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Firms’ challenges in the pandemic: a complex networks analysis on Twitter


What were Italian firms discussing at the beginning of the pandemic?


Combining the fields of management science and the physics of complex systems in an innovative interdisciplinary study, our new paper (also co-authored by Alessia Patuelli, Fabio Saracco, and Guido Caldarelli) analyzed large Italian firms’ conversations on Twitter during the pandemic.

For this study, published open access on Plos One, we analyzed the accounts of the large Italian firms on Twitter. Based on one million messages and using a methodology inspired by statistical physics, we find that firms’ discussions on Twitter form 13 communities of accounts, with the core of the networks formed by 5 communities, which focus on environmental sustainability, digital transformation, remote working, digitalization and safety.

This highlights that firms’ dialogue on environmental, digital innovation and safety themes was central in Italian large firms’ discussion on Twitter at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our paper is an example of interdisciplinary research where we have integrated research on complex networks methods and management science. We show that firms’ online social media data are a tool to advance management and strategy research, with common narratives naturally emerging from data and highlighting firms’ issues, challenges and responsibilities in a timely way. Being data-driven, pur method allows themes and communities to emerge without a-priori hypotheses to orientate them.


Learn more about our research here, and download the full paper at this link!