Corporate activism, or the act of corporations speaking out on sociopolitical issues, has become more common with technological advances and social media access. Corporations’ role in society has evolved to include non-economic functions that aim to improve societal conditions. Despite corporations fulfilling additional societal roles, they face increased scrutiny from shareholders and stakeholders alike. Speaking out on social issues or staying silent causes ripple effects amongst their internal and external networks. Speaking out on social media while working for a private or publicly traded corporation can be challenging as it entails weighing a wide array of conditions, stakeholder desires, and corporate values, missions, and objectives.

This study recommends practices and strategies to assist those responsible or interested in a career in corporate communications. Its findings highlight the barriers and challenges faced by corporate leaders in their social media messaging. The study is significant as the expectations increase for corporations to act in society’s best interest.

This dissertation used a phenomenological approach in the semi-structured interviews with corporate leaders that engage with stakeholders on social media. The interviews revealed corporate leaders’ challenges in their roles and the strategies to overcome them. The methods for measuring success and recommendations for future leaders were also gathered from the interviews.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Social action; Business communication; Social media

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Farzin Madjidi