Communicating CSR via pharmaceutical company web sites

Morgan Sones (University of Hartford, West Hartford, Connecticut, USA)
Susan Grantham (University of Hartford, West Hartford, Connecticut, USA)
Edward T. Vieira (Simmons College, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Publication date: 8 May 2009



The purpose of this paper is to discover what corporate social responsibility (CSR) message themes are being communicated in selective pharmaceutical companies' mission and core values statements and their relevance to internal and external audiences.


A content analysis of five pharmaceutical companies mission and value statement web pages are analyzed. A panel developed a list of key words that are then analyzed and assigned to a level of Lerbinger's pyramid of CSR schema in order to determine if the web site is primarily communicating with internal or external stakeholders.


Keywords communicating the organizations' mission focus on activities that support societal issues relevant to external stakeholders. Keywords communicating the organizations' values support minimizing social costs including employee safety and therefore are of more interest and importance to internal stakeholders. The analysis indicates that the content provided by these five pharmaceutical companies use message frames within specific sections of the web site to communicate with both internal and external stakeholders.


There has been much emphasis on the need for, and benefit of communicating an organization's CSR strategies to stakeholders. This paper evaluates what CSR initiatives are being communicated on pharmaceutical companies' web sites. The results show a strong propensity to communicate with both external and internal stakeholders indicating that some organizations are messaging to both groups.



Sones, M., Grantham, S. and Vieira, E. (2009), "Communicating CSR via pharmaceutical company web sites", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 144-157.

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