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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2017

Robert L. Heath and Damion Waymer

The purpose of this paper is to explore the proposition that organizational policies and actions gain more legitimacy when they proactively improve (rather than reactively…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the proposition that organizational policies and actions gain more legitimacy when they proactively improve (rather than reactively defend) their corporate social responsibility (CSR) standing by meeting challenges discursively mounted by competitors, watchdog activists, and governmental officials.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews literature, including social capital, to consider CSR as both a reactionary and proactionary construct that guides how organizations defend and publicize their corporate social performance (CSP). The paper examines four premises relevant to the discursive (contentious and collaborative) approach to formulating and implementing CSR norms. The case of fracking (hydraulic fracturing) in the USA provides text for exploring these premises, especially the advantages of a proactionary strategy.

Findings

This paper concludes that CSR expectations of industry performance rest on threshold legitimacy standards that not only withstand but also are improved by discursive challenge.

Research limitations/implications

The case study offers limited support for the findings; more cases need to be examined to determine whether the findings are robust.

Practical implications

This paper, based on theory and research, proposes a strategic management and communication approach to social responsibility based on proaction.

Social implications

CSR communication is most constructive to a fully functioning social that generates social capital by proactive engagement rather than reactive challenges of stakeholder CSR expectations.

Originality/value

Discussion of CSR and CSP as employing profit for the good of society, based on discussions of legitimacy and social capital, strengthens CSR as strategic management and communication options. Such research clarifies how evaluative expectations of CSR are a legitimacy threshold as well as basis for reputational enhancement.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

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Article
Publication date: 25 January 2019

Robert L. Heath and Damion Waymer

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the proactive role elite organizations play within-network corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance by determining…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the proactive role elite organizations play within-network corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance by determining whether organizations can be identified that serve as aspirational CSR role models. The assumption is that elite CSR performance inspires and challenges other in-network actors to raise their standards in order to be legitimate, and resource rewardable.

Design/methodology/approach

Three cases are discussed to exemplify elite CSR: historical: recognizing the value of embracing a trend in improved standards of meatpacking, Armour Meatpacking campaigned for sanitary meatpacking and implemented strategic change; global energy: Chevron Corporation conducts “business in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, respecting the law and universal human rights to benefit the communities where we work”; and non-profit: “Elite” universities’ CSR standards attract bright faculty and students and build beneficial relationships with industry, government and peers.

Findings

Elite institutions raise CSR standards by using issue trends to guide strategic change that can performatively demonstrate the societal value of proactive leadership that elevates standards and increases the reward value to communities and organizations that is achieved by adopting higher standards.

Research limitations/implications

Through micro-politics that increase CSR social productivity, elite CSR standards earn rewards for exemplary organizations and subsequently raise standards for in-network organizations to, in turn, achieve the license to operate.

Practical implications

Discussions of CSR should consider the influences that establish CSR standards. To that end, this paper offers the explanatory power of a micro-political, societal productivity approach to CSR based on the pragmatic/moral resource dependency paradigm.

Social implications

The paper reasons that higher CSR standards result when NGO stakeholder critics and/or government agencies exert micro-political pressure. In response to such pressure, elite organizations, those that are or can meet those higher CSR standards, proactively demonstrate how higher CSR standards can accrue resources that benefit them and society. Elite CSR performance challenges other in-network actors to raise standards in order to be legitimate, that is resource rewardable.

Originality/value

Because elite organizations understand the reward advantage of higher levels of CSR, they proactively elevate the discuss of standards and advantages for achieving them, and penalties for falling short.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

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Abstract

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2003

Richard Alan Nelson

The use of persuasive mass communication techniques by public relations and advertising practitioners, rather than abating in influence as early theorists hoped because of…

Abstract

The use of persuasive mass communication techniques by public relations and advertising practitioners, rather than abating in influence as early theorists hoped because of more widespread education, is an increasing component of both private and government communication. In an information environment, persuasion serves a public interest when it assists social utility, but there has been no “macro‐ethical” consistency by practitioners. Indeed, today's global business environment demands an ethically conscious corporate attitude since various publics expect business organizations to take on a greater role in solving community problems—they want to see corporations be ethical in word and act. However, the lack of a single common framework for deciding what is ethical and what is not thus ultimately influences the outcome of public policymaking and the reputation of public relations. This article argues that business ethics matter for the bottom line, with ethical practice and openness in communication the keys to survival in the 21st century. Amoral leadership, exemplified by situational management theories, is outdated (and worse, increasingly ineffective). Change, however, also requires action and a willingness to be open to communication to many constituencies and cultures. Old internal divisions in firms also must be dissolved, with more flexible structures and communications interplay encouraged. Experienced international public relations practitioners must be part of this change.

Details

Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1059-5422

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Article
Publication date: 31 December 2002

Tony Jaques

Most issue management practitioners and scholars accept that issue management has progressed substantially over 25 years, from primarily a reactive crisis prevention tool…

Abstract

Most issue management practitioners and scholars accept that issue management has progressed substantially over 25 years, from primarily a reactive crisis prevention tool to a maturing strategic management discipline. But the terminology used within issue management to define the different management positions has not kept pace with that evolution. In fact some of the language used heavily influences responses to issues and limits the apparent framework of choice. This paper reviews some past efforts to develop appropriate terminology and proposes an alternative lexicon.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 26 November 2020

Abstract

Details

Joy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-240-6

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Article
Publication date: 11 July 2019

Betteke Van Ruler

The purpose of this paper is to analyze what the concept of agility means for communication evaluation and measurement and to challenge assumptions of goal-oriented and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze what the concept of agility means for communication evaluation and measurement and to challenge assumptions of goal-oriented and organization-centric approaches to evaluation and measurement.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is a development debate based on a literature review, regarding agility, evaluation theory, communication evaluation approaches and what agility means for communication measurement.

Findings

Agility teaches that what works is more important than what was agreed upon in advance, so it is with more emphasis on needs rather than objectives. Regarding evaluation, the findings show that in today’s communication evaluation theory, evaluation is equated with summative evaluation of smart designed and fixed objectives. In agility, evaluation is always formative, to foster development and improvement within an ongoing activity. Consequently smart objectives are no longer valid as fixed benchmarks and ex ante and ex post evaluations do not exist; instead evaluation is an on-going and forward looking activity during action. Regarding measurement, the basic focus in agility on user needs implies that qualitative methods are more obvious than quantitative. The classic Weberian idea of “Verstehen” is helpful to understand how to focus on needs rather than objectives. This paper finally explores the merits of action research and sense-making methodology as applicable measurements in which “Verstehen” is the basis.

Research limitations/implications

Agility is a very radical concept. The practical and theoretical implications of agile evaluation and measurement mean a total change for practice as well as for communication measurement and evaluation theory building.

Originality/value

The value of this paper is that it is the first to include agility into communication evaluation and measurement and that it, consequently, moves beyond organization-centric concepts of evaluation and measurement by bringing the often overlooked user needs into the game.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

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Book part
Publication date: 20 August 1996

Abstract

Details

The Peace Dividend
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-44482-482-0

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1954

Aarhus Kommunes Biblioteker (Teknisk Bibliotek), Ingerslevs Plads 7, Aarhus, Denmark. Representative: V. NEDERGAARD PEDERSEN (Librarian).

Abstract

Aarhus Kommunes Biblioteker (Teknisk Bibliotek), Ingerslevs Plads 7, Aarhus, Denmark. Representative: V. NEDERGAARD PEDERSEN (Librarian).

Details

Aslib Proceedings, vol. 6 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0001-253X

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Article
Publication date: 31 December 2001

Andrej Skerlep

The paper criticises the dominant paradigm of public relations theory for lack of interest in discursive and rhetorical dimensions of public relations. An alternative…

Abstract

The paper criticises the dominant paradigm of public relations theory for lack of interest in discursive and rhetorical dimensions of public relations. An alternative theoretical approach to public relations is identified that does treat discursive and rhetorical dimensions of public relations, but it is indicated that at present it has not been sufficiently integrated into dominant public relations theory. The paper explores the points of convergence between rhetoric and public relations. The narrow and broad conceptions of rhetoric are presented, the first characterising rhetoric with persuasive and argumentative discourse, the second with different types of discourse. It is suggested that elements of the broad conception of rhetoric could provide heuristics for analysing public relations techniques as “genre repertoire” of public relations discourse. In the second part, an enquiry into the narrow conception of rhetoric as persuasive and argumentative discourse is made. Positivistic understanding of “truth” and “objectivity” as normative criteria of public relations discourse is criticised on the basis of the so‐called “rhetoric as epistemic” view. It is argued that in corporate discourse, especially in situations of confrontation with active publics, key managerial decisions have to be justified in argumentation. In the last part of the paper, Toulmin’s model of argumentation is suggested as especially suitable for analysis of the argumentative nature of corporate discourse.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

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