University of Oulu

Saari, M., Haapanen, L. and Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, P. (2022), "Social media and international business: views and conceptual framing", International Marketing Review, Vol. 39 No. 7, pp. 25-45.

Social media and international business : views and conceptual framing

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Author: Saari, Matti1; Haapanen, Lauri2; Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, Pia3
Organizations: 1School of Marketing and Communication, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland
2Department of Marketing, Management and International Business, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Department of Marketing, Management and International Business, Oulu Business School, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Emerald, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-11-07


Purpose: The objective of this paper is to increase understanding of social media in international business context. To this end, the authors make an attempt to integrate the existing, still somewhat limited views in a framework that advances the knowledge of scholars and decision-makers on this topic.

Design/methodology/approach: The authors conduct a conceptual study supported by use of a systematic literature review method.

Findings: This study shows marketing as a dominant area of discussion and reveals that many firm functions where social media plays a role have received relatively little attention. Furthermore, the study shows that the positive features of social media in international activity tend to be more widely acknowledged and better understood than the potentially problematic aspects.

Research limitations/implications: The number of articles analyzed in this study was relatively small, resonating with the nature of an emerging research area. Research on social media has only taken off over the last years, and it is understandable that there is limited research that connects it specifically to phenomena of international business.

Practical implications: This study reminds managers to be cautious when using social media in international markets. The relationship between social media and international business exhibits dynamism and is dependent on a variety of factors. Social media does not come without costs, nor is easily transferred from one market to another. Efficient use of this media in the international context may increase the need of specific and qualified human resources, and it may necessitate having the whole process from R&D to delivery, and beyond, ready for adaptation.

Originality/value: It can be argued that we know too little about the relevant factors and relationships between social media and international business. The authors hope that this study revealing the scarcely studied aspects and suggesting a tentative framework for capturing the dynamics of social media and international business can guide subsequent research and accelerate its emergence.

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Series: International marketing review
ISSN: 0265-1335
ISSN-E: 1758-6763
ISSN-L: 0265-1335
Volume: 39
Issue: 7
Pages: 25 - 45
DOI: 10.1108/imr-06-2021-0191
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
Copyright information: © 2022, Matti Saari, Lauri Haapanen and Pia Hurmelinna-Laukkanen. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at