Discourse analysis and corporate social responsibility: a qualitative approach

Rodolphe Ocler (Groupe ESC Chambery Savoie, Le Bourget du Lac, France)

Society and Business Review

ISSN: 1746-5680

Publication date: 2 October 2009



The purpose of this paper is to examine how firms build and develop corporate discourse in the field of corporate social responsibility (CRS). The paper has two main objectives: to clarify notions that are used when analyzing discourse; and to provide a qualitative methodology to analyze how the discourse is used to construct a CRS strategy.


The paper presents a qualitative methodology, deconstructing four CRS reports using a story‐telling approach.


The analysis shows that firms construct their environment while marketing the report on social responsibility, in order to make of it an asset in an institutional communication system.

Research limitations/implications

Further attention should be devoted to the specificity of qualitative approach and to discourse analysis (selection of the corpus, validity and triangulation, etc.).


The paper shows how discourse can be used to provide competitive advantage. It also provides a clear framework while using discourse analysis and identifies the major pitfalls that should be avoided when using such a methodology.



Ocler, R. (2009), "Discourse analysis and corporate social responsibility: a qualitative approach", Society and Business Review, Vol. 4 No. 3, pp. 175-186. https://doi.org/10.1108/17465680910994182

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