Determining the Engagement Motivations behind Slacktivism

Ozbas H., ÖZATA F. Z.

32nd Conference of the International-Business-Information-Management-Association (IBIMA), Sevilla, Spain, 15 - 16 November 2018, pp.4347 identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • City: Sevilla
  • Country: Spain
  • Page Numbers: pp.4347
  • Keywords: Slacktivism, Digital Activism, Slacktivist Motivations
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: Yes


Slacktivism, which is a portmanteau of the words of "slacker" and "activism", is a term that refers to the activism performed via Internet with little or no effort such as signing an online petition, liking or sharing a content, changing the profile photo or status on social media etc. Those who criticize slacktivism argue that this is a "feel good" behavior of the participants and because of low commitment and engagement these campaigns fail to produce tangible effects. On the other hand, there are so many cases (online social campaigns) that managed to raise awareness or create change. Also it is not possible to think of the activism of the 21st century apart from the Internet and social media. Thus slacktivists who mediate the spread of social campaigns became important actors for social marketing. Also understanding the slacktivist motivation and behavior is getting more attention in the literature. So the aim of this research is to determine the engagement motivations behind slacktivism. To understand the phenomenon better we have conducted a qualitative research and interviewed with ten participants (six man and four woman). We identified seven different motivations; self-presentation (or impression management), moral identity, social identity, perception of injustice, collective efficacy, issue involvement (or consciousness) and inform-inspire and prompt an action. In the second phase we have conducted an online survey, in order to determine the engagement motivations behind slacktivism in a larger sample. After the pilot study, the survey was conducted between April-August 2018. We found that social identity, moral identity, issue involvement and inform/inspire/prompt action motives are significant predictors of slacktivist behaviors. On the other hand, we also found that social identity, moral identity, non-affective injustice, collective efficacy, and inform/inspire/prompt action motives differentiates the degree of slacktivist/activist behaviors of the respondents. Contrary to the literature we couldn't find self-presentation or impression management as a significant predictor of slacktivism but this may be due to the survey method as participants also continue to manage their impressions.