Theoretical Foundations of Social Media Power in Hospitality and Tourism: A Hierarchical Model

Fuad Mehraliyev, Youngjoon Choi, Brian King

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


There has been exponential growth in the power exercised by social media in hospitality and tourism. The power of social media platforms as stakeholders has been widely accepted by both academics and industry practitioners. However, to the best of the current authors’ knowledge, there has been no conceptualization of the power attributable to social media. On this basis, it is both timely and necessary to establish theoretical grounds that explain the concept of social media power and its application in hospitality and tourism. A hierarchical model that characterizes social media power is constructed in the present article by bringing together fundamental power discourses, media effect theories, and technology determinism. The authors identify definitions and sources of social media power at different levels of the power pyramid and present various technological mechanisms that trigger such sources. This conceptual study proposes theoretical foundations for future research and theory-building.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCornell Hospitality Quarterly
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • hierarchical model
  • media effects
  • power
  • social media
  • social power theory
  • technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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