Is being right legitimate? Managing public outcries on social media

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

With the advent of social media, organisations have had to face new realities in their exposure to public condemnation and ridicule. Thus, social media provide publics with instant access to voicing disapproval of organizational behaviour, potentially leading to long-term negative effects on organizational image and earnings (Holmgreen 2015, forthcoming). This realisation forms the background of the article which discusses the apparent clash between organisational legitimisation strategies, which seek to justify actions through reference to their just, reasonable and appropriate character, and the joint public evaluation of the very same conduct as being inappropriate and immoral (Breton & Côté 2006; Suchman 1995; Vaara & Tienari 2008). Drawing on a critical discourse approach to legitimation (Fairclough 2003; Rojo and Van Dijk 1997; Van Leeuwen 2008), the article analyses the case of a Danish steakhouse chain whose legal actions against a smaller restaurant owner in 2014 spurred a public outcry and firestorm on social media, leading to the chain’s imminent closure four years later. The data of the analysis consist of a corpus of press releases and public social media comments in the months following the announcement of the court case, which ruled in favour of the steakhouse. The analysis reveals the existence of two overall and distinctly different discourses that reflect basic social and cultural values, on the one hand, and market and business values, on the other. Thus, the analysis suggests that despite the existence of a shared social system based on the rule of law, organizational and public (legitimation) strategies may follow apparently irreconcilable paths that challenge the very foundation of business, not only by questioning the legitimacy of corporate actions but also by uniting publics in joint discursive action against perceived culprits. This insight combined with the instant character of social media calls for vigilance in communicating organisational affairs to the public.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDiscourse, Context & Media
ISSN2211-6958
Publication statusIn preparation - 2020
EventAssociation of Business Communication Spain - Universidad de Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, Spain
Duration: 11 Jul 201813 Jul 2018
https://congresosalcala.fgua.es/2018abcspain/

Conference

ConferenceAssociation of Business Communication Spain
LocationUniversidad de Alcalá
CountrySpain
CityAlcalá de Henares
Period11/07/201813/07/2018
Internet address

Keywords

    Cite this

    @article{791be481b6ba40b8859d397e13e1bde2,
    title = "Is being right legitimate?: Managing public outcries on social media",
    abstract = "With the advent of social media, organisations have had to face new realities in their exposure to public condemnation and ridicule. Thus, social media provide publics with instant access to voicing disapproval of organizational behaviour, potentially leading to long-term negative effects on organizational image and earnings (Holmgreen 2015, forthcoming). This realisation forms the background of the article which discusses the apparent clash between organisational legitimisation strategies, which seek to justify actions through reference to their just, reasonable and appropriate character, and the joint public evaluation of the very same conduct as being inappropriate and immoral (Breton & C{\^o}t{\'e} 2006; Suchman 1995; Vaara & Tienari 2008). Drawing on a critical discourse approach to legitimation (Fairclough 2003; Rojo and Van Dijk 1997; Van Leeuwen 2008), the article analyses the case of a Danish steakhouse chain whose legal actions against a smaller restaurant owner in 2014 spurred a public outcry and firestorm on social media, leading to the chain’s imminent closure four years later. The data of the analysis consist of a corpus of press releases and public social media comments in the months following the announcement of the court case, which ruled in favour of the steakhouse. The analysis reveals the existence of two overall and distinctly different discourses that reflect basic social and cultural values, on the one hand, and market and business values, on the other. Thus, the analysis suggests that despite the existence of a shared social system based on the rule of law, organizational and public (legitimation) strategies may follow apparently irreconcilable paths that challenge the very foundation of business, not only by questioning the legitimacy of corporate actions but also by uniting publics in joint discursive action against perceived culprits. This insight combined with the instant character of social media calls for vigilance in communicating organisational affairs to the public.",
    keywords = "social media, publics, firestorm, discourse, organisation, organisational behaviour",
    author = "Lise-Lotte Holmgreen",
    year = "2020",
    language = "English",
    journal = "Discourse, Context & Media",
    issn = "2211-6958",
    publisher = "Elsevier",

    }

    Is being right legitimate? Managing public outcries on social media. / Holmgreen, Lise-Lotte.

    In: Discourse, Context & Media, 2020.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Is being right legitimate?

    T2 - Managing public outcries on social media

    AU - Holmgreen, Lise-Lotte

    PY - 2020

    Y1 - 2020

    N2 - With the advent of social media, organisations have had to face new realities in their exposure to public condemnation and ridicule. Thus, social media provide publics with instant access to voicing disapproval of organizational behaviour, potentially leading to long-term negative effects on organizational image and earnings (Holmgreen 2015, forthcoming). This realisation forms the background of the article which discusses the apparent clash between organisational legitimisation strategies, which seek to justify actions through reference to their just, reasonable and appropriate character, and the joint public evaluation of the very same conduct as being inappropriate and immoral (Breton & Côté 2006; Suchman 1995; Vaara & Tienari 2008). Drawing on a critical discourse approach to legitimation (Fairclough 2003; Rojo and Van Dijk 1997; Van Leeuwen 2008), the article analyses the case of a Danish steakhouse chain whose legal actions against a smaller restaurant owner in 2014 spurred a public outcry and firestorm on social media, leading to the chain’s imminent closure four years later. The data of the analysis consist of a corpus of press releases and public social media comments in the months following the announcement of the court case, which ruled in favour of the steakhouse. The analysis reveals the existence of two overall and distinctly different discourses that reflect basic social and cultural values, on the one hand, and market and business values, on the other. Thus, the analysis suggests that despite the existence of a shared social system based on the rule of law, organizational and public (legitimation) strategies may follow apparently irreconcilable paths that challenge the very foundation of business, not only by questioning the legitimacy of corporate actions but also by uniting publics in joint discursive action against perceived culprits. This insight combined with the instant character of social media calls for vigilance in communicating organisational affairs to the public.

    AB - With the advent of social media, organisations have had to face new realities in their exposure to public condemnation and ridicule. Thus, social media provide publics with instant access to voicing disapproval of organizational behaviour, potentially leading to long-term negative effects on organizational image and earnings (Holmgreen 2015, forthcoming). This realisation forms the background of the article which discusses the apparent clash between organisational legitimisation strategies, which seek to justify actions through reference to their just, reasonable and appropriate character, and the joint public evaluation of the very same conduct as being inappropriate and immoral (Breton & Côté 2006; Suchman 1995; Vaara & Tienari 2008). Drawing on a critical discourse approach to legitimation (Fairclough 2003; Rojo and Van Dijk 1997; Van Leeuwen 2008), the article analyses the case of a Danish steakhouse chain whose legal actions against a smaller restaurant owner in 2014 spurred a public outcry and firestorm on social media, leading to the chain’s imminent closure four years later. The data of the analysis consist of a corpus of press releases and public social media comments in the months following the announcement of the court case, which ruled in favour of the steakhouse. The analysis reveals the existence of two overall and distinctly different discourses that reflect basic social and cultural values, on the one hand, and market and business values, on the other. Thus, the analysis suggests that despite the existence of a shared social system based on the rule of law, organizational and public (legitimation) strategies may follow apparently irreconcilable paths that challenge the very foundation of business, not only by questioning the legitimacy of corporate actions but also by uniting publics in joint discursive action against perceived culprits. This insight combined with the instant character of social media calls for vigilance in communicating organisational affairs to the public.

    KW - social media

    KW - publics

    KW - firestorm

    KW - discourse

    KW - organisation

    KW - organisational behaviour

    M3 - Journal article

    JO - Discourse, Context & Media

    JF - Discourse, Context & Media

    SN - 2211-6958

    ER -