BLOGGING FOR TRUST? An Examination of Executive Blogs From A Trust Perspective

In recent years, blogs, which can be described as online journals, have started to reach a broad audience. One type of blog emerging has been the executive blog, which is maintained by a person holding an executive position within a company. Theory suggests that one possible area of use for executive blogs is to build trust.The purpose of this dissertation is to examine whether executive blogs are used for building trust and if trust is created. A deductive research approach, mixed with some characteristics of an inductive approach, is adopted for the research.Based on trust theory, three executive blogs are examined to see if it is possible to find indications of executives signaling trustworthiness, site design characteristics signaling a trustworthy environment, and readers signaling perceived trustworthiness. By using a manual, qualitative data collection method, blogposts and comments are examined…


1.1 Background
1.2 Purpose
1.3 Research questions
1.4 Limitations
1.5 Definitions
1.6 Outline
2.1 Choice of methodology
2.2 Research approach
2.3 Research philosophy
2.4 Data collection
2.4.1 Secondary data
2.4.2 Primary data
2.4.3 Tertiary data
2.5 Criticism of data
2.6 Summary
3.1 Blogs
3.1.1 Definition of the blog
3.1.2 Popularity of blogs
3.1.3 Why people read and write blogs
3.1.4 The rise of corporate blogs
3.1.5 Categories of corporate blogs
3.1.6 Executive blogs
3.1.7 Consumers actively searching for information
3.1.8 Monitoring of the blogosphere and responding to criticism
3.1.9 Corporate blogs as a tool for crisis management
3.1.10 Corporate blogs as a tool for product development
3.1.11 Corporate blogging as a tool for building relationships
3.1.12 Corporate blogging as a tool for building trust
3.1.13 Summary and own reflections blogs from a trust perspective
3.2 Trust
3.2.1 Introduction
3.2.2 Definitions of trust Philosophy Psychology
3.2.3 Trust from a business perspective Organization-Public Relationship (OCR) Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
3.2.4 Preconditions for trust
3.2.5 Antecedents of trust Ability, competence and credibility Benevolence and integrity
3.2.6 Information provided and blogger’s effort Communicating leadership Disclosing personal informatio Open communication Blogger’s effort
3.2.7 Reader involvement and communication Customer involvement Communication
3.2.8 Site design Graphic design Structure design Content design Social cue design
3.2.9 Summary
3.3 Towards a theoretical model for building trust with executive blogs
3.3.1 Roles of the executive, the blog site, and the readers
3.3.2 Executive’s actions Communicating thought leadership Disclosing personal information Communicating honesty and concern Opennes Effort and responsiveness Reader involvement Acknowledgement
3.3.3 Site design Photographs and graphics Menus External links Branding and adverts Social cues
3.3.4 Readers’ actions Effort Positive wording Gained enlightenment
3.3.5 A theoretical model for building trust with executive blogs
3.3.6 Summary
4.1 The empirical method
4.2 Research strategy
4.3 Population
4.3.2 Disadvantages of method of choosing population
4.4 Sampling method
4.5 Data analysis process
4.5.1 Data reduction
4.5.2 Data structuring
4.5.3 Data display
4.5.4 Three concurrent steps
4.6 Pilot study
4.7 Limitations of methodology chosen
4.8 Reliability
4.9 Validity
4.10 Generalizability
4.11 Summary
5.1 Revised theoretical model for building trust with executive blogs
5.1.1 Revised categories of executives’ actions Effort Responsiveness and acknowledgement
5.1.2 Revised categories of site design Use of photographs and videos
5.1.3 Revised categories of readers’ actions Willingness to share information Giving and getting help Expressions of interaction Expressions of liking
5.1.4 Comments on the revised theoretical model
5.2 Executives’ actions
5.2.1 Effort
5.2.2 Communicating thought leadership Company related content Business related content Products, services, and events Opinions
5.2.3 Disclosing personal information Different types of personal information
5.2.4 Reader involvement Questions Questions in title Questions answered by the blogger Asking for readers to agree Reflective questions Reader reflective question Questions with information Other questions Other indications of reader involvement Asking readers for feedback Asking readers to keep on reading Involve readers in other activities Asking readers to meet in person
5.2.5 Responsiveness and acknowledgement
5.2.6 Summary and comments
5.3 Site design
5.3.1 Photographs and videos
5.3.2 Menus
5.3.3 External links
5.3.4 Branding and adverts
5.3.5 Social cues
5.3.6 Summary and comments
5.4 Readers’ actions
5.4.1 Readers’ effort
5.4.2 Willingness to share information Willingness to disclose personal information
5.4.3 Giving and getting help
5.4.4 Expressions of interaction
5.4.5 Expressions of liking
5.4.6 Summary and comments
6.1 Indications of that executive blogs are used for building trust
6.2 Executive actions signaling trustworthiness
6.2.1 A model of executive actions signaling trustworthiness
6.3 Site design signaling a trustworthy environment
6.3.1 A model of site design signaling a trustworthy environment
6.4 Readers signaling perceived trustworthiness
6.4.1 A model of readers signaling perceived trustworthiness
6.5 Criticism of methodology used
6.6 Practical implications
6.7 Suggestions for further research
6.8 Summary

Author: Jerry Häll,David Ozdoba,Matz Thunberg

Source: Kristianstad University

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