Determinants of social media-related performance : case study analysis of social media-related strategies, structures, processes, competencies and assets of airlines companies

Athari, Nonni

The main goal of this study is to identify factors that could influence companies‘ performance on social media, with a focus on airlines industry. Case studies of four full-service and international airlines – KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Emirates, American Airlines, Garuda Indonesia – are chosen to explore this complex and new phenomenon as airlines’ social media activities have been considered as benchmark among other industries. To include a vast majority of relevant factors, this study investigates the success factors by using two dominating perspectives in strategy literature which concern with the sources of company success: Miles and Snow’s (1978, 2003) Adaptive Cycle and Strategy Typology Theory, and Resource-Based View of the Firm. Adapting the Miles and Snow’s theory into this study, the configuration of social mediarelated strategies, structures and processes in each airlines is analyzed. Three different basic social media strategy types have been identified, which correspond with Miles and Snow’s types of organizational adaptation – Prospector, Defender, and Analyzer. Moreover, this study found that the quality of the fit between the airlines’ configuration of social media strategies, structures and processes influences their performance on social media. For the purpose of this study, eight key social media-related performance indicators that are considered important in airlines industry are used: (1) Responsiveness, (2) brand engagement, (3) content reach, (4) revenue generated, (5) insights gained, (6) online reputation, (7) effectiveness in social media crisis management, and (8) size of social media communities. In addition, adapting the resource-based view of the firm, this study has developed a set of social media-related resources (competencies and assets) that contribute to companies‘ social mediarelated performance, based on literature review and empirical findings. The social media-related competencies are: (1) social media-related learning competency, (2) responsiveness competency on social media, (3) competency in social media content management, (4) innovative competency on social media, and (5) competency in social media crisis management. The social media-related assets are (1) social media team, (2) social media policies, (3) social media-related products, and (4) relationships with key influencers and brand ambassadors on social media. This study also found that there are mutual relationships between the resources, that means, some resources also influence other resources, which increases their overall impact on performance. Lastly, this study discovered that there are correlations between the airlines’ social media strategy types and their social media-related resources. Social media-related resources are rather different across social media strategy types, in terms of influence on performance and dominance.



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Athari, Nonni: Determinants of social media-related performance. case study analysis of social media-related strategies, structures, processes, competencies and assets of airlines companies. 2016.

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