Tweeting to (Selectively) Engage: How Government Agencies Target Stakeholders on Twitter during Hurricane Harvey

Wenlin Liu, Weiai Xu


The ability to manage a multitude of stakeholder relations has long been considered important for effective organizational crisis management. With stakeholder communication increasingly taking place on social media, however, it is less understood how organizations may selectively engage with multiple stakeholder groups ranging from citizens, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), media, and businesses on this networked platform. Using Hurricane Harvey as a case study, the current study examines the stakeholder engagement practice on Twitter by 42 government and emergency management (EM) organizations across the three stages of this natural disaster. The analysis of the Twitter reply and mention networks suggests that government and EM organizations prioritize engaging with stakeholder groups including citizens, peer government agencies, and media during crisis. Stakeholder salience, indicated by a stakeholder’s geographic location and online influence, is significantly related to the level of targeting activities on Twitter.


stakeholder theory, crisis management, engagement strategies, multisector stakeholders

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