The latest port study of PortEconomics members Giovanni Satta and Francesco Parola co-authored by Francesco Vitellaro and Nicoletta Buratti (University of Genoa) has a twofold research objective. First, it scrutinises the current state of the art concerning adopting the most popular social media by European port managing bodies (PMBs). Second, it investigates the use of social media in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication strategies of European PMBs.
The portstudy carries out online field research on the use of social media by the top-25 European ports. Then, it provides an in-depth case study of the use of Twitter by the Port of Rotterdam for CSR communication. Finally, a content analysis of the tweets published in the 2017–2019 timeframe is performed.
Empirical results demonstrate the extensive use of social media by European PMBs to reach a wider array of stakeholders. Uneven approaches emerge considering port sizes and cultural clusters. The content analysis shows that one-third of tweets published by the Twitter account of the Port of Rotterdam address CSR issues, especially green initiatives, advocating the use of social media to communicate CSR.
The study focuses on the European domain. A broader sample of ports worldwide should be examined to further investigate the drivers affecting PMBs’ strategic adoption and use of social media, mainly to communicate CSR.
The portstudy provides port managers with insights to strengthen CSR communication. Given the increasing pressure of the public opinion on environmental and social issues, the ability of European PMBs to communicate their CSR commitment through social media represents a key driver when searching for consensus of stakeholders and “licence to operate”.
The study- ahead-of-print in Maritime Business Review under the title Social media and CSR communication in European ports: the case of Twitter at the Port of Rotterdam- adds to the existing maritime logistics literature by introducing a promising field of research and more information can be found in the journal’s webpage.