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The bad, the ugly and the good: new challenges for CSR communication

Wim J.L. Elving (Amsterdam School of Communications Research, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.)
Ursa Golob (Department of Marketing Communication and Public Relations, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia.)
Klement Podnar (Department of Marketing Communication and Public Relations, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia.)
Anne Ellerup - Nielsen (Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.)
Christa Thomson (Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 7 April 2015

Abstract

Purpose

This editorial is an introduction to the special issue on CSR Communication attached to the second CSR Communication Conference held in Aarhus (Denmark) in September 2013. The purpose of this paper is to critically evaluate the role of CSR communication and the development of theory and practice of CSR Communication in recent years.

Design/methodology/approach

The editorial sets up a research agenda for the future, the premises outlined about the role of CSR communication being based on Habermas’ (1984) idea of instrumental/strategic and communicative action.

Findings

The theoretically based research shows that there are different framings of CSR. In the first framing, the business discourse is trying to institutionalize CSR and sustainability by pursuing CSR purely as a business case. In the second framing, alternative CSR discourses are challenging the business discourse, communication being oriented towards shared understanding.

Originality/value

The above findings are original insofar as they have implications for CSR communication scholars and practitioners. It is, for example, important that they acknowledge that two kinds of framings exist, and that they are interdependent. Hence, they should not fall into the trap of a critical discourse of suspicion where CSR communication is constantly criticized as a tool to serve business interests. In the context of strategic and/or communicative action, CSR communication occurs in different forms and for different purposes – either as informative, persuasive, aspirational and participatory type of CSR communication.

Keywords

Citation

Elving, W.J.L., Golob, U., Podnar, K., Ellerup - Nielsen, A. and Thomson, C. (2015), "The bad, the ugly and the good: new challenges for CSR communication", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 118-127. https://doi.org/10.1108/CCIJ-02-2015-0006

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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