The Impact of Online Media on Stakeholder Engagement and the Governance of Corporations.

Hoffmann, C. P. & Lutz, C. (2015). The Impact of Online Media on Stakeholder Engagement and the Governance of Corporations. Journal of Public Affairs, 15(2), 163-174. DOI: 10.1002/pa.1535

Online tools such as social media provide new opportunities for citizens and stakeholder groups to be informed, identify common interests, express and share opinions and demands, organize, and coordinate interventions. Therefore, the Internet could be expected to increase stakeholder engagement in corporate affairs and facilitate good governance. In order to provide an overview of current findings on the impact of online media on governance and stakeholder engagement, we conduct a systematic literature review. Our analysis reveals five topical categories of inquiry. We analyze studies from the field of business participation and find a strong bias towards consumer engagement and marketing issues. Only few studies are found to critically explore the effect of online media on power and value distribution between corporations and stakeholders. We then turn to the more established field of political and civic participation in order to further analyze antecedents, forms, and outcomes of online engagement in civic affairs, and derive a framework for future research.