Corporate communication during the COVID-19 crisis in a multicultural environment: culture and tweet impact

Document Type


Source of Publication

Electronic Commerce Research

Publication Date



This study aims to explore the variation across corporate crisis communication strategies for companies traded in the Dubai and Abu Dhabi stock exchanges through their use of Twitter during the COVID-19 crisis. We analyze communication activity in light of UAE residents’ cultural dimensions and linguistic attributes. Specifically, we assess the impact of the tweets’ orientation in terms of social versus business COVID-related tweets based on Hofstede’s dimensions of culture (power distance, uncertainty avoidance, collectivism, and masculinity) from one side, and the tweets’ language in terms of Arabic versus English COVID-related tweets from the other side. We find evidence to suggest that the impact of COVID-19 related tweets is significantly higher for social tweets relative to business tweets across all the time periods. As for language, mean retweets are significantly higher for Arabic tweets relative to English tweets. Specifically, Arabic social tweets have a significantly higher retweet impact compared to English social, Arabic business, and English business COVID tweet subgroups, consistent with the high collectivism and high uncertainty avoidance of Arabic-speaking cultures. Based on our findings, companies in highly diverse cultural and linguistic settings are urged to be active in communicating with stakeholders in their own languages, taking into account the cultural environment in which stakeholders participate, and with a focus on an appropriate mix of business and non-business (social) messages during periods of significant exogenous shocks.




Springer Science and Business Media LLC




Corporate communication, COVID-19, Crisis, Crisis communication, Culture, Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, Social media, Twitter

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Indexed in Scopus


Open Access