Business and Society Special Issues on Digital Technology and Business Responsibilities

ball-63527_1920Business and Society just recently published its new special issue titled “The Governance of Digital Technology, Big Data, and the Internet: New Roles and Responsibilities for Business.” This Issue features a collection of articles that explore how new technologies and innovations have changed the social responsibilities of businesses. What does the digital age hold for corporate social responsibility?


Business & Society aims to be the leading, peer-reviewed outlet for scholarly work dealing specifically with the intersection of business and society. They publish research that develops, tests and refines theory, and which enhances our understanding of important societal issues and their relation to business. It is the official journal of the International Association of Business and Society.

To read more about the issue click here.



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Sparking Dialogue: Organizational Communication through Digital Storytelling

8711865159_50ff14eaaa_zIn recent years, technology and the Internet have simultaneously expanded and reinvented the way we communicate. The change in how we communicate has been pervasive, impacting all communications in the personal and professional sphere. Advances in technology has led multimedia content to become a new frontier for organizational communications, bringing with it new potential for organizational storytellers to reach broader audiences and engage in more dialogical communication. In the recent Journal of Management Inquiry article “Digital Organizational Storytelling on YouTube: Constructing Plausibility Through Network Protocols of Amateurism, Affinity, and Authenticity,” authors Emma Bell and Pauline Leonard try to better understand how plausibility plays into the dialogical nature of digital organizational storytelling. The abstract for the paper:

In this article, we focus on “digital organizational storytelling” as a communicative practice that relies on technologies enabled by the Internet. The article explores the dialogical potential of digital organizational storytelling and considers how this Current Issue Coveraffects the relationship between online storytellers and audiences. We highlight the importance of network protocols in shaping how stories are understood. Our analysis is based on a case study of an organization, which produces online animated videos critical of corporate practices that negatively affect society. It highlights the network protocols of amateurism, affinity, and authenticity on which the plausibility of digital organizational storytelling relies. Through demonstrating what happens when network protocols are breached, the article contributes toward understanding digital organizational storytelling as a dialogical practice that opens up spaces for oppositional meaning making and can be used to challenge the power of corporations.

You can read “Digital Organizational Storytelling on YouTube: Constructing Plausibility Through Network Protocols of Amateurism, Affinity, and Authenticity” from Journal of Management Inquiry free for the next two weeks by clicking here.

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How the Internet Has Changed Our Travel Habits

The World Wide Web celebrated its 25th birthday this year, leaving us to reminisce about what life was like before it. But justdigital-world-1097861-m how much has it changed how we travel? Journal of Travel Research recently published an article bu authors Zheng Xiang of Virgina Tech, Dan Wang of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Joseph T. O’Leary of Colorado State University at Fort Collins, and Daniel R. Fesenmaier of Temple University exploring this topic in their OnlineFirst section entitled “Adapting to the Internet: Trends in Travelers’ Use of the Web for Trip Planning.”


The abstract:

The influence of the Internet on our social and economic life is well documented. However, few studies have been conducted to assess how travelers have adapted to the Internet over time. Using a series of national JTR_72ppiRGB_powerpointsurveys conducted over the past 6 years (2007–2012), this study describes important changes taking place in the use of the Internet by American travelers. The results point to a number of key trends in travelers’ use of the Internet and suggest that there is a growing “bifurcation” between traditional online travelers, that is, those who use the Internet for standard travel products and those who are beginning to adopt alternative channels and products in search of deeper and more authentic experiences. This article discusses several important implications of these trends for both research and practice.


Looking for a Good Read? Book Review: Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet

spamNeed a good book to help you get through the post-holiday doldrums?

Finn Brunton: Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013. 296 pp. $27.95, hardcover. ISBN 13: 978-0262018876.

Read the review by Mikolaj Jan Piskorski of Harvard Business School, published in the December issue of Administrative Science Quarterly:

[The] constant co-evolutionary battle between those who seek to garner our attention through spam and those who seek to protect us from it is the theme that unites much of this book. Brunton documents many such dynamics, starting by examining interactions between spammers on bulletin board systems and Usenet groups and the administrators and users who sought to protect themselves in the mid-1990s. He then takes us through a fascinating history of commercially motivated junk email spamming, which led to the developmentof filtering software that protected our mailboxes from being inundated with unwanted messages. Here Brunton convincingly argues that the filtering software reduced spammers’ ability to reach us cheaply and thus priced many low margin herbal supplement and performance pill sellers out of the market. This ushered in the era of high-margin Nigerian wire scams, which promise to send you a fortune if you send just a little bit of money—and net as much as $2,000 per respondent. Next, Brunton takes us on a fascinating journey into the constant fight between Google’s search engineASQ_v58n4_72ppiRGB_150pixW and website spammers, who at some point built artificial communities of spammy pages and fake blogs, which attracted the attention of legitimate pages and blogs so well that they managed to fool Google’s advertising algorithms for a while. Finally, the book takes a very deep dive into an incredibly rich and quite scary world of spam computer programs that will infect your computer, attempt to discover your passwords and credit card numbers, and pass them on to a rogue programmer. Here, Brunton shows that not only are such programmers in competition to outwit security firms that seek to protect your computer, they are also in competition with each other to wrest control of infected computers away from each other. The forethought, the social relationships, and the complexity of the supply chain required to steal the data and use them for financial benefit, as described by the author, would make for a fascinating horror movie—one we would all watch with bated breath.

Click here to read more in Administrative Science Quarterly!

Facebook, Twitter, Blog? How To Get Your Message Out

With traditional and new media channels abound, finding the right one for your organization can be a challenge. Social Marketing Quarterly’s new article “Changing Channels: A Theory-Based Guide to Selecting Traditional, New, and Social Media in Strategic Social Marketing” evaluates online video sharing (e.g., YouTube), online social networking (e.g., Facebook, Google), microblogs (e.g., Twitter), weblogs, mobile applications and more from a social marketer’s perspective:

New and social media allow organizations to meet McGuire’s (1984) prescription to reach people multiple times, from multiple sources and in multiple settings (McGuire, 1984), and practitioners see social media as an opportunity to increase transparency in their communication (DiStaso & Bortree, 2012). An additional attraction of new and social media technologies is their low relative cost compared to that of more traditional advertising (Long, Taubenheim, Wayman, Temple, & Yu, 2010). However, along with this savings is also a loss of message control (Neff, 2011).

We have moved to an era of dialogic communication campaigns in which the public has more power in controlling message design and delivery. And while organizations are increasingly turning to social and new media for social marketing, sometimes with successful results (Abroms, Schiavo, & Lefebvre, 2008), efforts are not always theory-driven or evidence-based.

The following review of extant literature of channel selection theory informed the application of media richness theory and the concept of medium control. The research question explored here is what channel characteristics should campaign designers consider and assess when selecting the most effective channels for disseminating their messages. This article prescribes a process and typology for strategically selecting channels in social marketing campaigns.

Click here to read the article by Christy J. W. Ledford of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, published on September 28, 2012 in Social Marketing Quarterly, and here to learn more about the journal.

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What Impact Have Smartphones Had on the Tourist Experience?

Dan Wang, Temple University, Sangwon Park, University of Surrey, and Daniel R. Fesenmaier, Temple University, published “The Role of Smartphones in Mediating the Touristic Experience” on December 23rd, 2011 in the Journal of Travel Research. To view other OnlineFirst articles, please click here.

The abstract:

Mobile phones have evolved to be smart computers (smartphones) supporting a wide range of information services that can be accessed anytime and from (almost) anywhere. With the increasing number of users and greater incursion into people’s life, smartphones have the potential to significantly influence the touristic experience. This study explores the mediation mechanisms of smartphones by examining stories provided by travelers related to their use of smartphones (and associated applications) for traveling purposes. The results reveal that smartphones can change tourists’ behavior and emotional states by addressing a wide variety of information needs; in particular, the instant information support of smartphones enables tourists to more effectively solve problems, share experiences, and “store” memories. The implications of these findings are important in that they suggest a huge potential for smartphones in changing many aspects of the tourism business.

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JMI: The Internet is Not Necessarily the Scholar’s Friend

Luigi Proserpio, Bocconi University, published “The Internet is Not Necessarily the Scholar’s Friend” on September 26th, 2011 in the Journal of Management Inquiry’s OnlineFirst collection. More OnlineFirst articles can be found here.

The abstract:

The Internet is almost invariably viewed as a positive for academia because it can so dramatically accelerate the location and dissemination of knowledge. However, there are some unintended consequences for the researchers and professors in the wonders of the Internet. In particular, there is a lack of compatibility between several characteristics of their specialized content domains and the tenets of the new medium. Their work risks being marginalized in this brave new information world. The author discusses the possible long-term consequences of this nontrivial threat.

For more information about the Journal of Management Inquiry, please click here.

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