Research on User Involvement -- Engaging Stakeholders Online: The Bright and Dark Sides


Engaging Stakeholders Online: The Bright and Dark Sides

Organizations are increasingly using the internet to engage their stakeholders (employees, suppliers, customers, government, and management) for several positive outcomes such as higher productivity, growing revenue, and increased profits. Different theoretical models of engagement has been explored for such online platforms like uses and gratification theory, dual processing theory, and technology adoption models (Dolan et al., 2016; Dolan et al., 2019; Grover & Kar, 2019; Grover et al., 2019b; Gupta et al., 2019).

Though research suggests that engaging stakeholders have a lot of benefits to the individuals, groups, and organizations, the concerns relating to the overuse of these engagement practices especially through the internet cannot be ignored (Shelton & Skalski, 2014; Fox & Moreland, 2015; Baccarella et al, 2018). This side includes the darker aspects that cover ‘too much of engagement’ such as physical and mental strain leading to imbalances in the stakeholders’ life. Indeed, there seem to be both positive and negative consequences of engaging stakeholders online and each engagement practice or intervention needs to be seen through both these lenses. Further there has been plethora of evidences surrounding disinformation and misinformation in existing literature which impacts user engagement (Aswani et al., 2019).

Such an exploration makes it necessary to view the context through more than one lens and from the perspectives of multiple stakeholders (Friedman & Miles, 2002). It enhances the chances of a more holistic theoretical understanding of this new and complex nature of engagement. To address the issues of such complexity, mixed-method research designs are often suitable. A plethora of emerging research methodologies like the user-generated content mining, social media analytics, artificial intelligence and other approaches are guiding a lot of such research up and beyond the traditional approaches based on surveys, expert feedback, and analyses using inferential statistics (Fan & Gordon, 2014; Rathore et al., 2017).

Thus, following are the objectives of this special section:
• To challenge the existing theories in the online engagement literature.
• To explore different theoretical models of the factors that may have dual effects on the stakeholders that are engaged online, whether positive or negative.
• To examine the ways in which internet can itself be a remedy to shift stakeholders from the dark side to the bright side of engagement.
• To establish the need for interventions in such engagement in the online

Research Themes of the Special Section:
Submissions related to the following themes are welcome but are not limited to,
• Adoption and impact of innovative internet-based disruptive business models
• Balancing engagement of one stakeholder with that of the other.
• Collaborative learning through internet engagement.
• The dark side of excessive internet engagement, compulsive behaviour, and
• Disruptions in personal or professional life due to different levels of addictive
engagement to online platforms
• Engagement, disengagement, polarization or acculturation due to
misinformation/disinformation in social media platforms in socio-political
• Examining the counter-intuitive initiatives by the industry to engage stakeholders
• Factors affecting stakeholder disengagement due to internet-based activities such
as employee turnover, customer churn due to technostress
• Impact of biases due to intelligent backend algorithms in online platforms
• Interventions to shift stakeholders from the darker to the brighter side of internet
adoption, usage, and impacts.
• Organizational interventions to engage its stakeholders online.
• Role of social media in engaging economies for socio-economic development.
• Theory development using user-generated content for online community

Deadline for paper submission: 30 June 2020.
Notification of acceptance: 31 October 2020.
Special section publication: 1 January 2021.

Special Section Editors
Manish Gupta,
Department of HR,
IBS Hyderabad,
Constituent of IFHE,
[email protected]

Arpan Kumar Kar,
Dept. of Management Studies,
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
New Delhi, India
[email protected]

Charles Jebarajakirthy,
Department of Marketing,
Griffith Business School,
Griffith University, Australia,
[email protected]