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Original scientific paper

Building Stakeholder Relations Online: How Nonprofit Organizations Use Dialogic and Relational Maintenance Strategies on Facebook

Nadine van Wissen ; World Animal Protection, The Netherlands
Anke Wonneberger ; Department of Communication Science, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Although Facebook provides organizations with the opportunity to easily engage with stakeholders online, very little is known about the effectiveness of organizational communication strategies. This study examines how nonprofit organizations (NPOs) use Facebook to engage with stakeholders through stakeholder dialogic strategies and relational maintenance strategies with the goal of fostering stakeholder relationship growth and obtaining social legitimacy. Furthermore, this study takes full advantage of the research opportunities of social media by taking stakeholders’ online responses to these organizational strategies into account. A manual content analysis of N=216 posts and N=1,676 comments of the Facebook profiles of ten international NPOs was conducted over one month in 2015. The results demonstrated that NPOs were more focused on technical and design aspects while true stakeholder dialogue and relational maintenance strategies were barely applied. Stakeholder dialogue positively influenced stakeholders’ interest and engagement. Conversational human voice as a relational maintenance strategy positively affected stakeholders’ engagement.


stakeholder dialogu, relational maintenance strategies, conversational human voice, communicated relational commitment, social legitimacy, nonprofit organizations

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Article data in other languages: croatian

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