Social media as communication channel in emerging economies: a closer look at cultural implications

Bolanle A. Olaniran

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, to explore the intricacies of culture along with the complex contextual factors that affect the selection, implementation and use of social media as an organizational communication channel in emerging markets. Second, by using Hofstede’s dimension of cultural variability as a framework, the paper identifies different variables that impact usage and adoption of social media in emerging markets. Design/methodology/approach: A review of literature was employed for this study to glean different factors that influence social media use in less economically developed countries and emerging markets. The selected literature consisted of the following keyword phrases “social media” and “emerging markets.” The term “culture” was used to narrow the scope of the analysis. Findings: The analysis provides insights about how elements such as context, culture, communication preference, trust, gender and literacy affect social media use of individuals within organizations and merchants operating in emerging markets. The paper, in particular suggests that all social media campaigns contain important cultural considerations for potential users who will interact with the social networks in emerging markets. Research limitations/implications: The review of literature may not have been all inclusive. Hence, certain relevant studies may have been excluded based their lack of selected keywords. Furthermore, currently there are not enough published studies in social media usage and emerging markets to fully explore the topic. Therefore, a call for more empirical research utilizing mixed method approach will provide a more comprehensive analysis. Practical implications: The paper includes implications for the development of technological and cultural fit in the diffusion of social media technologies in an attempt to achieve desired results in emerging markets. Originality/value: This paper identifies the need for clarity or understanding of culture when crossing cultural boundaries in particular West vs East through the use of new and social media within emerging markets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-145
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Advances in Management Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 10 2018


  • Buyer-seller relationships
  • Culture
  • Ease of use
  • Emerging markets
  • Social media
  • Social networking sites
  • Trust


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