Examining the adverse impact of social media: development of a theoretical model using conspiracy theory from socio-legal perspective

Sheshadri Chatterjee, Demetris Vrontis, Zahid Hussain, Gianpaolo Basile, Rosario Bianco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to develop a model for investigating the sharing of harmful messages by employees using social media using the conspiracy theory from a socio-legal perspective. This study also examines the moderating role of different demographic parameters such as age, gender and education toward sharing harmful messages using social media. Design/methodology/approach: Using the conspiracy theory and social impact theory as the foundation of this study, the authors developed theoretical model and validated it using the structural equation modeling technique with 342 participants from various organizations across Europe and Asia. The study also used different statistical measures to understand the demographic impacts toward sharing harmful messages. Findings: It was found that epistemic, existential and social motives significantly and positively influence employees’ inappropriate message-sharing and seeking behavior, which in turn influences them to share harmful messages on social media. The study also indicates that there are some moderating impacts of employee demography toward sharing harmful messages using social media platforms. Research limitations/implications: This study investigates the antecedents of sharing harmful messages using social media by employees. The present study could be useful for the organizations leaders as well as policymakers and legal fraternity. The study uses a limited number of feedback to validate the model. Also, this is a cross-sectional study which is another limitation of this study. Originality/value: This study has proposed and validated a theoretical model by using the conspiracy theory as well as the social impact theory which is unique. Moreover, this study adds value to the existing literature on the harmful impacts of social media and its societal impacts. Besides, the validated model of this study has a high explanatory power which is another uniqueness of this study.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Law and Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Conspiracy theory
  • Epistemic and social motives
  • Harmful messages
  • Social media
  • Socio-legal


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