Understanding Social Business

  • Ravi Vatrapu


“Social business” refers to the utilization of online social channels to conduct business. This chapter situates the notion of social business in the relevant macro trends in technology, business, and society and discusses the three critical aspects of social business: social business engagement, social media analytics, and social media management. Social media engagement concerns the organization’s strategic use of social media channels to interact with its internal and external stakeholders for purposes ranging from knowledge management to corporate social responsibility and marketing. Social media analytics refers to the collection, storage, analysis, and reporting of social data emanating from the social media engagement of and social media conversations about the organization. Social media management focusses on the operational issues, managerial challenges, and comparative advantages with respect to the emerging paradigm of social business. This chapter concludes with a proposal for a large-scale collaborative research project on socially connected organizations and articulates a set of research questions, anticipated scientific advancements, and societal benefits.


Corporate Social Responsibility Social Media Social Data Civil Society Actor Digital Artefact 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Thanks to Bonnie Nardi, Anne Vestergaard Jørgensen, Daniel Hardt, Matthias Trier, Asle Fagerstrøm, and Ulf-Dietrich Reips for comments and edits on the Socially Connected Organizations research grant proposal submitted recently to the Danish Strategic Research Council. This chapter is supported by the “First International Workshop on Social Media Analytics (IWSMA 2012)” grant to the author under the 3rd International Networking Programme of the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation. Any opinions, findings, interpretations, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this chapter are those of its author and do not represent the views of the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation.


  1. Bagozzi RP (1975) Marketing as exchange. J Market 39(4):32–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bimber B (1998) The internet and political transformation: populism, community, and accelerated pluralism. Polity 31(1):133–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Burns T, Stalker GM (2009) The management of innovation. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship: Available at SSRN:
  4. Carr N (2004) Does IT matter? Harvard Business School Press, BostonGoogle Scholar
  5. Cohen WM, Levinthal DA (1990) Absorptive capacity: a new perspective on learning and innovation. Adm Sci Q 35:128–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dyer JH, Singh H (1998) The relational view: cooperative strategy and sources of interorganizational competitive advantage. Acad Manage Rev 23:660–679Google Scholar
  7. Foucault M (1977) Discipline and punish: the birth of the prison (trans: Sheridan A). Vintage, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  8. Friedman M (2007) The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. In Zimmerli WC, Holzinger M, Richter K (eds) Corporate ethics and corporate governance. Springer, Heidelberg, pp 173–178Google Scholar
  9. Gassmann O, Enkel E, Chesbrough H (2010) The future of open innovation. R&d Manage 40(3):213–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Grönroos C (1991) The marketing strategy continuum: towards a marketing concept for the 1990s. Manage Decis 29(1)Google Scholar
  11. Harrison JS, Freeman RE (1999) Stakeholders, social responsibility, and performance: empirical evidence and theoretical perspectives. Acad Manage J 42(5):479–485CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Haugtvedt C, Machleit K, Yalch R (2005) Online consumer psychology: understanding and influencing consumer behavior in the virtual world. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, MahwahGoogle Scholar
  13. Kaplan RS, Norton DP (1992) The balanced scorecard–measures that drive performance. Harv Bus Rev 70(1):71–79Google Scholar
  14. Kotler P, Levy SJ (1969) Broadening the concept of marketing. J Market 33:10–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kozinets RV, Hemetsberger A, Schau HJ (2008) The wisdom of consumer crowds. J Macromarket 28(4):339–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Li H, Leckenby J (2007) Examining the effectiveness of internet advertising formats. In: Schumann D, Thorson E (eds) Internet advertising: theory and research. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, MahwahGoogle Scholar
  17. Lindqvist U, Bjørn-Andersen N, Kaldalóns ÖS, Krokan A, Persson C (2008) New business forms in e-business and media,‘e-media’. Final report of the NICe project 06212. VTT working papers:
  18. Lovett J (2011) Social media metrics secrets. Wiley, IndianapolisGoogle Scholar
  19. McAfee A (2009) Enterprise 2.0: new collaborative tools for your organization’s toughest ­challenges. Harvard Business School Press, BostonGoogle Scholar
  20. Miles RE, Snow CC, Meyer AD, Coleman HJ Jr (1978) Organizational strategy, structure, and process. Acad Manage Rev 3:546–562Google Scholar
  21. Montalvo RE (2011) Social media management. Int J Manage Inf Syst (IJMIS) 15(3):91–96Google Scholar
  22. Robertson S, Vatrapu R, Medina R (2010) Online video “friends” social networking: overlapping online public spheres in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. J Info Technol Politics 7(2):182–201Google Scholar
  23. Robertson S, Vatrapu R, Medina R (2010) Off the wall political discourse: facebook use in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Inf Polit 15(1,2):11–31Google Scholar
  24. Schumann D, Thorson E (2007) Internet advertising: theory and research. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, MahwahGoogle Scholar
  25. Sponder M (2011) Social media analytics: effective tools for building, intrepreting, and using metrics. McGraw-Hill Professional, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  26. Suthers D, Dwyer N, Medina R, Vatrapu R (2010) A framework for conceptualizing, representing and analyzing distributed mediated interaction. Int J Comput Support Collab Learn 5(1):5–42Google Scholar
  27. Tapscott D, Williams AD, Herman D (2007) Government 2.0: transforming government and governance for the twenty-first century. New paradigm’s government 2.0: wikinomics, government and democracy program. Avaiable at
  28. Vatrapu R (2010) Explaining culture: an outline of a theory of socio-technical interactions. In: Proceedings of the 3rd ACM international conference on intercultural collaboration (ICIC 2010), pp 111–120, Copenhagen, DenmarkGoogle Scholar
  29. Vatrapu R, Robertson S, Dissanayake W (2008) Are political weblogs public spheres or partisan spheres? Int Rep Socio Inf 5(1):7–26Google Scholar
  30. Vollmer C, Precourt G (2008) Always on: advertising, marketing and media in an era of consumer control. McGraw-Hill Professional, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  31. Wollan R, Smith N, Zhou C (2011) The social media management handbook: everything you need to know to get social media working in your business. Wiley, HobokenGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer India 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Computational Social Science Laboratory (CSSL), Department of IT ManagementCopenhagen Business SchoolCopenhagenDenmark

Personalised recommendations