Forthcoming: Information Systems Research
Get full paper here: BlogBloggerAndTheFirm
Consumer generated media, particularly blogs, can help companies in increasing the visibility of their products without spending millions of dollars in advertising. While a number of companies realize the potential of blogs and encourage their employees to blog; a good chunk of them are skeptical about losing control over to this new media. Companies fear that employees may write negative things about them and this may bring significant reputation loss. Overall, companies show mixed response towards negative posts on employee blogs- some companies show complete aversion, while others show resilience towards negative posts. Such mixed reactions towards negative posts motivated us to probe for any positive aspects of negative posts. In particular, we investigate the relationship between negative posts and readership of an employee blog.
In contrast to the popular perception, our results reveal a potential positive aspect of negative posts. Our analysis suggests that negative posts act as catalyst and can exponentially increase the readership to employee blogs, and suggests that there is some merit to thinking of resilience towards negative posts. Since employees typically write few negative posts and largely write positive posts, the increase in readership to employee blogs generally should be enough to offset the negative effect of few negative posts on employee blogs. Therefore, not restraining few negative posts to increase readership should be a good strategy for the start. This raises a logical question, what should be a firm’s policy regarding employee blogging? For exposition, we suggest an analytical framework using our empirical model to answer this question.