Internal

Social Media Disclosures: A study of corporate use of Twitter

This project will investigate the use of social media for corporate communications of financial information by the FTSE 100 companies.

Department: None

Supervised by: Dr Jessica Yang

The Placement Project

The proliferation of social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, provides companies with a fast and efficient means for disseminating information to investors and interested stakeholders. The FTSE 100 companies have been increasingly implementing social media for marketing, advertising, recruitment and overall communications with stakeholders. However there is little research on how companies use social media to communicate financial information to investors. This project focuses on the analysis of jointly constituted form and content of corporate financial disclosures through Twitter. Different from traditional disclosures outlets (e.g. annual reports, conference calls, press releases, etc.), Twitter allows companies to tweet short messages (140-character restriction) to a known number of followers. The higher level of transparency and interactivity makes it an effective tool for financial reporting issuers. The sample of this research will consist of all companies with verified Twitter accounts included in FTSE 100 index as of December 2014. A dataset will be constructed by using third quarter of 2014 through the second quarter of 2015. The data will be collected from each company’s Twitter site and analysed by SPSS. The findings will be used to examine how and why companies adopt a social media platform for financial disclosures and the determinants of the disclosure form and content. The student will work with PI and a PhD research team to continue a current research on social media disclosures.

Tasks

The student will be involved in the following tasks: Week 1: Induction and a small literature review on corporate financial disclosures in social media; Week 2-4: Data collection including visit of sample companies’ websites to look for their official Twitter sites and manual search for corporate financial disclosures e.g. earnings announcement, financial news, etc., and data input into Excel (supported by PI and PhDs); Week 5-6: Data analysis and writing up results.

Skills, knowledge and experience required

Interest in social media (Essential); Familiarity with corporate financial reporting (Essential); Experience of handling and analysing data in Excel (Essential); Knowledge of statistical approaches such as correlations, t-tests etc. for business research (Desirable); Prior knowledge of accounting and finance research (Desirable).

Skills which will be developed during the placement

Students will have the opportunities to: (1) develop business awareness associated with corporate financial disclosures environment; (2) understand how to conduct literature review; (3) enhance data searching and statistical data analysis skills; (4) work as part of a team; (5) develop academic writing skills.

Place of Work

BISA PhD room, Henley Business School, University of Reading

Hours of Work

9am-5pm, Monday-Friday; 35 hours per week

Approximate Start and End Dates (not fixed)

Monday 22 June 2015 - Friday 31 July 2015

How to Apply

Contact Dr Jessica Yang, j.h.yang@henley.ac.uk, for initial discussion. Apply by submitting a CV with covering letter by 20th March. Selected applicants will be invited for an interview.


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