui, 2018; Ismagilova,
Slade, Rana & Dwivedi, 2020; Lock & Seele, 2017). The information that is conveyed from
communication experts is assumed to be more credible than the information that is transmitted
from unprofessional sources. Source experts are perceived as knowledgeable by the receivers of
information (Bhattacherjee & Sanford, 2006; Ismagilova et al., 2020;).
Relevant academic literature reported that there were mixed findings about the effects of
source credibility on the individuals’ attitudes toward information, or on their perceptions about
the usefulness of information (Filieri et al., 2018; Shan, 2016; Willemsen, Neijens, Bronner & De
Ridder, 2011; Newell & Goldsmith, 2001). Cheung et al. (2008) reported that source expertise and
trustworthiness were not significant antecedents of the individuals’ perceived information
usefulness. Conversely, Willemsen et al. (2011) found that the claims of expertise were weakly
correlated to the perceived usefulness of information.
Very often, online users can easily access CSR websites and are also in a position to
download the companies’ ESG reports. When they do so they will evaluate the level of source
expertise and may build perceptions on the trustworthiness of their disclosures. Hence, they can
either adopt or reject the information that is presented to them (Erkan & Evans, 2016). The
corporate communications that are featured in a trustworthy source are expected to influence the
information seekers’ attitude and behaviors (Ismagilova et al., 2020). However, stakeholders can
never establish with absolute certainty whether the companies’ CSR activities are reliable or not,
simply because of information asymmetry (Pomering & Johnson, 2009). Past research found that
highly credible sources are more persuasive and are usually perceived as more trustworthy than
other sources (Wang & Scheinbaum, 2018).
Arguably, if stakeholders believe that the CSR disclosures are credible in terms of their
source trustworthiness and expertise, they will probably perceive that their content is helpful to
them. Hence, it is very likely that they will also hold positive attitudes toward their corporate
communications. Conversely, the messages that are transmitted from amateurish sources with low
expertise, may not result in a change in attitudes (Newell & Goldsmith, 2001). This argumentation
leads to the following hypotheses:
H4: Source trustworthiness significantly affects the individuals’ attitudes towards online
CSR communications.
H5: Source expertise significantly affects the individuals’ attitudes towards online CSR
In sum, this research suggests that information relevance, information timeliness,
information accuracy, information quality, source trustworthiness and source expertise are
significant antecedents of the individuals’ attitudes toward online CSR reports. Figure 1. depicts
the hypothesized relationships of this research.
Figure 1. An elaboration likelihood model that evaluates the quality and credibility of CSR
4. Methodology
4.1 Survey administration
The data for this empirical research was collected through an online survey questionnaire
that was disseminated amongst individuals who pursued full time and part time courses in a
Southern European university. There were more than 10,000 students who were invited to take
part in this quantitative study. The targeted research participants had voluntarily given their
consent to receive requests to participate in academic studies. The respondents received an email
from the university registrar that comprised a hyperlink to an online survey. After two weeks, there
were three hundred ninety-two respondents (n=392) who submitted their completed questionnaire.
The research participants were expected to answer all questions in the survey (they were not in a
position to submit the questionnaire if they did not respond to each question).
This research complied with the research ethic policies of the higher educational institution
and with the EU’s general data protection regulations (GDPR). The respondents indicated the
extent of their agreement with the survey’s measuring constructs in a five-point Likert scale. The
responses ranged from 1 “strongly disagree” to 5 = “strongly agree”, and 3 signaled an indecision.
In the latter part of the questionnaire, the participants were expected to disclose their age by
choosing one of five age groups. They indicated their gender and the course they pursued at
university. The questionnaire was pilot tested among a small group of post graduate students (who
were not included in the survey results), in order to reduce the common method bias, as per
MacKenzie and Podsakoff’s (2012) recommendations.
4.2 The measures
The survey instrument relied on valid measuring items that were drawn from ELM or from
its related IAM. It explored the individuals’ perceptions about the quality of online information,
source credibility as well as their attitudes toward online CSR communications. Table 1. features
the complete list of measures and their corresponding items, that were utilized in this study.
Table 1. The measures that were used in the survey
Information relevance
Cheung et al., 2008;
Lock & Seele, 2016
The information I obtain from online CSR communications is relevant.
The information I obtain from online CSR communications is appropriate.
Information accuracy
(Filieri & McLeay, 2014; Rawlins, 2008; Wixom & Todd, 2005)
The information I obtain from online CSR communications is correct.
The information I obtain from online CSR communications is reliable.
Information timeliness
(Filieri & McLeay, 2014;
Rawlins, 20
Wixom & Todd, 2005)
The information I obtain from online CSR communications is up to date.
The information I obtain from online CSR communications is timely.
Source trustworthiness
Newell & Goldsmith, 2001
Shan, 2016; Wang & Scheinbaum, 2018
I trust online CSR communications.
The businesses make truthful claims in their online CSR communications.
Source expertise
Newell & Goldsmith, 2001
Shan, 2016;
Wang & Scheinbaum, 2018
The businesses have a great amount of experience in using online communications.
The businesses are skilled in developing online CSR
Attitudes toward information
Erkan & Evans, 2016; Filieri & McLeay, 2014)
CSR communications
CSR communications are useful.
4.3 The demographic profile of the respondents
The participants identity remained anonymous, and their individual responses were kept
confidential. Only aggregate information was used during the analysis of the data. More than half
of the respondents were females. The sample consisted of 209 females (53.3%) and 183 males
(46.7%). Most of the respondents (n=310, 79%) were between 18 and 25 years of age. The second
largest group (n=43, 11%) were between 42 and 49 years old. The majority of respondents were
pursuing courses in the faculties of economics, management and accountancy (18%), media and
knowledge sciences (11%) and arts (10%). However, the sample included respondents from all
areas of studies.
5. Results
5.1 Descriptive statistics
The respondents agreed with the survey items in the model, as the mean scores (M) were
above the mid-point of 3 as reported in Table 2. The highest mean scores were reported for source
expertise - Exp2 (M=4.036), information timeliness - Tim1 (M=3.998), and attitudes toward
information - Att2 (M=3.996). Whilst information relevance - Rel1 reported the lowest mean score
(M=3.499). The standard deviations (SD) indicated that there was a narrow spread around the
mean. The values of SD ranged from 0.655 for information timeliness - Tim1 to 1.117 for source
expertise - Exp1. The skewness and the kurtosis indices were consistent with Kline’s (2005)
recommendations for the purposes of SEM.
5.2 Confirmatory composite analysis
A structural equation modelling partial least squares (SEM-PLS) approach was used to
explore the measurement quality of this research model (Ringle, Wende & Becker, 2014). The
PLS algorithm revealed the results of this contribution’s reflective model. It provided relevant
information on the outer loadings, path coefficients and total effects. In addition, it featured the
results relating to quality criteria like construct reliability and validity, discriminant validity,
collinearity statistics, the coefficient of determination (R
) as well as effect size (f
The values of the standardized loadings ranged from 0.841 to 0.975. Cronbach’s alpha,
Rho_A and the composite reliability values were well above 0.7. The findings revealed that there
were acceptable convergent validities as the constructs’ average variance extracted (AVE) values
were higher than 0.7. The results reported that there was evidence of discriminant validity: The
square root value of AVE was higher than the correlation values among the latent variables in the
same column, as indicated in Table 2 (Fornell & Larcker, 1981). Moreover, a heterotrait-monotrait
(HTMT) procedure re-confirmed the presence of discriminant validity as the correlated values
were lower than 1 (Henseler, Ringle & Sarstedt, 2015).
Table 2. The descriptive statistics including the correlation analysis and an assessment of the reliability, convergent validity and discriminant
Std. Outer
Construct Items
CR AVE 1 2 3 4 5 6
Attitudes towards information
Att1 3.857 0.875 0.885 0.745 0.748 0.887
Att2 3.996 0.756 0.900
Information accuracy Acc1 3.964 0.731 0.935 0.882 0.904 0.944
Acc2 3.821 1.104 0.956
Information relevance Rel1 3.499 0.906 0.942 0.848 0.862 0.929
Rel2 3.679 0.658 0.921
Information timeliness Tim1 3.998 0.655 0.841 0.734 0.806 0.879
Tim2 3.679 0.847 0.928
Source expertise Se1 3.964 1.117 0.964 0.936 0.956 0.969
Se2 4.036 0.981 0.975
Source trustworthiness St1 3.52 0.906 0.852 0.726 0.760 0.878
St2 3.679 0.658 0.915
Note: The discriminant validity was verified through Fornell-Larcker criterion and by using HTMT procedure. The values of the square root of the AVE were presented (in bold font)
were greater than the correlations among the constructs in the same column. The shaded area features the results from the HTMT procedure (Henseler et al., 2015).
Structural Model Assessment
The assessment criteria involved an examination of the collinearity statistics among the
constructs. The results indicated that there were no collinearity issues as the variance inflation
factors (VIFs) were lower than the recommended threshold of 3.3 (Kock, 2015).
algorithm featured the coefficient of determination (
) of the endogenous latent construct. The
findings revealed that the five constructs of this research model, namely, information relevance,
information accuracy, information timeliness, source trustworthiness and source expertise,
predicted 76.8% of the participants’ attitudes toward online CSR reporting.
SEM-PLS’ bootstrapping procedure was used to explore the statistical significance and the
relevance of the path coefficients. It shed light on the results of the total effects, in terms of the
values of the original sample, sample mean, standard deviation, confidence intervals bias-
corrected, t-statistics and significance (
values, as reported in Table 3.
Table 3. Testing of the hypotheses
Path Coefficient Original
T Statistics
Information relevance -> Attitudes toward information 0.324 0.321 0.042 0.229
7.706 0.000 Supported***
Information accuracy -> Attitudes toward information 0.122 0.119 0.043 0.051
2.873 0.004 Supported***
Information timeliness -> Attitudes toward information
0.346 0.347 0.032 0.278
10.812 0.000 Supported***
Source trustworthiness -> Attitudes toward information
0.103 0.108 0.054 0.001
1.896 0.059 Not supported.
Source expertise -> Attitudes toward information 0.239 0.240 0.027 0.187
8.835 0.000 Supported***
Note: ***p<0.001 and t>2.
H1: This study found that there was a positive and highly significant effect between
information relevance and attitudes toward information, where
β=0.324, t=7.706, and p<0.001.
This finding suggests that the respondents’ perceptions about the relevance of CSR information
had a very significant effect on their attitudes toward the businesses’ online disclosures. Similarly,
H2 indicated that there was a positive and significant relationship between information accuracy
and attitudes towards information (where β=0.122, t=2.873, and p<0.001).
The results from H3 revealed that the participants perceived that the timeliness of
information was an important determinant for their attitudes toward online CSR reporting. The
information timeliness construct was the strongest predictor in this research model (where
β=0.346, t=10.812, p<0.001). Conversely, H4 indicated that the respondents’ perceptions on
source trustworthiness had a very weak effect on their attitudes toward CSR disclosures (β=0.346,
t=1.896, p=0.059). In this case, the hypothesis was not supported (as p>0.05) (even though 0.059
is very close to being statistically significant). H5: The last hypothesis indicated that source
expertise was a highly significant antecedent of the individuals’ attitudes toward CSR
communications. In this case, the results confirmed that source expertise was affecting the
respondents’ attitudes toward CSR disclosures, where β=0.239, t=8.835 and p<0.001.
Figure 2 sheds light on the explanatory power of this research model. It clearly illustrates
the values of the outer loadings and the effects of each factor on the endogenous construct as well
as the coefficient of determination (R
). PLS reported an R
value of 0.768 (and an associated R
Adj. value of 0.765).
It indicated that the individuals’ attitudes toward CSR reporting was affected
by information timeliness
= 0.277), source expertise
=0.119), information relevance
=0.113), information accuracy
=0.03) and to a lower extent by source trustworthiness
Figure 2. A graphical illustration of SEM-PLS results
6. Conclusions
6.1 Implications to academia
This contribution validated ELM measures (Allison et al., 2017; Browning et al., 2018;
Cheung et al., 2008; Gu, Xu, Xu, Zhang & Ling, 2017; Li, 2013; Petty & Cacioppo, 1986; Zhang
et al., 2021) and key constructs relating to IAM (Erkan & Evans, 2016, Hussain et al., 2017;
Sussman & Siegal, 2003; Tseng & Wang, 2016). Specifically, this study identified the effects of
information relevance, information accuracy, information accuracy, source trustworthiness and
source expertise on the individual’ attitudes toward online CSR communications.
The results confirmed that both central as well as peripheral factors (to a lower extent) were
having a significant effect on the targeted audiences’ changing attitudes toward corporate
communications. In sum, this study indicated that online users appreciated relevant and timely
CSR content from trusted sources - that were curated by experts. This finding is conspicuous with
relevant theoretical underpinnings on ELM. For instance, Chen and Chang (2018) and even
Rawlins (2008) contended that individuals are usually captivated by current, relevant, complete,
accurate, reliable, comparable and clear communications.
Relevant academic literature reported that individuals may choose to pursue ELM’s central
route, whenever they evaluate the quality of the arguments/information that is communicated to
them (Cheung et al., 2008; Petty & Cacioppo, 1986). Alternatively, if they are not interested or
motivated on the content, they may usually rely on the sources’ credibility to form their attitudes
and opinions on their messages. Previous research often utilized ‘source expertise’ and ‘source
trustworthiness’ constructs to measure the respondents’ perceptions about the credibility of sources
of information (Allison et al., 2017; Ayeh, 2015; Bhattacherjee & Sanford, 2006; Cheung et al.,
2008; Filieri, 2015; Lowry, Wilson & Haig, 2014; Newell & Goldsmith, 2001; Petty & Cacioppo,
In this case, this study found that the research participants were more influenced by ELM’s
central route processing as information timeliness and information relevance were having nuanced
effect on attitudes when compared to the peripheral factors including source expertise. Evidently,
the respondents reflected and thought on CSR communications they accessed through the Internet
and via social media. This finding implies that the businesses’ elaborated, high-quality content was
changing their stakeholders’ attitudes toward CSR information.
Nevertheless, the research model indicated that the participants were somehow affected by
peripheral issues, particularly by the source expertise of content curators. Previous literature
reported that the recipients of information can still be influenced by the peripheral route’s
subjective cues and/or by heuristic inferences (i.e. low elaboration issues). For instance, many
individuals are continuously exposed to corporate communications from businesses who have
excellent credentials among their followers (Camilleri, 2021a; Li, 2013; Schultz & Seele, 2020).
The findings from this study revealed that source trustworthiness was the weakest
antecedent of the individuals’ attitudes toward CSR communications. This result is similar to
previous findings from other studies, where the researchers reported that there were lower effects
from peripheral factors like source credibility/source trustworthiness (than from central factors)
on information usefulness/attitudes toward information (Cheung et al., 2008; Erkan & Evans,
This research demonstrated that external stakeholders were mainly processing information
relating to the businesses’ CSR activities through the central route, as they considered their
communications as elaborate, timely and relevant. However, it also showed that they held positive
perceptions about the expertise of content curators who were disseminating information on their
CSR credentials via digital media.
6.2 Managerial implications
This contribution has investigated the online users’ attitudes about CSR communications
and revealed their perceptions about the sources’ credibility. It implies that businesses can improve
their credentials if they publish quality CSR content that is appreciated by their stakeholders. This
research suggests that external stakeholders expected businesses to publish relevant information
that is accurate and timely. This finding suggests that there is scope for the businesses to regularly
update their CSR webpages with the latest developments. For instance, they can publish certain
information and newsfeeds about non-financial matters including on their immediate responses to
COVID-19 like sanitization and hygienic measures in their workplace environments. They may
disseminate health and safety information through social media sites or via online video sharing
platforms. They can use different digital media to promote their businesses’ responsible behaviors
toward their employees and the community at large, during different waves of the pandemic.
Ultimately, it is in the companies’ interest to communicate about appropriate ESG matters
with different stakeholders. Businesses ought to use corporate websites to disseminate information
on commercial aspects, corporate governance policies, CSR and/or environmental sustainability
initiatives as well as on COVID-19. In this day and age, they should also utilize social media
networks (SNSs) on a regular basis, to raise awareness about their website, and to interact on
different issues with their followers, in real time. They can publish appealing content including
images and videos about their CSR activities to entice the curiosity of stakeholders. They may also
share excerpts from their CSR disclosures and could feature forward-looking statements that shed
light on their trajectories for a post COVID-19 era.
6.3 Limitations and directions for future research
This study is not without limitations. The measures that were used to capture the data were
drawn from ELM and from its related IAM. These theoretical models were mostly referenced in
previous studies that were mostly focused on the cocreation of content, including online reviews
and electronic word of mouth publicity (Filieri et al. 2018; Filieri & McLeay, 2014; Islam &
Rahman, 2017; Erkan & Evans, 2016). Therefore, the survey items were adapted for a study that
sought to explore the online users’ attitudes toward CSR communications. In this case, the results
confirmed the reliability and validity of the constructs. Hence, prospective researchers are
encouraged to replicate this study in other contexts.
Future studies may consider different constructs that may be drawn from other theoretical
frameworks, to shed more light on the individuals’ attitudes toward online communications,
information adoption and/or intentional behaviors. Researchers may adopt other constructs to
evaluate different aspects of online content. They may investigate perceptions about information
access, information understandability, data richness, interactivity and customization capabilities
or information completeness, among others.
Alternatively, they could determine whether the
information is rhetoric, difficult to understand, confusing, ineffective or even useless for online
users. Furthermore, alternative research methods and sampling frames can be used to capture and
analyze the data. Interpretative studies can explore other stakeholders’ in-depth opinions and
beliefs on CSR communications and delve deeper into their content. Inductive studies may reveal
other important issues on how to improve the quality and credibility of CSR disclosures in the
digital age.
The author thanks the Co-Editors, the Associate Editor and the reviewers for their constructive
This research was funded through the University of Malta’s Academic Work Resources Fund
Conflict of interest
The author declares that he has no conflicts of interest.
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... As public awareness of global problems such as climate change, environmental pollution, poverty, inequalities, discrimination, and violence is increasing, the baseline of what is considered appropriate corporate conduct is shifting towards higher standards [1][2][3][4][5][6][7]. Through this shift in societal expectations, companies are experiencing increased levels of legitimacy pressure which ensues when there are actual or perceived divergences between firm behavior and the generally accepted social norms, values, and beliefs [4]. ...
... To mitigate these issues, the objectives of this article are (1) to demonstrate that social media CSR communication is indeed a fuzzy concept, (2) to identify the sources of fuzziness in existing research, (3) to illustrate the problem of fuzziness using empirical data, and (4) to develop a set of guidelines which shall help future researchers in this field to make their research more rigorous and their results more replicable. The primary theoretical contribution of this research will be the elucidation of the concept of social media CSR communication which is a fundamental building block of leading theoretical models in this field (see e.g., [7,14,24]) but suffers from conceptual fuzziness. In addition, we shall make several methodological contributions [25] by collecting, comparing, and appraising existing methods of operationalizing and identifying CSR communication on social media and developing guidelines for more rigorous and replicable research informed by best practices. ...
... In recent years, several seminal articles have significantly advanced our understanding of the antecedents and effects of social media CSR communication. For example, Camilleri [7] explored individuals' attitudes towards online CSR communication through an elaboration likelihood model and found that timeliness, relevance, and accuracy of information as well as source expertise are highly significant antecedents that affect peoples' attitudes toward CSR communications. Chu et al. [24] proposed that attitudes toward CSR in social media, peer communication, and opinion leadership serve as antecedents of CSR-related electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) behaviors and explored the role of cultural differences as a moderating factor. ...
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Research analyzing the antecedents and effects of CSR communication on social media based on real-world data has surged in recent years but suffers from a severe lack of construct clarity. Based on an extensive literature review and the analysis of intercoder congruency on a content classification task on Instagram, we argue that CSR communication is a fuzzy concept and that diverging theoretical conceptions of CSR and CSR relatedness, as well as different operationalizations, have led to highly inconsistent and difficult-to-replicate results. To improve rigor and replicability in future CSR communication research using social media analytics, we develop guidelines for identifying CSR communication on social media that address common pitfalls in existing research designs.
... This research integrates measures from Davis et al.'s (1989) technology adoption model (TAM), namely, perceived usefulness and behavioral intentions with one of McMillan and Hwang's (2002) perceived interactivity construct, they referred to as an 'engaging' construct; with information quality and source credibility from Sussman and Siegal's (2003) information adoption model (IAM) or from Petty and Cacioppo's (1986) elaboration likelihood model (ELM). In sum, it presumes that the websites' engaging attributes and features (Kim et al., 2020;McMillan and Hwang, 2002), as well as the quality and credibility of their online content (Cheung et al., 2008;Filieri and McLeay, 2014;Leong et al., 2019;Newell and Goldsmith, 2001;Wang and Scheinbaum, 2018), can have a positive and significant effect on the customers' motivations to use them (Camilleri, 2022;Davis et al., 1989). Moreover, the researchers hypothesize that the online users' perceptions about the usefulness of these interactive service technologies would predict their intentions to continue using them in the future. ...
... This contribution differentiates itself from previous research. It puts forward an integrative information adoption -technology acceptance model that comprises key factors that were drawn from IAM (Camilleri, 2022;Filieri and McLeay, 2014;Salehi-Esfahani et al., 2016;Shu and Scott, 2013;Sussman and Siegal, 2003;Tseng and Wang, 2016), TAM (Ayeh, 2015;Bhattacherjee and Sanford, 2006;Chen, et al., 2007;Davis et al., 1989;Go, Kang and Suh, 2020) as well as from an (interactive) engagement construct (Calder et al., 2009;Chattaraman, Kwon, et al., 2019;Lin and Chang, 2018;Park and Yoo, 2020). ...
... The survey instrument integrated measures that were drawn from ELM/IAM (Camilleri, 2022;Wang and Scheinbaum, 2018;Filieri and McLeay, 2014;Cheung et al., 2008;Sussman and Siegal, 2003), TAM (Camilleri 2018;Camilleri and Falzon, 2020;Cheung et al., 2008;Erkan and Evans, 2016) and from relevant literature relating to interactive engagement (Kim et al., 2020;McMillan and Hwang, 2002). Table 1 features a list of measures that were utilized in this study and provides a short definition for them 14 Table 1 The measuring constructs and their corresponding items that were used in this research ...
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Purpose This study aims to investigate perceptions about interactive travel websites. The researchers hypothesize that engaging content, the quality of information and source credibility have a significant effect on the consumers’ utilitarian motivations to continue using them in the future. Design/methodology/approach A structured survey questionnaire was used to gather data from 1,287 online users, who were members of two popular social media groups. The methodology relied on a partial least squares approach to analyze the causal relationships within an extended information adoption model (IAM). Findings The findings reveal that the research participants perceive the utility of interactive travel websites and are willing to continue using them, particularly the responsive ones. The research participants suggest that these sites are easy to use, capture their attention and offer them useful information on various tourism services. The results also indicate that they appreciate their source credibility (in terms of their trustworthiness and expertise of their curators) as well as their quality content. Research limitations/implications This study integrates key measures from the IAM with a perceived interactivity construct, to better understand the individuals’ acceptance and use of interactive websites. Practical implications This research implies that service businesses ought to have engaging websites that respond to consumer queries in a timely manner. Hence, they should offer a seamless experience to their visitors to encourage loyal behaviors and revisit intentions to their online domains. Originality/value To the best of the authors’ knowledge, there are no other studies that incorporated an interactive engagement construct with key constructs from IAM and from the technology acceptance model (TAM). This contribution underlines the importance of measuring the individuals’ perceptions about the engagement capabilities of interactive media when investigating information and/or technology adoption.
... Como un compromiso continuo de actuar éticamente y de contribuir al crecimiento económico, al mismo tiempo que mejora la calidad de vida de la fuerza laboral y de sus familias, la comunidad local y en general de la sociedad. (EU-LAC, 2019, p.11) Considerada como un factor estratégico para la supervivencia y desarrollo de las organizaciones (Soliz Aguayo, 2017;Rodríguez Cala et al., 2019;Ibarra Padilla, 2014;Carrillo Punina, 2017), la RSC no es un fenómeno reciente, pero ha adquirido mayor notoriedad e interés en los últimos años (Akyıldız, 2021;Barchiesi y Fronzetti Colladon, 2021;Bhumika et al., 2022;Jouber, 2022;Tosun et al., 2022;Al-Shammari et al., 2022;Anlesinya y Abugre, 2022;Blasi y Sedita, 2022;Conte et al., 2022;Camilleri, 2022;Kim, 2022;Karatas-Ozkan et al., 2022;Madero Gómez et al., 2022;Rintala et al., 2022;Miethlich et al., 2022;Silva et al., 2022). Se ha convertido en una nueva filosofía de gestión de las organizaciones a nivel mundial, razón por la cual el Consejo Mundial de Empresas para el Desarrollo Sostenible (CMEDS) ha diseñado un grupo de estrategias a nivel empresarial enfocadas en los principios de la RSC (Soliz Aguayo, 2017). ...
... Liderazgo (Bhumika et al., 2022;Jouber, 2022;Tosun et al., 2022) Valores organizacionales (Al-Shammari et al., 2022;Barchiesi y Fronzetti Colladon, 2021;Foncubierta-Rodríguez, 2022) Concepción estratégica (Akyıldız, 2021(Akyıldız, , 2021Anlesinya y Abugre, 2022) Diseño organizacional (Blasi y Sedita, 2022;Conte et al., 2022;Köseoglu et al., 2021) Comunicación institucional (Camilleri, 2022;Kim, 2022;LaVan et al., 2022) Competencias laborales (Karatas-Ozkan et al., 2022;Madero Gómez et al., 2022;Rintala et al., 2022) Satisfacción laboral (Miethlich et al., 2022;Silva et al., 2022;Trivellas et al., 2021) Del análisis anterior se pueden extraer las siguientes conclusiones: a modo de resumen, en la actualidad se profundiza más en los aspectos externos de la responsabilidad social y su impacto en el entorno y en menor medida se analizan las diversas variables internas que pueden influir en el grado de manifestación o desarrollo de la responsabilidad social; sin embargo, no se encontró, al menos de forma explícita, una investigación donde se estructure la relación existente entre las diversas dimensiones internas y su relación con la responsabilidad social. Partiendo de este análisis teórico, el problema de investigación a cuya solución se orientó la presente investigación fue en buscar la respuesta a la pregunta: ¿Qué nivel de correlación existe entre las variables que condicionan el grado de responsabilidad social corporativa de la organización objeto de estudio? ...
... Los valores organizacionales y la comunicación institucional fueron otras dos dimensiones que mostraron niveles de correlación significativos. Ambas están influenciadas por el comportamiento de las dimensiones anteriormente analizadas y de igual modo han sido objeto de análisis y de corroboración de su influencia por investigaciones previas (Barchiesi y Fronzetti Colladon, 2021;Camilleri, 2022;Kim, 2022;LaVan et al., 2022;Miethlich et al., 2022;Al-Shammari et al., 2022;Foncubierta-Rodríguez, 2022). ...
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El valor futuro de las organizaciones viene determinado por sus resultados económicos junto con su nivel de respuesta a las necesidades de la sociedad y los grupos de interés, así como por el tipo de relación que establezcan con el ambiente en el que se desenvuelve e influye. Así, alcanzar altos niveles de responsabilidad social corporativa (RSC) se convierte en una necesidad para el éxito empresarial. Este tipo de investigación tiene un enfoque empírico. La investigación se orientó a identificar y validar las variables que condicionan y se relacionan con la RSC. El estudio consideró en su metodología el diseño de un instrumento a partir de investigaciones referenciales, el cual fue aplicado a 778 trabajadores. En el análisis se propuso un modelo de ecuaciones estructurales para identificar las asociaciones y relaciones para la RSC. La evaluación de este modelo de ecuaciones estructurales y su validación a través del análisis factorial confirmatorio permitió constatar, como principales conclusiones, que la responsabilidad social corporativa presenta un desarrollo condicionado por un enfoque multidimensional, donde las variables internas de la organización muestran un nivel significativo de correlación con la RSC reconocida por los clientes de la organización, como son el liderazgo, la orientación estratégica, el diseño organizacional, la comunicación, el desarrollo de competencias profesionales, los valores organizacionales y la satisfacción laboral, y guardan una estrecha relación con las investigaciones precedentes.
... In recent years, stakeholders have started to put mounting pressure on companies to receive more information on the positive and negative impacts exerted by their environmental and social actions and the extent to which they incorporate sustainable development into their strategies and business models (Accountancy Europe, 2019; Camilleri, 2022;KPMG, 2022). Attuned to this, the way investors and financial analysts decide to allocate their capital has changed. ...
... In recent decades, ethical, environmental and social concerns, which for a long time have been considered subordinate to the primary imperative to maximise shareholders' returns, have climbed the hierarchy of corporate priorities as crucial factors to generate value in the long term for all corporate stakeholders (Nicolò et al., 2022a;Camilleri, 2022). In such an evolving context, scholars have started to question the traditional "narrow and shortsighted" (Jain and Jamali, 2016, p. 253) outlook of corporate governance portrayed by agency theory, based on the prioritisation of shareholders' value maximisation. ...
This paper examines the impact of corporate governance mechanisms on Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) disclosure in the utilities sector. We collected data from the Eikon Refinitiv database on 265 worldwide organisations operating in the utility sector during the 2011–2019 period. Findings evidence that board independence and the existence of a specific Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)/sustainability committee constitute positive drivers of utilities’ overall ESG disclosure levels. Also, board size positively influences environmental and social disclosure. The study would encourage utilities to define their internal corporate governance mechanisms carefully, devoting primary attention to an accurate selection of the board of directors members.
... In this light, the researchers link key theoretical underpinnings relating to social capital (Groza et al., 2020;Lin and Wang, 2021;Rezaei et al., 2020;; Yang and Koh, 2022;Zheng et al., 2014), stakeholder engagement (Camilleri, 2022;Freeman, 1984;Valančienė and Jegelevičiūtė 2014), resource based view (RBV) (Barney, 1986;Lagazio and Querci, 2018;Wernerfelt, 1984;Mitrega et al., 2021), technology adoption (Ajzen, 1991;Davis, 1989;Rahman et al., 2020;Shneor and Munim, 2019) and to the diffusion of innovations (Bento et al., 2019;Presenza et al., 2019;Rogers, 2003;Yang and Lee, 2019;Yang et al., 2016), among others, to better explain the acceptance and use of disruptive crowdfunding platforms among different stakeholders, including project initiators as well as crowd-investors. ...
... These project initiators are encouraged to engage with online investors through crowdfunding platforms, to provide feedback relating to products or services, in order to increase their chances of reaching their financial goals (Shahab et al., 2021). Ultimately, it is in their interest to disseminate relevant content to project backers for transparency purposes (Camilleri, 2022), and to improve their credentials with stakeholders. ...
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Purpose: This contribution evaluates key theoretical bases that were used in previous research, to investigate the use of crowdfunding platforms by small businesses and startups. It presents the findings from a systematic review to better explain the pros and cons of utilizing these disruptive technologies for crowdsourcing or crowd-investing purposes. Method: A PRISMA’s methodical protocol was used to search, screen, extract and scrutinize seventy-two (72) articles that were indexed in both Scopus and Web of Science. The researcher examines these research questions and describes their methodologies. Afterwards, he synthesizes the findings from previous literature, outlines the implications of this contribution and discusses about future research avenues. Findings: A thorough review of the relevant literature suggests that there are opportunities as well as challenges for project initiators as well as for crowd-investors, if they are considering equity crowdfunding, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and rewards-based crowdfunding platforms, among others, to raise awareness about their projects, and to access finance from crowd-investors. Research limitations/implications: Further research is required on this timely topic. There are a number of theories relating to technology adoption and/or innovation management, strategic management, accounting and financial reporting, and normative/business ethics, among other research areas, that can be utilized as theoretical bases, to explore this topic. Practical implications: Crowd-investors are striving in their endeavors to find a trade-off between potential rewards and a number of risks that are associated with crowd-financing. Originality: Currently, there are few systematic reviews and conceptual articles focused on the crowdfunding of small businesses and startups. Hence this contribution closes this gap in the academic literature. Moreover, it links the extant theory to practice. It clarifies that the resource-based view theory of the firm, the theory of planned behavior, the diffusion of innovations theory, as well as the signaling theory, among other conceptual frameworks, can be used to investigate different facets of crowdfunding/crowdsourcing and crowd-investing.
... highly elaborated content) as well as by source credibility (i.e. peripheral and heuristic factors) (see Camilleri, 2022;Petty et al., 1983;Petty and Cacioppo, 1986;Salehi-Esfahani et al., 2016). ...
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Purpose: Customers are increasingly utilizing mobile applications (apps) to compare prices of travel and hospitality services and to purchase their itineraries, tours and stays. This study explores key factors influencing the individuals’ perceptions about the usefulness of travel apps and sheds light on the causal paths predicting the individuals’ dispositions to utilize them. Design/methodology/approach: Quantitative data was gathered from 1,320 subscribers of social media groups. They were analyzed through a composite-based partial least squares (PLS) approach. Findings: The results indicate that information quality, source credibility and the functionality of travel apps are significantly affecting the individuals’ perceptions about their usefulness as well as their intentions to use them. They also confirm that there are highly significant indirect effects within the proposed model. Practical implications: This study suggests that there is scope for the travel service providers to enhance the quality and functionality of their mobile apps, in order to improve their consumers’ perceptions about the utility of these ubiquitous service technologies. Theoretical implications: The study integrates information quality and source credibility factors with a functionality construct. It examines their effects on the technology acceptance model (TAM)’s perceived usefulness and behavioral intentions. Originality: This contribution incorporates a functionality construct in an information technology adoption model to shed light on the individuals’ dispositions to avail themselves of online content and/or to adopt interactive innovations. In this case, it implies that certain functionality features of travel apps including their responsiveness and technical capabilities can trigger users to increase their engagement with these mobile technologies on a habitual basis.
... highly elaborated content) as well as by source credibility (i.e. peripheral and heuristic factors) (see Camilleri, 2022;Petty et al., 1983;Petty and Cacioppo, 1986;Salehi-Esfahani et al., 2016). ...
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Purpose: Customers are increasingly utilizing mobile applications (apps) to compare prices of travel and hospitality services and to purchase their itineraries, tours and stays. This study explores key factors influencing the individuals’ perceptions about the usefulness of travel apps and sheds light on the causal paths predicting the individuals’ dispositions to utilize them. Design/methodology/approach: Quantitative data was gathered from 1,320 subscribers of social media groups. They were analyzed through a composite-based partial least squares (PLS) approach. Findings: The results indicate that information quality, source credibility and the functionality of travel apps are significantly affecting the individuals’ perceptions about their usefulness as well as their intentions to use them. They also confirm that there are highly significant indirect effects within the proposed model. Practical implications: This study suggests that there is scope for the travel service providers to enhance the quality and functionality of their mobile apps, in order to improve their consumers’ perceptions about the utility of these ubiquitous service technologies. Theoretical implications: The study integrates information quality and source credibility factors with a functionality construct. It examines their effects on the technology acceptance model (TAM)’s perceived usefulness and behavioral intentions. Originality: This contribution incorporates a functionality construct in an information technology adoption model to shed light on the individuals’ dispositions to avail themselves of online content and/or to adopt interactive innovations. In this case, it implies that certain functionality features of travel apps including their responsiveness and technical capabilities can trigger users to increase their engagement with these mobile technologies on a habitual basis.
... We shouldn't be surprised that businesses have begun utilizing social media marketing strategies in response to the explosive growth of social media adoption. These include marketing strategies such as public relations and advertising in addition to community engagement and corporate social responsibility (Camilleri, 2022). More support for a CSR program could be gained by including customers in communicating about it (Aktan et al., 2022). ...
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Corporate social responsibility (CSR) information can be effectively disseminated via social media in a variety of industries, including the hospitality sector. In the same way, the media has a significant impact on CSR because the news media helps companies achieve their CSR goals. Prior research has not examined the main factors that influence electronic word of mouth (eWOM) on media coverage of CSR issues via social networking websites. For the purpose of examining the most significant predictors of intention to share or comment on negative CSR news reported by one media outlet on a specific social networking site (SNS). 677 Wechat users in China were surveyed in order to test the proposed model empirically. According to the findings of the study, eWOM intentions are positively influenced by environmental CSR content, and advertisement related CSR content. It also confirmed that the value of information is positively influenced by the credibility of the source. The variables interpersonal influencer impact and privacy concerns had no significant relationship, nor did they have any significant relationship with the intentions to share and comment on Wechat. Further the study findings suggest the theoretical and managerial policy recommendation for decision makers.
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This contribution presents the findings from a two-stage systematic review. It relied on PRISMA’s methodical protocol to capture and analyze high-impact articles, that were fo-cused on the International Standards Organization’s ISO 14001 - Environment Management Systems. Whilst stage 1 shed light on the most cited publications since 1995, stage 2 nar-rowed down the search results between 2015 and 2021. The findings suggest that the use of this certifiable standard may result in operational efficiencies through better utilization of resources and waste management systems. It provides opportunities for practitioners to re-conceive their license to operate and to enhance their credentials with stakeholders. It considered potential pitfalls like high certification costs, time constraints as well as an in-crease in paperwork and red tape. Moreover, it recognizes that managers and employees may not be willing to implement changes as they may prefer the status quo or could not be knowledgeable enough to integrate the standard’s environment management systems with existing practices.
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Despite in the last decade there was a significant increase in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) literature, little attention has been devoted to shed light on strategic CSR practices in the hospitality industry, especially in the context of developing countries. This paper uses a case-study methodology to investigate CSR practices of eight hotels in Santa Marta, Colombia. The results show that hotel companies were implementing different CSR behaviors that can be classified as philanthropic-reactive, legal-reactive and active groups. The findings revealed that their CSR activities were intended to add value to their economic performance. Hence, this contribution discusses about these hospitality establishments’ individual improvement plans and puts forward a CSR management model for the entire industry. In conclusion, it presents important theoretical as well as managerial implications for practitioners, and proposes future research avenues. The authors suggest that future research should take into account other companies’ CSR activities from different industries.
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This contribution suggests that community-based tourism (CBT) can create commercial and social value to destinations, local businesses as well as to residents. At the same time, it clarifies that CBT offers rich, immersive cultural experiences that can enhance the tourists’ experiences when visiting different communities. It posits that sustainable CBT approaches can improve the local economic development (LED) of communities by reducing economic leakages from the tourism industry. It explains that there is scope for destination managers and tourism businesses to engage in sustainable tourism practices and to utilize local resources, in a strategic manner, in order to maximize linkages in their economy. In conclusion, this paper puts forward a theoretical model that clearly illustrates the business case to implement sustainable CBT strategies. It also implies that these strategies can ultimately result in opportunities for economic growth of tourism businesses and may increase the competitiveness of destinations, whilst safeguarding the environment and addressing their carrying capacities.
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Generally, businesses are capable of implementing corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmentally sustainable behaviors as they pursue their profit-making activities. While there are a number of contributions that investigated the effect of CSR and responsible environmental practices on the companies' bottom lines, few studies were focused on the strategic attributions of responsible corporate behaviors in the tourism industry context, during an unprecedented pandemic situation. Hence this research investigates the stakeholders' perceptions on the hospitality businesses' social responsibility and environmentally friendly practices. The data were collected from a sample of 462 research participants who worked in tourism and hospitality. The findings suggest that their employers' stakeholders were triggering their businesses to engage in ethical behaviors, responsible human resources management and to invest in environmentally friendly initiatives. As a result, they were creating value to their companies, to society and to the natural environment. In sum, this contribution implies that there are strategic attributions of CSR behaviors and of environmentally sustainable practices as responsible businesses can improve their growth prospects and increase their competitiveness in the long run.
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The latest advances in digital technologies have changed the way companies communicate with their stakeholders. This chapter explores the businesses' usage of digital communication channels. It focuses on their utilization of social media for marketing and promotion of products, corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices and stakeholder engagement with financial stakeholders. An exploratory study was carried out on a sample of 167 Italian businesses. It investigated the companies' websites and their social media accounts. The findings suggest that the Italian businesses are using various social media networks for corporate communication purposes. This descriptive research shows that they are utilizing Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube, among others, to communicate commercial information and to promote their business. Moreover, they are using Instagram and Twitter to raise awareness about their CSR initiatives. In conclusion, this chapter implies that marketers need to carefully coordinate the use of different digital tools to ensure that they reach their target audiences in an effective manner.
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Businesses are increasingly using corporate communication technologies to interact with prospective customers. Therefore, this study explores the corporate executives' readiness to use interactive media for engagement with online users. The methodology relied on valid and reliable measures to explore the participants' pace of technological innovation, perceived usefulness, ease of use and social influences, as these factors can have an effect on their engagement with interactive technologies. The findings supported the scales' content validity as the structural equations modeling approach has reported a satisfactory fit for this study's research model. The results indicated that the pace of technological innovation, perceived usefulness, ease of use of online technologies as well as social influences were significant antecedents for the marketing executives' engagement with online users through digital media. This contribution implies that corporate communications executives ought to continuously monitor conversations in social media and review sites, and should respond to their online followers in a timely manner. In conclusion, it identifies its limitations and suggests possible research avenues to academia.
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This authoritative book features a broad spectrum of theoretical and empirical contributions on topics relating to corporate communications in the digital age. It is a premier reference source and a valuable teaching resource for course instructors of advanced, undergraduate and post graduate courses in marketing and communications. It comprises fourteen engaging and timely chapters that appeal to today’s academic researchers including doctoral candidates, postdoctoral researchers, early career academics, as well as seasoned researchers. All chapters include an abstract, an introduction, the main body with headings and subheadings, conclusions and research implications. They were written in a critical and discursive manner to entice the curiosity of their readers. Chapter 1 provides a descriptive overview of different online technologies and presents the findings from a systematic review on corporate communication and digital media. Camilleri (2020a) implies that institutions and organizations ought to be credible and trustworthy in their interactive, dialogic communications during day-to-day operations as well as in crisis situations, if they want to reinforce their legitimacy in society. Chapter 2 clarifies the importance of trust and belonging in individual and organizational relationships. Allen, Sven, Marwan and Arslan (2020) suggest that trust nurtures social interactions that can ultimately lead to significant improvements in corporate communication and other benefits for organizations. Chapter 3 identifies key dimensions for dialogic communication through social media. Capriotti, Zeler and Camilleri (2020) put forward a conceptual framework that clarifies how organizations can enhance their dialogic communications through interactive technologies. Chapter 4 explores the marketing communications managers’ interactive engagement with the digital media. Camilleri and Isaias (2020) suggest that the pace of technological innovation, perceived usefulness, ease of use of online technologies as well as social influences are significant antecedents for the businesses’ engagement with the digital media. Chapter 5 explains that the Balanced Scorecard’s (BSC) performance management tools can be used to support corporate communications practitioners in their stakeholder engagement. Oliveira, Martins, Camilleri and Jayantilal (2020) imply that practitioners can use BSC’s metrics to align their communication technologies, including big data analytics, with organizational strategy and performance management, in the digital era. Chapter 6 focuses on UK universities’ corporate communications through Twitter. Mogaji, Watat, Olaleye and Ukpabi (2020) find that British universities are increasingly using this medium to attract new students, to retain academic employees and to promote their activities and events. Chapter 7 investigates the use of mobile learning (m-learning) technologies for corporate training. Butler, Camilleri, Creed and Zutshi (2020) shed light on key contextual factors that can have an effect on the successful delivery of continuous professional development of employees through mobile technologies. Chapter 8 evaluates the effects of influencer marketing on consumer-brand engagement on Instagram. Rios Marques, Casais and Camilleri (2020) identify two types of social media influencers. Chapter 9 explores in-store communications of large-scale retailers. Riboldazzi and Capriello (2020) use an omni-channel approach as they integrate traditional and digital media in their theoretical model for informative, in-store communications. Chapter 10 indicates that various corporations are utilizing different social media channels for different purposes. Troise and Camilleri (2020) contend that they are using them to promote their products or services and/or to convey commercial information to their stakeholders. Chapter 11 appraises the materiality of the corporations’ integrated disclosures of financial and non-financial performance. Rodríguez-Gutiérrez (2020) identifies the key determinants for the materiality of integrated reports. Chapter 12 describes various electronic marketing (emarketing) practices of micro, small and medium sized enterprises in India. Singh, Kumar and Kalia (2020) conclude that Indian owner-managers are not always engaging with their social media followers in a professional manner. Chapter 13 suggests that there is scope for small enterprises to use Web 2.0 technologies and associated social media applications for branding, advertising and corporate communication. Oni (2020) maintains that social media may be used as a marketing communications tool to attract customers and for internal communications with employees. Chapter 14 shed light on the online marketing tactics that are being used for corporate communication purposes. Hajarian, Camilleri, Diaz and Aedo (2020) outline different online channels including one-way and two-way communication technologies. Endorsements "Digital communications are increasingly central to the process of building trust, reputation and support. It's as true for companies selling products as it is for politicians canvasing for votes. This book provides a framework for understanding and using online media and will be required reading for serious students of communication". Dr. Charles J. Fombrun, Former Professor at New York University, NYU-Stern School, Founder & Chairman Emeritus, Reputation Institute/The RepTrak Company. “This book has addressed a current and relevant topic relating to an important aspect of digital transformation. Various chapters of this book provide valuable insights about a variety of issues relating to "Strategic Corporate Communication in the Digital Age". The book will be a useful resource for both academics and practitioners engaged in marketing- and communications-related activities. I am delighted to endorse this valuable resource”. Dr. Yogesh K. Dwivedi, Professor at the School of Management at Swansea University, UK and Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Information Management. “This title covers a range of relevant issues and trends related to strategic corporate communication in an increasingly digital era. For example, not only does it address communication from a social media, balanced scorecard, and stakeholder engagement perspective, but it also integrates relevant contemporary insights related to SMEs and COVID-19. This is a must-read for any corporate communications professional or researcher”. Dr. Linda Hollebeek, Associate Professor at Montpellier Business School, France and Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia. "Corporate communication is changing rapidly, and digital media represent a tremendous opportunity for companies of all sizes to better achieve their communication goals. This book provides important insights into relevant trends and charts critical ways in which digital media can be used to their full potential" Dr. Ulrike Gretzel, Director of Research at Netnografica and Senior Fellow at the Center for Public Relations, University of Southern California, USA. "This new book by Professor Mark Camilleri promises again valuable insights in corporate communication in the digital era with a special focus on Corporate Social Responsibility. The book sets a new standard in our thinking of responsibilities in our digital connected world". Professor Wim Elving, Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen, The Netherlands.
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Web 2.0 and the social networks have changed how organizations interact with their publics. They enable organizations to engage in symmetric dialogic communications with individuals. Various organizations are increasingly using different social media to enhance their visibility and relationships with their publics. They allow them to disseminate information, to participate, listen and actively engage in online conversations with different stakeholders. Some social networks have become a key instrument for corporate communication. Therefore, this chapter presents a critical review on the organizations' dialogic communications with the publics via social networks. It puts forward a conceptual framework that comprises five key dimensions including 'active presence', 'interactive attitude', 'interactive resources', 'responsiveness' and 'conversation'. This contribution examines each dimension and explains their effect on the organizations' dialogic communication with the publics. Hence, this contribution has resulted in important implications for corporate communication practitioners as well as for academia. Moreover, it opens future research avenues to academia.
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Institutions and organizations are increasingly using the digital media to communicate with stakeholders on a day-to-day basis and during crises situations. Therefore, this chapter presents a bibliographic analysis on digital corporate communication technologies. The grounded theory's inductive approach was used to capture and interpret the findings from Scopus-indexed publications. The articles were scrutinized in their entirety, including their research questions, methodologies and interpretation of the findings. Afterwards, this contribution identifies the opportunities and challenges that emerged during an unprecedented Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. In conclusion, it implies that there is scope for institutions and organizations to incorporate digital and social media in their crises' communications and risk management plans. This will enable them to be in a better position to engage in credible and transparent dialogic communications with different stakeholders.
Purpose Little research has been done on how university information sources influence advice-seeking attitude, intention, and behavior between students with high and low susceptibility to online information. Our study addressed this gap by empirically demonstrating the role that students’ susceptibility to online information plays in terms of the effect of attitude, social norm and perceived behavioral control on their advice-seeking intention and behavior using the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB). The purpose of this study is to examine differences in the susceptibility to online sources on students’ advice-seeking behavior when making an institution choice. Design/methodology/approach A cross-sectional survey was involved, and this empirical study was performed on the basis of a sample of 621 students from publicly-funded high schools in Hong Kong. Multigroup analysis (MGA) was conducted to (i.e. students with high susceptibility to online sources/ students with low susceptibility to online sources) to examine students’ behavioral intention regarding advice seeking about institution choice. 10; Findings The results of the study revealed that students with high susceptibility to online information were likely to be influenced by the social norm in applying the TPB model. Conversely, students with low susceptibility to online information had low intention to seek advice from others as they are independent and noninformation seekers. Implications for higher education institutions are discussed. Originality/value This study provides a modified version of the TPB model while also demonstrating how students with high/low susceptibility to online sources affect their behavioral intention to seek advice from others about making a university choice. Also, this study provides insights into institutions regarding the promotion of marketing information via online and offline sources.