G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
Approaching the concept of negative engagement in corporate communication (2020)

Lievonen, M. (2020). Approaching the concept of negative engagement in corporate communication [Doctoral dissertation]. Jyväskylän yliopisto. JYU Dissertations, 279. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8281-2

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Lievonen, Matias

eISBN: 978-951-39-8281-2

Journal or series: JYU Dissertations

eISSN: 2489-9003

Publication year: 2020

Number in series: 279

Number of pages in the book: 1 verkkoaineisto (81 sivua, 35 sivua useina numerointijaksoina, 16 numeroimatonta sivua)

Publisher: Jyväskylän yliopisto

Place of Publication: Jyväskylä

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: English

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8281-2

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel


Evolution of social media as a crucial communication medium between stakeholders and organizations has its opportunities but also challenges. In fact, communication targeted at organizations in social media is more often negative. To better understand this phenomenon, this article-based dissertation approaches the nascent concept of negative engagement (NE) in the context of corporate communication. Five individual research publications contribute to concept definition and adjustment from a multidisciplinary perspective. The first publication included in this dissertation discusses who is to blame for NE behavior. Publication II introduces affective dimensions involved in the processes when e-commerce consumers engage with organizations and brands in online environments. The third publication focuses NE concept-validation and it positions the still under-research NE across communication disciplines and authenticates author’s preliminary definition of NE within the field. Publication IV deepens the process of understanding NE concept, applying the managerial side to investigate how organizations should deal with NE behavior. The fifth and final publication included in this dissertation is a case-specific analysis that introduces an enhanced definition of the NE concept and provides supporting data from social media to categorize NE behaviors. Publications I, II, III, and IV apply literature review -based analysis to support conceptual and theoretical formation of affective, cognitive, and behavioral dimensions of NE. Multi-Grounded Theory (MGT) method is applied in publication V to offer a more developed theoretical definition and a brand-new typology of NE behaviors in social media. Key findings of this dissertation conclude that NE is not just a reversal of positive engagement. NE manifests through its own unique characteristics, and it has several possible triggers, as well as emotional, cognitive, and behavioral levels, that are processed over time. Moreover, visible NE behaviors could carry different consequences for the organizations and brands involved, depending on who engages negatively. On this basis, it is recommended that organizations and brands should monitor their issue arenas for NE. Moreover, it is vital to understand who engages negatively, but also the process of NE behavior, which varies in its level of emotional intensity, object focus, and orientation. To conclude, not all NE is harmful for organizations and brands. In fact, ability to respond transparently in social media on issues raised by the stakeholders should offer a considerable competitive advantage, and an opportunity for organizations to improve their reputation and image.

Keywords: corporate communications; social media; stakeholder groups; committing oneself; participation; behaviour; emotions; dissatisfaction; negativity

Free keywords: negative engagement; negative communication; corporate communication; social media; concept; definition

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

Last updated on 2022-24-11 at 20:49