An ongoing public relations (PR) crisis resulted from the behavior of Mylan, a pharmaceutical company, regarding its well-known antianaphylaxis product, the EpiPen. Mylan’s mishandling of the EpiPen controversy widened its legitimacy gap among external stakeholder groups – as well as among its employees. Its actions conflicted with the values expressed by its corporate social responsibility (CSR) rhetoric and jeopardized stakeholders’ commitment, loyalty, and productivity. In this chapter, I argue that #EpiGate renders Mylan unable to activate the type of collective identity orientation needed among employees during a legitimacy controversy. Employing identification and storytelling as critical lenses, rhetorical analysis of Mylan’s CSR documents suggests how its contradictory messages compounded its legitimacy gap among employees. Mylan’s inability to address rising CSR expectations among employees involves both human resources (HR) and PR practitioners. Suggestions for how these functions should work together to better shore up expression of CSR values with employee expectations are provided.
Stokes, A. (2017), "Failure to Activate: EpiPen, Legitimacy Challenges, and the Importance of Employee CSR", Pompper, D. (Ed.) Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability, and Ethical Public Relations (The Changing Context of Managing People), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 243-269. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78714-585-620181010Download as .RIS
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