Web site messages about corporate social responsibility: Developing grounded theory on the presentation of corporate citizenship in the banking and computer hardware manufacturing industries

by Fitzwater, Charlene Y., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2007, 110 pages; 3263161


Responding to increased stakeholder interest in corporate social responsibility and calls for greater transparency, companies have increased their voluntary disclosures regarding corporate citizenship in recent years. Given the rapid rise in the disclosures, no clear standard for the communications, and limited research offering systematic analysis of companies' corporate social responsibility messages, qualitative research was developed to document and describe corporate social responsibility messages. Grounded theory based on content analysis of corporate social responsibility messages of 20 publicly traded, U.S.-based banking and computer hardware manufacturing companies generated a framework and descriptions of the messages. A spectrum of overall corporate social responsibility messages was documented, including overall messages of compliance, enlightened self-interest, and full commitment to corporate social responsibility. At the compliance end of the spectrum, information regarding corporate social responsibility was very limited and principally confirmed compliance with laws and regulations. Mid-range on the spectrum communicating an overall message of enlightened self-interest, companies indicated that doing good also benefits the company, and they provided more information about involvement in corporate citizenship activities. At the farthest end of the spectrum, the most comprehensive corporate citizenship communications were provided. Companies communicating full commitment to corporate social responsibility described integration of corporate social responsibility in their daily operations, addressed issues important to all stakeholder groups, and measured success against stated goals. Companies recognized as exemplary corporate citizens communicated messages of enlightened self-interest or full commitment to corporate social responsibility. Findings of the study were consistent with legitimacy theory, media agenda-setting theory, signaling theory, and Rossouw and vanVureen's modes of management.

AdviserMary Evans Kasala
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Commerce-Business; Banking
Publication Number3263161

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