We all know positivity begets positivity; but does negativity beget positivity? With a recent study conducted by Rohit Aggarwal, a business professor at the University of Utah, this can actually be true.
Businesses nowadays have turned largely to blogging by employees to advertise and promote their products and services. Any type of negative comment or feedback would greatly stain a company’s hard sought exposure and reputation. But, according to Aggarwal’s study, negative blog posts can also have a positive impact on businesses by increasing the readership of an employee’s particular blog.
This type of approach has companies in a mixed response; some agree but a good chunk of whom disagree since they are still skeptical on this rather new media losing control. But, in the results of Aggarwal’s study, negative posts can increase the readership by acting as a catalyst. Since employees write a rather large amount of positive blogs and only a small amount of negative blogs, the disparity of the amount offsets the negative effect of the few negative blogs, thus promoting readership of that particular employee blog and encouraging openness and honesty among employees. This can also reflect the integrity and authenticity of the company’s products or services.
Also according to the study, there is only an optimal percentage for the number of negative blog posts, which is 15 to 20 percent. A higher rate than this would result in a reverse of that favorable reaction from the readers.
The main reason behind this study is to be able to open the minds of company holders regarding employees’ more freedom to express and more freedom to write. This employee freedom could, in turn, act as signals for such situations that when the negative employee comments are higher than the positive comments, unrest could be brewing among employees. The companies would be able to act properly to settle these disputes proactively. However, when the positive employee comments are higher than the negative comments, companies would be able to know that they are doing well and are on the right track for these employees to give such high positive feedback.
Since the creation of blogging and with its amazing growth, many companies already went to great lengths to prevent any of their employees from saying negative things about their respective companies. Many of these companies even have policies not allowing an employee to blog negative comments or preventing an employee to even blog anything about the company at all.
This type of conventional wisdom could be changed with Aggarwal’s study. Yes, it may seem counterintuitive, but when we talk about employee blogs, sometimes the best posts are those that contain moderate negativity and criticism of their own products, services, and corporate policies.