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Classifying online corporate reputation with machine learning: a study in the banking domain

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Purpose

User-generated social media comments can be a useful source of information for understanding online corporate reputation. However, the manual classification of these comments is challenging due to their high volume and unstructured nature. The purpose of this paper is to develop a classification framework and machine learning model to overcome these limitations.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors create a multi-dimensional classification framework for the online corporate reputation that includes six main dimensions synthesized from prior literature: quality, reliability, responsibility, successfulness, pleasantness and innovativeness. To evaluate the classification framework’s performance on real data, the authors retrieve 19,991 social media comments about two Finnish banks and use a convolutional neural network (CNN) to classify automatically the comments based on manually annotated training data.

Findings

After parameter optimization, the neural network achieves an accuracy between 52.7 and 65.2 percent on real-world data, which is reasonable given the high number of classes. The findings also indicate that prior work has not captured all the facets of online corporate reputation.

Practical implications

For practical purposes, the authors provide a comprehensive classification framework for online corporate reputation, which companies and organizations operating in various domains can use. Moreover, the authors demonstrate that using a limited amount of training data can yield a satisfactory multiclass classifier when using CNN.

Originality/value

This is the first attempt at automatically classifying online corporate reputation using an online-specific classification framework.
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Keywords: Banking industry; Machine learning; Neural networks; Online corporate reputation; Social media

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Turku School of Economics, Turku, Finland 2: Qatar Computing Research Institute, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Doha, Qatar 3: University of Turku, Turku, Finland

Publication date: February 23, 2020

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