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Environmental disclosure and sentiment analysis: state of the art and opportunities for public-sector organisations

Purpose – BecauseoftheexpansionoftheinternetandWeb2.0phenomenon,newchallengesareemerging in the disclosure practises adopted by organisations in the public-sector. This study aims to examine local governments’ (LGOs) use of social media (SM) in disclosing environmental actions/plans/information as a newwaytoimproveaccountabilitytocitizenstoobtainorganisationallegitimacyandtherelatedsentimentof citizens’judgements. Design/methodology/approach – This paper analyses the content of 39 Italian LGOs’ public pages on Facebook. After the distinction between five classes of environmental issues (air, water, energy, waste and territory), an initial study is performed to detect possible sub-topics applying latent Dirichlet allocation. Having a list of posts related to specific environmental themes, the researchers computed the sentiment of citizens’ comments. To measure sentiment, two different approaches were implemented: one based on a lexicondictionaryandtheotherbasedonconvolutionalneuralnetworks. Findings – Facebook isused byLGOs todisclose environmentalissues,focussing on theirmain interestin obtaining organisational legitimacy, and the analysis shows an increasing impact of Web 2.0 in the direct interaction of LGOs with citizens. On the other hand, there is a clear divergence of interest on environmental topicsbetweenLGOsandcitizensinadialogicaccountabilityframework. Practicalimplications – Sentimentanalysis(SA)couldbeusedbypoliticians,butalsobymanagers/ entrepreneurs in the business sector, to analyse stakeholders’ judgements of their communications/ actions and plans on corporate social responsibility. This tool gives a result on time (i.e. not months or years after, as for the reporting system). It is cheaper than a survey and allows a first “photograph” of stakeholders’ sentiment. It can also be a useful tool for supporting, developing and improving environmentalreporting. Originality/value – To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this paper is one of the first to apply SA to environmentaldisclosureviaSMinthepublicsphere.Thestudylinksmoderntechniquesinnaturallanguage processingandmachinelearningwiththeimportantaspectsofenvironmentalcommunicationbetweenLGOs andcitizens.

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5956-5389


Meditari Accountancy Research, 2020

Autori esterni: Laura Rocca (Department of Economics and Management, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy), Davide Giacomini (The Faculty of Business and Law, The Open University Business School, UK,)
Autori IIT:

Paola Zola

Foto di Paola Zola

Tipo: Contributo in rivista non ISI
Area di disciplina: Information Technology and Communication Systems

File: Meditari_giacominiRocca.pdf

Attività: Social Media Analysis