A governance approach to stakeholder engagement in sustainable enterprises—Evidence from B Corps

Chaoyuan She*, Giovanna Michelon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Sustainable enterprises face a risk for which the pressure over financial sustainability “crowds out” their impact mission. Corporate governance mechanisms can play an important role in managing the tensions between the two objectives, by steering and driving stakeholder engagement processes. At the same time, the rise of social media has provided firms with a platform for undertaking stakeholder engagement on a large scale. Therefore, the aim of this study is to examine how the governance mechanisms of sustainable enterprises affect engagement with stakeholders on social media. Specifically, we identify three distinctive mechanisms for a governance approach to stakeholder engagement in sustainable enterprises: The legal purpose beyond profit maximization, directors' commitment to purpose, and the adoption of purpose-specific accountability mechanisms. We argue that each of them matters for the extent to which sustainable enterprises engage with stakeholders on social media, as well as the quality of this engagement. By scraping and classifying nonfinancial tweets posted by 1074 U.S. B Corps between 2014 and 2018 and those posted by stakeholders towards the firm, we find that the legal and ethical mechanisms are positively related to the quality of engagement while the accountability mechanism is related to both the extent and quality of engagement. Our study sheds light on the implications of governance mechanisms in steering social media stakeholder engagement in sustainable enterprises.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5487-5505
Number of pages19
JournalBusiness Strategy and the Environment
Issue number8
Early online date17 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2023 The Authors. Business Strategy and The Environment published by ERP Environment and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Structured keywords

  • AF Accountability Sustainability and Governance


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