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  1. A Dynamic Review of the Emergence of Corporate Social Responsibility Communication.Nataša Verk, Urša Golob & Klement Podnar - 2019 - Journal of Business Ethics 168 (3):491-515.
    Recent reviews show a rapid increase in the corporate social responsibility communication literature. However, while mapping the literature and the field of CSR communication, they do not fully capture the evolutionary character of this emerging interdisciplinary endeavour. This paper seeks to fill this gap by presenting a follow-up study of the CSR communication literature from a dynamic perspective, which focuses on micro-discursive changes in the field. A bibliometric approach and frame theory are used to examine continuities in the development of (...)
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  • Collectively Designing CSR Through Meta-Organizations: A Case Study of the Oil and Gas Industry.Hervé Dumez, Marcelo Bucheli & Heloïse Berkowitz - 2017 - Journal of Business Ethics 143 (4):753-769.
    Few industries have been pressured to develop corporate social responsibility standards and policies like oil and gas. This has translated into the creation of non-governmental organizations and branches of the oil and gas firms focused on CSR. However, given the intrinsic complex characteristics of this industry, its global reach, and the fact that its operations affect and involve a wide variety of stakeholders, CSR issues cannot be defined and implemented exclusively at the industry or firm levels, but require the participation (...)
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  • A Moral Pluralist Perspective on Corporate Social Responsibility: From Good to Controversial Practices. [REVIEW]Marian Eabrasu - 2012 - Journal of Business Ethics 110 (4):429-439.
    This study starts from the observation that there are relatively few controversial issues in corporate social responsibility (CSR). Given its strong normative background, CSR is rather an atypical discipline, especially in comparison with moral philosophy or applied ethics. Exploring the mainstream CSR agenda, this situation was echoed by widespread consensus on what was considered to be "good practice": reducing pollution, shutting down sweatshops, discouraging tax evasion, and so on. However, interpretation of these issues through the lens of moral pluralism unveils (...)
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  • Executive Pay and Legitimacy: Changing Discursive Battles Over the Morality of Excessive Manager Compensation. [REVIEW]Maria Joutsenvirta - 2013 - Journal of Business Ethics 116 (3):459-477.
    How is the (il)legitimacy of manager compensation constructed in social interaction? This study investigated discursive processes through which heavily contested executive pay schemes of the Finnish energy giant Fortum were constructed as (il)legitimate in public during 2005–2009. The critical discursive analysis of media texts identified five legitimation strategies through which politicians, journalists, and other social actors contested these schemes and, at the same time, constructed subject positions for managers, politicians, and citizens. The comparison of two debate periods surrounding the 2007–2008 (...)
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  • Greening Remote SMEs: The Case of Small Regional Airports.Olivier Boiral, Mehran Ebrahimi, Kerstin Kuyken & David Talbot - 2019 - Journal of Business Ethics 154 (3):813-827.
    The objective of this paper is to explore, through a qualitative study of small regional airports, how sustainability issues are taken into account in remote small- and medium-sized enterprises. Based on 42 semi-structured interviews conducted with managers of small regional Canadian airports and experts in this area, this study shows the quasi-absence of specific measures for sustainability, despite the seriousness of environmental issues, which tend to be subordinated to economic priorities and operational activities. The paper contributes to the literature on (...)
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  • Drilling Their Own Graves: How the European Oil and Gas Supermajors Avoid Sustainability Tensions Through Mythmaking.George Ferns, Kenneth Amaeshi & Aliette Lambert - 2019 - Journal of Business Ethics 158 (1):201-231.
    This study explores how paradoxical tensions between economic growth and environmental protection are avoided through organizational mythmaking. By examining the European oil and gas supermajors’ “CEO-speak” about climate change, we show how mythmaking facilitates the disregarding, diverting, and/or displacing of sustainability tensions. In doing so, our findings further illustrate how certain defensive responses are employed: regression, or retreating to the comforts of past familiarities, fantasy, or escaping the harsh reality that fossil fuels and climate change are indeed irreconcilable, and projecting, (...)
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  • The Legitimacy of CSR Actions of Publicly Traded Companies Versus Family-Owned Companies.Rajat Panwar, Karen Paul, Erlend Nybakk, Eric Hansen & Derek Thompson - 2014 - Journal of Business Ethics 125 (3):1-16.
    Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is one of the ways through which companies gain legitimacy. However, CSR actions themselves are subject to public skepticism because of increased public awareness of greenwashing and scandalous corporate behavior. Legitimacy of CSR actions is indeed influenced by the actions of the company but also is rooted in the basic cultural values of a society and in the ideologies of evaluators. This study examines the legitimacy of CSR actions of publicly traded forest products companies as compared (...)
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  • The Harm of Symbolic Actions and Green-Washing: Corporate Actions and Communications on Environmental Performance and Their Financial Implications. [REVIEW]Kent Walker & Fang Wan - 2012 - Journal of Business Ethics 109 (2):227-242.
    We examine over 100 top performing Canadian firms in visibly polluting industries as we seek to answer four research questions: What specific environmental issues are firms addressing? How do these issues differ between industries? Are both symbolic and substantive actions financially beneficial? Does green-washing, measured as the difference between symbolic and substantive action, and/or green-highlighting, measured as the combined effect of symbolic and substantive actions, pay? We find that substantive actions of environmental issues (green walk) neither harm nor benefit firms (...)
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  • The Link Between Responsibility and Legitimacy: The Case of De Beers in Namibia. [REVIEW]Cyrlene Claasen & Julia Roloff - 2012 - Journal of Business Ethics 107 (3):379-398.
    This article investigates the link between corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices and the reasons for which legitimacy is ascribed or denied. It fills a gap in the literature on CSR and legitimacy that lacks empirical studies regarding the question whether CSR contributes to organisational legitimacy. The problem is discussed by referring to the case of De Beers’s diamond mining partnership with the Government of Namibia. A total of 42 interviews were conducted—41 with stakeholders and one with the focal organisation Namdeb. (...)
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  • An Evaluation of Corporate Social Responsibility Communication on the Websites of Telecommunication Companies Operating in Ghana.Henry Boateng & Ibn Kailan Abdul-Hamid - 2017 - Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society 15 (1):17-31.
    Purpose Corporate social responsibility communication on corporate websites have become an emerging trend by firms. Similarly, corporate websites have been used to manage stakeholders’ impressions about the organization. Meanwhile, CSR by firms have been criticized for been a manipulative tactics used by firms. The purpose of this paper therefore is to ascertain how telecommunication companies operating in Ghana communicate CSR on their corporate websites. Design/methodology/approach This study used a qualitative content analysis technique. It also used Bolino et al.’s impression management (...)
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  • In Search of the Dominant Rationale in Sustainability Management: Legitimacy- or Profit-Seeking?Stefan Schaltegger & Jacob Hörisch - 2017 - Journal of Business Ethics 145 (2):259-276.
    The academic debate why and how companies are dealing with sustainability is dominated by two main arguments—the profit-seeking and the legitimacy-seeking view. While the first argues that companies establish sustainability management measures if this helps to increase their economic success, others emphasize that companies predominantly react on societal pressure dealing with sustainability to secure legitimacy. Whereas both lines of argument have gained a lot of attention in academia, little is known about their relative importance in shaping corporate practice. This papers (...)
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  • Capturing Online Presence: Hyperlinks and Semantic Networks in Activist Group Websites on Corporate Social Responsibility.Frank G. A. de Bakker & Iina Hellsten - 2013 - Journal of Business Ethics 118 (4):807-823.
    The rise of Internet-mediated communication poses possibilities and challenges for organisation studies, also in the area of corporate social responsibility and business and society interactions. Although social media are attracting more and more attention in this domain, websites also remain an important channel for CSR debate. In this paper, we present an explorative study of activist groups’ online presence via their websites and propose a combination of methods to study both the structural positioning of websites and the meanings in these (...)
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  • Dialogism in Corporate Social Responsibility Communications: Conceptualising Verbal Interaction Between Organisations and Their Audiences. [REVIEW]Niamh M. Brennan, Doris M. Merkl-Davies & Annika Beelitz - 2013 - Journal of Business Ethics 115 (4):665-679.
    We conceptualise CSR communication as a process of reciprocal influence between organisations and their audiences. We use an illustrative case study in the form of a conflict between firms and a powerful stakeholder which is played out in a series of 20 press releases over a 2-month period to develop a framework of analysis based on insights from linguistics. It focuses on three aspects of dialogism, namely (i) turn-taking (co-operating in a conversation by responding to the other party), (ii) inter-party (...)
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  • Voluntary Codes of Conduct and Their Implementation in the Australian Mining and Petroleum Industries: Is There a Business Case for CSR? [REVIEW]Tapan K. Sarker - 2013 - Asian Journal of Business Ethics 2 (2):205-224.
    The design and development of appropriate regulatory mechanisms have attracted renewed attention in recent years. In particular, a shift towards voluntary self-regulatory mechanisms has been witnessed within many industries, such as the Australian mining and petroleum industries which have developed voluntary codes of conduct. This paper analyses the development of different regulatory forms and provides a brief comparative analysis of the two main voluntary codes of conduct used by the Australian mining and petroleum industries. In particular, the study focuses on (...)
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  • Corporate Stakeholder Orientation in an Emerging Country Context: A Longitudinal Cross Industry Analysis.Tanusree Jain, Ruth V. Aguilera & Dima Jamali - 2017 - Journal of Business Ethics 143 (4):701-719.
    This study examines corporate stakeholder orientation across industries and over time prior to the introduction of mandatory CSR. We argue that CSO is a legitimacy signal consciously employed by firms to demonstrate their shareholder and specific non-shareholder orientations in the midst of institutional pressures emerging from country and industry contexts. Using a 7-code index of CSO on CEO–shareholder communications from India, we find that in general large firms in India exhibit a pre-dominant, significant and rising trend of pro-shareholder orientation in (...)
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  • The Construction of Corporate Social Responsibility in Network Societies: A Communication View. [REVIEW]Friederike Schultz, Itziar Castelló & Mette Morsing - 2013 - Journal of Business Ethics 115 (4):681-692.
    The paper introduces the communication view on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which regards CSR as communicatively constructed in dynamic interaction processes in today’s networked societies. Building on the idea that communication constitutes organizations we discuss the potentially indeterminate, disintegrative, and conflictual character of CSR. We hereby challenge established mainstream views on CSR such as the instrumental view, which regards CSR as an organizational instrument to reach organizational aims such as improved reputation and financial performance, and the political-normative view on CSR, (...)
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  • Communicative Dynamics and the Polyphony of Corporate Social Responsibility in the Network Society.Itziar Castelló, Mette Morsing & Friederike Schultz - 2013 - Journal of Business Ethics 118 (4):683-694.
    This paper develops a media theoretical extension of the communicative view on corporate social responsibility by elaborating on the characteristics of network societies, arguing that new media increase the speed and connectivity, and lead to higher plurality and the potential polarization of reality constructions. We discuss the implications for corporate social responsibility of becoming more polyphonic and sketch the contours of “communicative legitimacy.” Finally, we present this special issue and develop some questions for future research.
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  • Tweetjacked: The Impact of Social Media on Corporate Greenwash.Thomas P. Lyon & A. Wren Montgomery - 2013 - Journal of Business Ethics 118 (4):747-757.
    We theorize that social media will reduce the incidence of corporate greenwash. Drawing on the management literature on decoupling and the economic literature on information disclosure, we characterize specifically where this effect is likely to be most pronounced. We identify important differences between social media and traditional media, and present a theoretical framework for understanding greenwash in which corporate environmental communications may backfire if citizens and activists feel a company is engaging in excessive self-promotion. The framework allows us to draw (...)
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  • Social Media for Socially Responsible Firms: Analysis of Fortune 500’s Twitter Profiles and Their CSR/CSIR Ratings.Kiljae Lee, Won-Yong Oh & Namhyeok Kim - 2013 - Journal of Business Ethics 118 (4):791-806.
    The instrumental benefits of firm’s CSR activities are contingent upon the stakeholders’ awareness and favorable attribution. While social media creates an important momentum for firms to cultivate favorable awareness by establishing a powerful framework of stakeholder relationships, the opportunities are not distributed evenly for all firms. In this paper, we investigate the impact of CSR credentials on the effectiveness of social media as a stakeholder-relationship management platform. The analysis of Fortune 500 companies in the Twitter sphere reveals that a higher (...)
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  • Legitimizing Negative Aspects in GRI-Oriented Sustainability Reporting: A Qualitative Analysis of Corporate Disclosure Strategies.Rüdiger Hahn & Regina Lülfs - 2014 - Journal of Business Ethics 123 (3):1-20.
    Corporate sustainability reports are supposed to provide a complete and balanced picture of corporate sustainability performance. They are, however, usually voluntary and thus prone to interpretation and even greenwashing tendencies. To overcome this problem, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) provides standardized reporting guidelines challenging companies to report positive and negative aspects of an organization’s sustainability performance. However, the reporting of “negative aspects” in particular can endanger corporate legitimacy if perceived by the stakeholders as not being in line with societal norms (...)
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  • Meaning Making by Managers: Corporate Discourse on Environment and Sustainability in India.Prithi Nambiar & Naren Chitty - 2014 - Journal of Business Ethics 123 (3):493-511.
    The globally generated concepts of environment and sustainability are fast gaining currency in international business discourse. Sustainability concerns are concurrently becoming significant to business planning around corporate social responsibility and integral to organizational strategies toward enhancing shareholder value. The mindset of corporate managers is a key factor in determining company approaches to sustainability. But what do corporate managers understand by sustainability? Our study explores discursive meaning negotiation surrounding the concepts of environment and sustainability within business discourse. The study is based (...)
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  • Impression Management and Organizational Audiences: The Fiat Group Case.Saverio Bozzolan, Charles H. Cho & Giovanna Michelon - 2015 - Journal of Business Ethics 126 (1):143-165.
    In this paper we investigate whether, and how, corporate management strategically uses disclosure to manage the perceptions of different organizational audiences. In particular, we examine the interactions between the FIAT Group and three of its key organizational audiences—the local press, the international press, and the financial analysts, which are characterized by different levels of salience for the company. We focus on both how management reacts to the optimism level existing within each audience and how the narrative disclosure tone adopted by (...)
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  • Rhetorical Construction of Narcissistic CSR Orientation.Kirsti Iivonen & Johanna Moisander - 2015 - Journal of Business Ethics 131 (3):649-664.
    This paper takes a critical perspective on corporate social responsibility and examines the ways in which an industry organization discursively manages the relationship between the industry and its stakeholders in a situation where the legitimacy of the industry is called into question. Drawing on the literature on organizational narcissism and sensemaking the paper develops the construct of narcissistic CSR orientation and empirically elaborates on three defensive rhetorical strategies through which the organization makes sense of the accountability and responsibility of the (...)
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  • Gaining Legitimacy Through CSR: An Analysis of Turkey's 30 Largest Corporations.Emel Ozdora-Aksak & Sirin Atakan-Duman - 2016 - Business Ethics: A European Review 25 (3):238-257.
    Grounded in institutional theory, this study provides an overview of the corporate social responsibility initiatives of Turkey's 30 largest corporations through a thematic content analysis. The study focuses on the G-20 member Turkey and investigates the influence of isomorphism mechanisms on the adoption of CSR initiatives in a developing country context. The aim of this study is to integrate Carroll's CSR dimensions, the type of CSR engagement and coercive, mimetic and normative isomorphism mechanisms proposed by institutional theory. Through this integration (...)
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  • Seeking Legitimacy Through CSR: Institutional Pressures and Corporate Responses of Multinationals in Sri Lanka.Eshani Beddewela & Jenny Fairbrass - 2016 - Journal of Business Ethics 136 (3):503-522.
    Arguably, the corporate social responsibility practices of multinational enterprises are influenced by a wide range of both internal and external factors. Perhaps, most critical among the exogenous forces operating on MNEs are those exerted by state and other key institutional actors in host countries. Crucially, academic research conducted to date offers little data about how MNEs use their CSR activities to strategically manage their relationship with those actors in order to gain legitimisation advantages in host countries. This paper addresses that (...)
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  • Be Bad but Look Good: Can Controversial Industries Enhance Corporate Reputation Through CSR Initiatives?Claudio Aqueveque, Pablo Rodrigo & Ignacio J. Duran - 2018 - Business Ethics: A European Review 27 (3):222-237.
    Even though the link between perceived corporate social responsibility fit and corporate reputation has received much attention from scholars, this tradition has ignored that the underpinnings of this association vary depending on the particular characteristics of each industry under study. To delve into this matter, we investigate in the increasingly relevant context of controversial industries how PCSR-fit could enhance corporate reputation and which are the mediating mechanisms of this association. Our academic contribution is twofold. First, we find that controversial sectors (...)
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  • Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc: Methodological Limits of Performance-Oriented Studies in CSR.Marian Eabrasu - 2015 - Business Ethics: A European Review 24:S11-S23.
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  • Political Dependence, Social Scrutiny, and Corporate Philanthropy: Evidence From Disaster Relief.Yongqiang Gao & Taïeb Hafsi - 2017 - Business Ethics: A European Review 26 (2):189-203.
    This study explores why and how firms respond to social demands through philanthropic giving in the context of a severe natural disaster. Drawing on Marquis and Qian's organizational response model to government signals, we integrate resource dependence theory and institutional theory to build a two-step model of organizational response to social needs, in situations of disaster relief. We argue that firms depending more on the government for support are more likely to donate in disaster relief, while firms who receive more (...)
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  • A Real Options Reasoning Approach to Corporate Social Responsibility : Integrating Real Option Sensemaking and CSR Orientation.Richard Peters, Ethan Waples & Peggy Golden - 2014 - Business and Society Review 119 (1):61-93.
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  • Role of Country- and Firm-Level Determinants in Environmental, Social, and Governance Disclosure.Maria Baldini, Lorenzo Dal Maso, Giovanni Liberatore, Francesco Mazzi & Simone Terzani - 2018 - Journal of Business Ethics 150 (1):79-98.
    In recent years, companies receive pressure to release environmental, social, and governance disclosure, since these are perceived as critical issues by society. Despite this pressure, ESG disclosure practices considerably vary by firm. Prior academic literature investigated country- and firm-level factors determining such variation, alternatively adopting the institutional and legitimacy theory. By combining these theories in a unique framework, this study investigates the extent to which social structures and social legitimization influence ESG disclosure practices and each pillar. Results obtained using a (...)
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  • The Social License to Operate.Geert Demuijnck & Björn Fasterling - 2016 - Journal of Business Ethics 136 (4):675-685.
    This article proposes a way to zoom in on the concept of the social license to operate from the broader normative perspective of contractarianism. An SLO can be defined as a contractarian basis for the legitimacy of a company’s specific activity or project. “SLO”, as a fashionable expression, has its origins in business practice. From a normative viewpoint, the concept is closely related to social contract theory, and, as such, it has a political dimension. After outlining the contractarian normative background (...)
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