Good evening, I’m Silvia Cosimato, a PHD candidate at University of Salerno. Today, I’m glad to present you a paper which analyzes the evolution of CSR communication in a social media context .
The present paper aims to illustrate the recent evolution of CSR and the potentials of social media for CSR communication. Our research goals are: the definition of social media role in CSR online communication and in companies-stakeholders relationship; the definition of opportunities and risks arising from social media usage in CSR online communication. Our research is based on a literature review on CSR evolution and CSR on line communication and on the Monte dei paschi di siena case study analysis, one of major Italian banks.
For many years, CSR debate has been focused on definition of its ethical principles, while nowadays this debate has highlighted CSR linkage with typical problems of globalization and the massive use of web 2.0 tools. According to literature review, CSR evolution has been defined by four main perspectives, as shown in the table. The most used of them is last one: CSR 2.0, which has been developed by Visser and based on the “extensive use of social media in CSR communication”.
According to our analysis, social media allows a symmetric communication between organizations and online discussion groups. This paradigm is opposite to the traditional mass media asymmetric communication. Social media communication is based on the word of mouth paradigm, according to which information can spread both from institutional and institutional sources, such as clients and even simple citizens. Consequently, firms should use an informal language to communicate their CSR commitment, made up of short sentences, common words and shortcuts of Internet lexicon.
The present research is based on MPS case study analysis, according to which we have collected data from primary sources, such as interview with CSR manager and the analysis of MPS social media, and secondary sources, such as CSR publications, and communication materials . Monte dei Paschi di siena is one of the main Italian banks, active since 1472, with one of the most prominent CSR 2.0 program. In fact, MPS has a punctual definition of CSR 2.0, which is a new corporate approach to social responsibility based on a real-time and transparent communication with stakeholders. MPS has also a concrete CSR 2.0 strategy which aims to the development of CSR internal regulation; the increasing of corporate social media presence; the web reputation monitoring, the implementation of a new CSR “social” Intranet (made up of internal blogs, social forums, chats and so on) and the customization of CSR communication publishing different CSR budget reporting.
We have analyzed the principal MPS social media: Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. As you ca see from statistics, the most prominent of them is Facebook, in fact it has got a large number of users or “friend”, about 4107. Analyzing Facebook page, we have found out that MPS has adopted concrete communication strategy based on a top-down approach. In fact, the bank promotes a free debate on its Facebook page, allowing users and employees to posts comments and start online discussions. It is also important to note that MPS let users and employees to contradict or support its social programs, even in case of negative comments. As for the Facebook page.
According CSR manager statement, MPS is quite aware about social responsibility evolution, but considers CSR 2.0 and social media influence minimal on general CSR strategies. Consequently, to avoid potential conflicts, MPS aims to integrate traditional and online CSR communication strategies. MPS, such as many others Italian companies, prefers to use social media with a medium level of interaction such as social networks and content communities, which are characterized by a text-based communication and media sharing protocol. The bank uses also the “traditional” social media, such as blogs, which are characterized by a low level of interaction and based just on a text-based communication. As many others companies, MPS does not uses social media with a high level of interaction such as virtual social worlds and virtual game worlds, based on a communication protocol which try to replicate the face-to-face interaction.
In CSR 2.0 context, social media represent a source of opportunities, but also of possible risks, due to the lack of monitoring or to the companies inability to recognize weak signals. The main opportunities are: the “ Democratization” of firm- stakeholder relationship, a transparent communication development; the real time audience monitoring, the Building up of shared knowledge. On the other hand, the potential risks are: the loss of control over social media communication, a negative word-of-mouth, Negative influence of informal CSR online communication on general CSR strategy, Fragmentation of communication.
In conclusion, our research shows that social media allow a proactive approach to CSR, based on: the online testing of users reactions to companies positions, a better stakeholders engagement in CSR activieties, and a genuine dialogue on corporate issues. Finally, according to our analisysis future research is needed to properly define CSR evolution and to evaluate the word-of-mouth influence on CSR communication in social media context.
Session 10, Tuccillo et al.
Institutionalization of CSR in an emerging social media context. A case study from the Italian banking industry Alfonso Siano, Agostino Vollero, Silvia Cosimato, Carmela Tuccillo, University of Salerno CSR Communication Conference Amsterdam, October 26-28 2011 University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam
<ul><li>PURPOSE </li></ul><ul><li>to illustrate the recent evolution of CSR and identify unused potentials of social </li></ul><ul><li>media for CSR communication. </li></ul><ul><li>SPECIFIC RESEARCH OBJECTIVES </li></ul><ul><li>the definition of social media role in CSR online communication and in firm-stakeholder relationships; </li></ul><ul><li>the recognition of opportunities and risks arising from social media usage in CSR online communication . </li></ul><ul><li>RESEARCH METHODS </li></ul><ul><li>Literature review on CSR evolution and CSR online communication. </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis of MPS social media. </li></ul><ul><li>Interview with MPS CSR manager. </li></ul>Paper Structure
CSR Evolution Present Past Definitions and key elements of CSR 2.0 Authors Relevant excerpts Key elements Kitchin, 2003 “ […] Corporate Community Responsibility (CCR), refers to cooperation and to transparent relationship between companies and communities in which they act. Clear cooperation between companies and society. Sørensen and Peitersen (2007) “ CSR as a set of activities aimed at sustainable and responsible business is also knows as Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, an Evolution of the traditional social responsibility oriented to share value creation.” Share value creation. Maon et al., 2010 “ […]CSR has been redefined by a dynamic perspective, which allows us to understand organizational commitment to such initiatives. Cultural roots in organization. Visser, 2010/2011 Social media and Web 2.0 tools are changing the game in different fields in unknown intensity, from political campaigning to CSR communications. Researchers as well as practitioners should learn to understand the rules of CSR 2.0. Extensive use of social media in CSR communication. CSR debate focused on definition of social responsibility ethical principles (Carroll, 1979; Wood 1991; Windsor 2006). Several studies highlight CSR linkage with typical problems of globalization and the use of Web 2.0.
Social media communication protocol Social media facilitate a symmetric communication between organizations and highly engaged audiences in online spaces (Fieseler et al. , 2010). Online Discussion Groups Company Social media communication is based on the word of mouth paradigm ( Kietzmann et.al, 2011) . digital WOM
The MPS case study is based on data analysis collected of primary and secondary sources. Methodology and data collection MPS CSR 2.0 definition “ a new corporate approach to social responsibility based on a real-time and transparent communication with stakeholders ”. MPS CSR 2.0 strategy development of CSR internal regulation; increasing of corporate social media presence; web reputation monitoring, implementation of a new CSR “social” Intranet; customized CSR budget reporting. is one of the main Italian banks, active since 1472, engaged in CSR activities since 2000.
MPS Social Media analysis Statistics about MPS Facebook page Number of friends 4107 Number of posts 57 Number of MPS posts 46 Number of other authors posts 11 Number of authors 10 Number of CSR posts 11 Number of comments 140 Numberof “like” 392
MPS is quite aware of social responsibility evolution, but considers CSR 2.0 influence minimal on general CSR strategies. Discussion Source: Adapted from Kaplan, A. P., Haenlein, M. (2010), “Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media”, Business Horizon , Vol. 53, pp. 59- 68.
Implications Opportunities Risks “ Democratization” of firm- stakeholder relationships Potential loss of control over social media communication Transparent communication Public criticism Web corporate reputation development Negative word-of-mouth Real time audience monitoring Increase in costs Employees’ commitment in CSR activities Negative influence of informal CSR online communication on general CSR strategy Building up of shared knowledge Fragmentation of communication
Conclusions Future research Further research is needed because of th e lack of a unique CSR paradigm and to evaluate the word-of-mouth influence on CSR communication in social media context. <ul><li>Social media allows a proactive approach to CSR, thanks to: </li></ul><ul><li>the online testing of users reactions, </li></ul><ul><li>the stakeholders engagement, </li></ul><ul><li>a genuine dialogue on corporate issues. </li></ul>
Thank you for your attention For further information, see/ visit the web site: http://dsc.unisa.it/Siano/index.htm