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Sustainable development and social responsibility (SDSR): A longitudinal study of large Canadian companies’ web-based communication practices

Jacques Baronet (Department of Management, Universite de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Canada)
Solange Tremblay (Département de communication sociale et publique, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Canada)

Journal of Global Responsibility

ISSN: 2041-2568

Article publication date: 11 May 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate large Canadian companies’ communication behaviour about SDSR on their websites, the authors’ goal being to analyse the evolution of what they communicate about those issues on their websites, over a period of eight years.

Design/methodology/approach

A longitudinal content analysis of the top 100 Canadian firms’ web-based communication practices was performed over a period of eight years, between 2006 and 2013. A conceptual method was applied to establish the presence/absence of SDSR concepts and related questions in the communication data available on corporations’ websites.

Findings

Data analysis showed that over this period, an increasing number of firms had: a dedicated section on their website about SDSR, a more accurate definition of SDSR, an enhanced accessibility and an eagerness to improve their information by adding complimentary SDSR documents.

Research limitations/implications

The results in this study are representative of very large and probably resource-rich Canadian firms and may not apply to all types and sizes of companies.

Practical implications

The increasingly positive behaviour of large firms about SDSR communication on their websites demonstrates a continuous interest to enhance their communication positioning about these new values, moreover, shaping a new paradigm with the creation of a new pattern of communication on the web.

Originality/value

The study is one of the very few longitudinal studies of SDSR communication practices by large firms in one Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) country. Given the scope of activities of these companies at the global scale, this study also contributes to provide a first sketch of the communication profile of multinational corporations about their SDSR web practices.

Keywords

Citation

Baronet, J. and Tremblay, S. (2015), "Sustainable development and social responsibility (SDSR): A longitudinal study of large Canadian companies’ web-based communication practices", Journal of Global Responsibility, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 45-64. https://doi.org/10.1108/JGR-07-2014-0027

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited