Session 5, Faber-Wiener

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CSR as Strategy?

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Session 5, Faber-Wiener

  1. 1. Responsible Communication: From Communications Management to Responsibility Management October 2011 Gabriele Faber-Wiener (c) Gabriele Faber-Wiener
  2. 2. <ul><li>Degree in PR, m ore than 20 years experience in Communications Management </li></ul><ul><li>Leading positions in NGOs (Greenpeace, Doctors without Borders/MSF) </li></ul><ul><li>President of the Austrian Public Relations Association (PRVA) for several years </li></ul><ul><li>Lecturer at different universities (e.g. Danube University, University of Vienna) </li></ul><ul><li>Double postgraduate (M.A. in Reponsible Management, MBA Corporate Responsibility & Business Ethics) </li></ul><ul><li>Elected Member of Austrian PR Ethics Council </li></ul><ul><li>As of 2012: Lecturer at Steinbeis University Berlin, expert consultant for national and international CSR and Communication projects </li></ul><ul><li>Gabriele Faber-Wiener </li></ul><ul><li>Director of CoE Public & Non Profit Communications </li></ul><ul><li>Senior Consultant </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>(c) Gabriele Faber-Wiener
  3. 3. <ul><li>What is Responsible Communication? </li></ul><ul><li>Why is it necessary? </li></ul><ul><li>How does it differ from current CSR communication? </li></ul><ul><li>How can it be implemented? </li></ul><ul><li>What would be the impacts? </li></ul>Five Questions: (c) Gabriele Faber-Wiener
  4. 4. <ul><li>RC is a new form </li></ul><ul><li>of communicating socially relevant issues and activities, based on ethics and principles, </li></ul><ul><li>and applicable in all areas of communication. </li></ul><ul><li>Ppt based on : Master Study, Steinbeis University, Berlin </li></ul><ul><li>See also: „CSR und Kommunikation – Praktische Zugänge“, in Corporate Social Responsibility - Theoretische Grundlagen und Praktische Anwendung einer verantwortungsvollen Unternehmensführung , Eds.: Schmidpeter, R. / Schneider, A., to be published in Dec. 2011 </li></ul>1. What is Responsible Communication (RC)? (c) Gabriele Faber-Wiener
  5. 5. (c) Gabriele Faber-Wiener <ul><li>2. Why is it necessary? </li></ul><ul><li>Two main reasons: </li></ul><ul><li>New conditions for business demand a new approach to their responsibility; (increasing power, increasing pressure, new media etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Current practice of PR and CSR-Communication is insufficient. Reasons: lack of credibility and legitimization, because of </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A narrow perspective , i.e. PR = relaying of self-perception </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication on commission, i.e.no self criticism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One-way communication, i.e. no dialogue or discourse </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on external communication, i.e. communication starts too late </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>  ...starts too late </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mostly add-on to (voluntary) CSR measures, </li></ul></ul><ul><li>... has a too narrow mindset </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Narrow definition of CSR and CSR communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mainly CSR information (one-way communication) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Normal” PR methods and practices used </li></ul></ul><ul><li>... is not always effective </li></ul><ul><ul><li>complex issues at the recipients’ end, difficult to communicate individual benefit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>lack of credibility – limited acceptance by recipients or negative feedback (accusation of greenwashing) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  ... faces reservations by companies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication is a cost factor (encourages demand, requires resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Uncertainty regarding results (not controllable, difficult and fear of intrusions) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Negative experiences in the past </li></ul></ul>A critical analysis: CSR-Communication… (c) Gabriele Faber-Wiener
  7. 7. <ul><li>Thesis 1: </li></ul><ul><li>Serious-minded CSR according to responsible management requires a new form of communication: Responsible Communication </li></ul><ul><li>  Thesis 2: </li></ul><ul><li>Communication of responsibility (i.e. Responsible Communication) must be based on four pillars to be credible and acceptable (legitimised): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inclusion of public views </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Critical self-assessment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ethics as basis for thought and action </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discourse </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  Thesis 3: </li></ul><ul><li>Responsible Communication must be carried out at all three levels of management to be effective: at the core (i.e. in management decision-making), in management processes and in external communication. </li></ul>Three core theses… (c) Gabriele Faber-Wiener
  8. 8. <ul><li>Definition of Responsible Communication: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Responsible Communication is based on the main idea of Responsible Management and is defined as the inclusion of socially relevant arguments and powers in all management decisions and processes, and communication’s adherence to stringent communication principles.’ </li></ul><ul><li>Principles: RC is n eutral – fair - ethics-based - non-judgemental - based on logic – objective - honest – transparent – authentic – participational – proactive – reflective - innovative </li></ul><ul><li>Responsible Communication means: </li></ul><ul><li>making decisions differently </li></ul><ul><li>steering differently </li></ul><ul><li>communicating differently </li></ul>Responsible Communication (RC) – Definition and Principles (c) Gabriele Faber-Wiener
  9. 9. <ul><li>RC is based on ethics and discourse </li></ul><ul><li>RC is based on stringent principles </li></ul><ul><li>RC starts with the introduction of ethics into management and decision processes – and not only with the communication of decisions. </li></ul><ul><li>RC encompasses management of socially relevant processes – and not merely their communication. </li></ul><ul><li>RC claims to be a mirror of society, i.e. it actively and with the aid of concrete tools includes an external perspective into management processes. </li></ul><ul><li>RC ventures on a neutral level of communication. </li></ul>3. How does RC differ from current CSR-communication? (c) Gabriele Faber-Wiener
  10. 10. <ul><li>Responsible Communication acts on all three levels of a business: </li></ul><ul><li>At the core: action and decision-making based on ethics and discourse </li></ul><ul><li>RC as expertise provider and mirror of society in the implementation of ethics and socially relevant decision-making </li></ul><ul><li>In CSR processes: alterocentric, discourse-based viewpoints </li></ul><ul><li>RC as steering function and integrated part of CSR processes </li></ul><ul><li>Facing outwards: external communication including dialogue, intrinsic approach and critical self-assessment </li></ul><ul><li>RC as responsible transmitter of CSR activities and products </li></ul><ul><li>RC takes on a large part of CSR management , as </li></ul><ul><li>‘ management of responsibility means external and internal communication ’ (Karmasin and Weder, 2008) . </li></ul>4. How can it be implemented? (c) Gabriele Faber-Wiener
  11. 11. How can it be implemented? Responsible Communication on three levels (c) Gabriele Faber-Wiener
  12. 12. Responsible Communication – Implementation and Measures (c) Gabriele Faber-Wiener
  13. 13. <ul><li>RC has impacts in many directions: on companies, on society, on the PR industry and on consulting. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Impacts on companies: RC requires a change of mindset and a restructuring, primarily of internal organisation and processes, esp. Decision-making processes. This leads to an increase of sustainable reputation and credibility of a company, which in turn has implications on the value of the company (Return on Ethics). </li></ul>5. What would be the impacts? (c) Gabriele Faber-Wiener
  14. 14. <ul><li>Responsible Communication is both effective and efficient: </li></ul><ul><li>By including public opinion, decisions that cannot be implemented are reduced right from the start – saves the costs of wasteful processes </li></ul><ul><li>Self-critical approach heightens credibility and therefore acceptance –saves costs by reducing high levels of wasted coverage </li></ul><ul><li>  Real discourse incl. rules and commitments secure implementation of aims and objectives – saving costs arising from protests, court cases etc. </li></ul><ul><li>  By using ethics as the basis, image and reputation are improved – saving of costs spent on unnecessary advertising and PR </li></ul><ul><li>US Sentencing Guidelines: Application of ethical methods within a business count as a strong mitigating factor in cases of a crime. According to an EU Council decision, these guidelines should be implemented in a similar form in Europe </li></ul>Impacts on companies: Integration of Return on Equity and Return on Ethics (c) Gabriele Faber-Wiener
  15. 15. <ul><li>Through active inclusion of socio-political aspects (‘mirror model’) in company decision-making and steering of business processes s tronger Management role and much greater area of impact than PR or CSR Communication applied so far: </li></ul>Impacts within the company: Stronger Management Role (c) Gabriele Faber-Wiener
  16. 16. <ul><li>RC for the first time aspires a true function of common value of communication, i.e. a true integration of companies into society and vice versa. Society is no longer only the target group, but at the same time has a corrective function towards entrepreneurial action. Consequence: Legitimization and acceptance. </li></ul>Impacton Society: True Integration (c) Gabriele Faber-Wiener
  17. 17. <ul><li>RC creates trust: high potential to realize propagated idea of trust-based work of PR for the first time </li></ul><ul><li>RC improves image : Potential to turn negative image of PR profession into a positive one – should not be main motivation </li></ul><ul><li>RC gives power: Far more power for communicators than before, are directly involved in decision-making processes from beginning </li></ul><ul><li>RC has economic potential: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>growth in PR has decelerated, life-cycle reached stage of maturity, needs innovation and new approaches – RC is such a new approach (proven by studies) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Presently knowledge of employers and companies on CSR and Ethics is very limited, needs are high. Presently knowledge transfer and CSR consultancy is mainly carried out by management consultants, not Communication experts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Fundamental precondition: broadening expertise and knowledge in ethics + critical assessment of role of PR </li></ul>Impact on Communications and Consultancy (c) Gabriele Faber-Wiener
  18. 18. Further information: gabi.faber-wiener@grayling.com (c) Gabriele Faber-Wiener

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