Does the Level of Intellectual Capital Affect Meeting the Information Needs of Social Media Users in the Field of Sustainability? The Case of the World’s Largest Energy Industry Companies


  • Łukasz Bryl Poznan University of Economics and Business
  • Justyna Fijałkowska
  • Dominika Hadro



sustainability, disclosure, intellectual capital, social media, Twitter


It is increasingly essential for companies to communicate appropriately about sustainability. In today’s world, with the massive spread of social media’s popularity as a critical communication channel, sustainability is also present in the Internet disclosure practices of many enterprises. It is also presumed that firms’ intellectual capital (IC) plays a vital role in the quality of corporate disclosure. Our paper aims to explore to what extent disclosure practices of firms via social media fulfill the needs of stakeholders for information related to sustainability. We also test how IC impacts this disclosure. We analyze tweets of the world’s largest energy industry companies to assess if this disclosure meets the stakeholders’ expectations regarding sustainability topics. Using a common measure of IC, we also check whether its level determines sustainability disclosure. This study provides several contributions to the literature. The findings may help understand companies’ responsiveness to sustainability information needs. The chief contribution also lies in its focus on how the IC level influences the sustainability disclosure practices via social media. The findings may have implications for organizations in creating and using social media channels when developing a dialogue with stakeholders on topics regarding sustainability. Conclusions also provide new insight on IC’s importance in corporate disclosure practices on sustainability.