THE EFFECT OF SOCIAL MEDIA DISCLOSURE ON INVESTORS AND EMPLOYEES
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The increased presence of companies and their top executives on social media has influences on a wide variety of stakeholders. My dissertation examines the effect of social media disclosure on investors’ decision-making and employees’ whistleblowing decisions. For investors, social media is a new disclosure channel with disclosure unique in style and content to other traditional channels. One unique content is the top executives’ self-presentation on their personal social media accounts. My first study examines how investors react to CEO’s self-presentation strategy (ingratiation versus self-promotion) via his or her personal social media account and causal attribution for negative financial results (internal versus external). Consistent with expectancy violations theory, I find that for an ingratiating CEO, an internal attribution leads to higher perceived warmth, competence, and credibility than an external attribution. In contrast, for a self-promoting CEO, an external attribution leads to higher perceived competence and credibility than an internal attribution, while the perceived warmth does not differ between internal and external attribution. In addition, investors’ perceptions of the CEO’s competence and credibility mediate the effect of self-presentation strategy and attribution on investors’ investment decisions. For employees, organizations and their leaders can strategically use social media practice to increase employees’ organizational identification and use formal social media policy to regulate employees’ social media activities. My second study aims to investigate the impact of corporate social media strategy (identity practice versus sales promotion) and social media policy (enabling versus constraining) on employee whistleblowing decisions regarding two social media cases. I find that for the information leaking case, identity practice strategy leads to higher whistleblowing intention difference between traditional hotlines and social media channels when the policy is constraining but not when the policy is enabling. However, this effect is only for female participants instead of male. For the online venting case, I find that female participants have higher differences between reporting channels when compared to male participants. My study adds to social media literature in accounting and provides practical implications for companies and leaders who are interested in incorporating social media as one of their communication channels.