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A shift in corporate prioritization of CSR issues

Katherine Taken Smith (Department of Management and Marketing, College of Business, Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi, Texas, USA)
Yu-Shan (Sandy) Huang (Department of Management and Marketing, College of Business, Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi, Texas, USA)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 16 August 2022

Issue publication date: 3 January 2023

76

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is two-fold: (1) identify shifts in prioritization of corporate social responsibility (CSR) issues and (2) identify the CSR issues in which companies are currently involved, as indicated in their website communications. Corporate communications are also examined for possible variations of CSR focus between manufacturers, retailers and service firms.

Design/methodology/approach

In order to identify the CSR issues in which companies are currently involved and detect any shifts, a content analysis was conducted of the 2021 Fortune 100 company websites, specifically cataloging CSR communications. This data was compared with CSR communications on Fortune 100 company websites in 2015. CSR issues are also examined within each industry categorization: manufacturing, retail and service.

Findings

Findings indicate that companies have reduced the number of CSR issues prioritized in their website communications. In 2015, companies gave prominence to an average of seven CSR issues on their websites, today the average is three CSR issues. Today, the CSR issues prioritized most commonly are diversity and sustainability. However, these issues are prioritized by only half of the companies. Previously, the vast majority of Fortune 100 companies prioritized the same top issues. That is not the case today. This shift may suggest that companies are narrowing their focus to fewer CSR issues, perhaps those that align with company goals.

Originality/value

This study provides information to keep company executives and academicians abreast of prominent CSR issues and terminology found in the marketplace. As executives make choices about committing resources to social issues, knowledge of what the Fortune 100 is doing can help in that decision-making process.

Keywords

Citation

Smith, K.T. and Huang, Y.-S.(S). (2023), "A shift in corporate prioritization of CSR issues", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 68-85. https://doi.org/10.1108/CCIJ-12-2021-0139

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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