Unpacking the black box : An investigation of online crisis communication patterns among stakeholders in the NIMBY conflict

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

8 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Article number104098
Journal / PublicationCities
Online published10 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


Conflicts caused by NIMBY facilities pose significant threats to urban harmony and sustainability. Ubiquitous online access undoubtedly exacerbates social tensions, and discerning “who is doing what?” is critical for urban managers during crisis communication. However, communication patterns among online stakeholders in NIMBY conflicts have not been comprehensively investigated. Based on Social-Mediated Crisis Communication theory, this research crawls 66,831 Sina blogs to reveal the evolution of online messages and the interaction patterns of diverse stakeholders. Findings show that stakeholders release messages with different emphases and play different roles. Specifically, government functions as the “leader”, who plays a dominant role in online communication; news organizations function as the “bridge”, receiving and spreading information released by governments to other stakeholders with an efficient transmission function; media practitioners function as the “regulator”, mainly posting rumor management messages to clarify misinformation and alleviate social tensions; and citizen agents function as both “receiver” and “promulgator”, who receive information from other stakeholders and also disseminate opinions to other netizens. These findings can advance the existing knowledge body of NIMBY crisis communication and yield valuable inputs for evidence-based policymaking in conflict management in China and beyond.

Research Area(s)

  • Dynamic network, NIMBY conflicts, Online crisis communication, Social media, Stakeholders