Aaltodoc publication archive (Aalto University institutional repository)
School of Business | Department of Management Studies | International Business Communication | 2015
Thesis number: 13973
Shaping corporate image and fostering organizational identification: a study of public B2B companies' Facebook pages
|Title:||Shaping corporate image and fostering organizational identification: a study of public B2B companies' Facebook pages|
|Year:||2015 Language: eng|
|Department:||Department of Management Studies|
|Academic subject:||International Business Communication|
|Index terms:||viestintä; communication; yritysviestintä; business communication; kansainväliset yhtiöt; international companies; sosiaalinen media; social media; imago; image; identiteetti; identity; business-to-business; business-to-business|
|Key terms:||international business communication; corporate identity; corporate image; orhanizational identification; social media|
Objective of the Study:
The objective of the study was to better understand how public Finnish B2B companies use corporate Facebook pages. The study further approached the Facebook pages from two different perspectives, and aimed to find first of all, how elements of corporate identity on Facebook shape the corporate image, and secondly, how the Facebook pages can foster organizational identification.
Methodology and Theoretical Framework:
The data for the study was collected directly from public Facebook pages. All in all, the posts and comments from 11 B2B companies' Facebook pages were collected from a time period of three months. After an initial analysis of these 11 pages, the data was further narrowed down to only three case companies for a more fine-grained analysis. The methods of analysis included a qualitative content analysis of the Facebook pages and a rhetorical analysis of the case companies' posts. The theoretical framework outlined the two perspectives used to study the Facebook pages. Firstly, it defined the elements of corporate identity as symbolism, behaviour, communication and the consistency of messages and argued that the management of these elements aims at creating a favourable public image of the company. Secondly, the theoretical framework posited that external communication can also be used to foster organizational identification, and specifically this can be done through rhetorical devices and external reactions.
Findings and Conclusions:
The study found that the most common type of post was an update from an industry event or career fair. The content analysis of the Facebook pages discovered that the use of symbolism was partly restricted by the Facebook platform, but prominent in profile pictures and cover photos. The element of behaviour was present in the way companies treated their followers' comments and questions. Regarding communication, the findings showed that the tone of voice on the pages was often informal. In addition, identities were performed through affiliations with the industry, values or other organizations. The study also found that Facebook pages used certain rhetorical devices to foster organizational identification, most prominently highlighting individual employees, and using an assumed "we". In addition, likes and comments showed external reactions in a more visible way than other more traditional media.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.