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Is Emotional Capital Important?

It’s the most important factor in sustainability and true success.

STATEMENT:  The authors (Huy and Shipilov, “The Key to Social Media Success Within Organizations”) argue that the main reason some social media initiatives fail to bring benefits to companies is that the initiatives do not create emotional capital, which they define as a strong emotional connection between stakeholders and the company.

Agreement

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  • Emotional capital is 100% necessary for successful social media initiatives in organizations. To me, it seems incomprehensible that a company would even think it could make internal social media work for them without genuinely caring about its stakeholders. Stakeholders are people with lives, experiences, and emotions, which firms tend to ignore. If a firm doesn’t act in a manner that indicates it cares about its stakeholders, any efforts will feel disingenuous. Unfortunately, some companies even found that implementing new internal social media highlighted its inadequacies (Huy & Shipilov, 2012). 

Why

  • Traditionally, people were taught to keep business and home life separate, but we are finding that it is not the best way to create positive work relationships. This fact may seem obvious to some people but caring about stakeholders and treating them as the humans they are, reaps benefits for society and the firm. This idea goes back to one of my favorite subjects (and one I’ve mentioned previously in my blogs), the Triple Bottom Line, where a firm’s efforts benefit society as well as stakeholders (Miller, 2020). 

Emotional Capital

  • According to the Cambridge Dictionary (2021), emotional capital represents “the feelings and beliefs that help an organization’s employees to form successful relationships with each other, which is good for the organization.” Emotional capital is the earned respect and feelings a company gains from showing their employees they genuinely care about them, and the world! By building relationships with those the firm interacts with, this capital often translates to benefits for all stakeholders and continued sustainability. Essentially, it pays to be nice!

What a novel idea, right? I absolutely love organizational behavior theory, and I would LOVE to work in this discipline. It would be awesome to help companies show their stakeholders they care. The issue lies in the example from Huy and Shipilov (2012) of the unnamed tech company. How do we teach companies to care about stakeholders, who do not genuinely care about their stakeholders or the world? All the social media tactics can’t fix that issue. 

References

Cambridge Dictionary. (2021). Emotional capital. EMOTIONAL CAPITAL | definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary. Retrieved December 5, 2021, from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/emotional-capital.

Huy, Q., & Shipilov, A. (2012). The Key to Social Media Success Within Organizations. MIT Sloan Management Review, 54(1), 73–81. Retrieved December 2, 2021, from https://services.hbsp.harvard.edu/lti/links/content-launch.

Miller, K. (2020, December 8). The triple bottom line: What it is & why it’s important. Business Insights – Blog. Retrieved December 5, 2021, from https://online.hbs.edu/blog/post/what-is-the-triple-bottom-line.

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