Session 11, Schelz

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Values, Identity & CSR

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Session 11, Schelz

  1. 1. October, 2011 The Challenge of Communicating CSR: Is the Key Found in the Corporate Value Systems LINE SCHMELTZ, PH.D. STUDENT CENTRE FOR CORPORATE COMMUNICATION, AARHUS UNIVERSITY
  2. 2. The Challenge of Communicating CSR Line Schmeltz October, 2011 2 A Short Introduction › Ph.d. Project: › Communicating CSR to Consumers: Configurations of the Conception, Perception and Production of Consumer-oriented CSR Communication. 1. Consumers Consumer-oriented CSR Communication: Focusing on Ability or Morality? 2. Companies The Challenge of Communicating CSR: Is the Key found in the Corporate Value Systems 3. Communication Applying Value-based CSR Communication Strategies - A way to Reach the Young Consumers?
  3. 3. The Challenge of Communicating CSR Line Schmeltz October, 2011 What’s the problem? › A new corporate landscape? › Changing role of corporations (values) in society – no clearly defined role of the corporate players › A shift in the power balance between a corporation and its stakeholders › Communication becomes increasingly complicated (media & message) 3
  4. 4. The Challenge of Communicating CSR Line Schmeltz October, 2011 Corporate Social Responsibility › Have companies adapted to this new role? › Has it lead to a change in the values communicated by corporations? › Do companies embracing a CSR agenda adapt and align their values systems and value communication in reflection of a new commitment and an underlying change in organizational identity? › Empirically answer the question by taking a comparative approach to companies’ communicated corporate values (corporate identity - CI) and their CSR values applying a value-theoretical framework. 4
  5. 5. The Challenge of Communicating CSR Line Schmeltz October, 2011 Corporate Identity The Link Between Corporate Identity and Corporate Social Responsibility: Values 5 › Focus: Implementation and integration of CSR in order to establish shared value system Corporate Social Responsibility Values
  6. 6. The Challenge of Communicating CSR Line Schmeltz October, 2011 Research design › Who - Sampling › 6 DI companies › What - Units of analysis › Interviews with CSR managers › Corporate website texts on mission, vision and corporate values › How - Method of analysis › Qualitative content analysis based on semantic units › Coding according to Rokeach’s Value System for both CSR and CI texts → Corporate Value System › Corporate Value System: Primary, secondary and tertiary values for both CI and CSR 6
  7. 7. The Challenge of Communicating CSR Line Schmeltz October, 2011 A Corporate Value System 7 Company E Corporate Identity Corporate Social Responsibility Primary values 1. A sense of accomplishment (TP) 2. Ambitious (IC) 3. Capable (IC) 4. Social recognition (TP) 5. Responsible (IM) 1. Obedient (IM) 2. Polite (listening to stakeholders and pleasing them to a large degree) (IM) Secondary values 1. Capable (IC) 2. Logical (IC) 3. A comfortable life (TP) 1. Responsible (IM) 2. Capable (IC) Tertiary values 1. A world of beauty (TS) 2. Broadminded (IM) 3. Intellectual (IC) 4. Obedient (IM) 1. Ambitious (IC) 2. Helpful IM)
  8. 8. The Challenge of Communicating CSR Line Schmeltz October, 2011 Findings - I › Contradictions and tensions between CI and CSR values › Managers state that corporate values are the basis of their CSR - but they have difficulties articulating those values and explaining how they apply in a CSR context. › Managers seem to rely on the habitual, traditional values conventionally related to the concept of CSR such as being obedient and responsible. › The less implemented CSR is, the more focus is on moral values. › The more implemented CSR is, the more competence values are present 8
  9. 9. The Challenge of Communicating CSR Line Schmeltz October, 2011 Findings - II › Lack of integration of CSR into CI › The corporate value systems are not harmonized – no alignment. › Suggests that CSR is not yet an embedded part of a company’s culture or identity, not yet institutionalized. › Means that CSR is simply seen as a means to achieve something else, i.e. the end-goals of the company, not yet considered to be a desired end-state in itself. › The missing integration could be an expression of an inherent difficulty in adapting to the new societal role often referred to as corporate citizenship. › Findings suggest that as the companies gradually implement and institutionalize CSR, the values underlying and guiding their CSR engagement will be of a more terminal character and more aligned with the corporate values as well. 9
  10. 10. The Challenge of Communicating CSR Line Schmeltz October, 2011 Findings - III › Co-existence of two separate value systems › Two completely separate systems of values are operating in the companies. › This misalignment between CSR and CI can be caused by either a mental or an organizational challenge › Mental challenge › CSR not a legitimate part of the corporate identity › Organizational challenge › Organizing and coordinating internally › Educational and professional background of CSR managers › Line of business 10
  11. 11. The Challenge of Communicating CSR Line Schmeltz October, 2011 Conclusion › Do companies embracing a CSR agenda adapt and align their value systems and values communication in reflection of a new commitment and an underlying change in organizational identity? › No. › This could be explained by: › Lack of implementation and integration between CI and CSR → contradictions between value systems. › Lack of coordination between key players in the organization. › Complexity of corporations’ role. › Line of business. › CSR’s role in modern business. › Suggestion: › A tighter fit between CI and CSR values. › Acceptance of CSR as a means to fulfill the vision – not a vision in itself. 11

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