Posts Tagged ‘Corporate Social Responsibility#8217;


When CSR Clicks

Written on September 7, 2012 by Laura Illia in News

It is my pleasure to welcome you back to the 2012-13 Academic Year!

What a better occasion to inform you that  I recently published an article  at Communication World, the  professional oriented magazine by International Association for Business Communicators (IABC) on the topic of CSR communication . The article presents the preliminary results of a study that was conducted with the help of our MCC alumni 2010-11 intake. It has been co-authored with Silvia McCallister and Belen Rodriguez Canovas.

Abstract of the article:

Companies’ programs for communicating their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities to the public and to their stakeholders should be well-run, strategic and impactful. However, companies must navigate a complex web of diverse stakeholder groups with different needs and motivations. This study, conducted thanks to IABC Research Foundation, aims to identify best practices in the area of online CSR communication. It explores how companies communicate the CSR programs across their corporate CSR websites and other online tools and how they intend to reach out to multiple stakeholders in a way that is simple, credible and interactive.

You find the entire article here at:

I’d like to take the opportunity to thank our MCC Alumni collaborating in the study, and also congratulating them for their  job positions!  Special thanks goes to:

Silvia McCallister (Associate Director at IE Master in Management)

Vesna Boskovic (Communication Manager)

Sen Peng (Official at Development & Reform Bureau, BDA Administration)

Jonathan Ruadez (Account Executive at Nexus)

Ai Sullivan (Stakeholder Manager at World Economic Forum)


Talk is action… especially in CSR communication

Written on November 1, 2011 by Laura Illia in News

An academic conference is good when you get home with more questions than those you had before the conference. When you come back with clear answers, well, it means that the conference was not that good… I am just back from the CSR Communication Conference organized by the University of Amsterdam (Amsterdam School of Communication Research) and VU University Amsterdam with more questions than answers. So, good conference!

The aim of the conference was to bring together business and communication scholars to discuss how to communicate CSR today. What l really liked is that it brought together two types of scholars. On one side, scholars following the idea that communication is mere information. On the other side, scholars believing that communication cannot be reduced to an informational issue where meanings are assumed to already exist, as communication is a process of meaning development between many actors.

My point of view is that nowadays CSR communication managers need to have both approaches. On one side they need to find the right degree of social disclosure to assure that the information they give about their company is authentic and does not trigger skepticism. Said otherwise, managers need to conceptualize CSR communications as something that is “real” and that needs to be improved in its efficiency. However, on the other side, communication managers need also to conceptualize CSR communication as a process of meaning that is construed together with stakeholders. In this case, CSR communication is not a “reality” to communicate; it is enacted in each conversation that stakeholders have about the company (or with the company). Yes, put in this way it sounds theoretical, but in practice this is really simple: the company cannot define “a priori” what CSR is and communicate it to stakeholders. The meaning of CSR is in constant definition.

The work I presented on behalf of IE School of Communication and other academic institutions collaborating with us – Judge Business School (University of Cambridge) and IULM Foundation – basically aims to give the message that both approaches are needed.

I would like to share with you a number of significant sentences I wrote down in my notebook. I like these quotations because in a way they express what is my understanding of CSR Communication:

“Sometimes, as academics, we play chess, but practitioners want to know what the next move is” (Andrew Crane, Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto)

“Companies sometimes find answers to questions that are not asked by stakeholders, while stakeholders’ asked questions remain unanswered” (Bernd Lorenz Walter, BL Walter, Germany)

“Talk is action” (Mette Morsing, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark)

“Communication needs to be seen as a formative element […] Communication has not only the role to externalize. Communication has a formative role in what CSR is” (Andrew Crane, Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto)

“As a consumer I can accept that symbolic communication is done on the product, but I cannot accept that a company says something about CSR that is not 100% true and is just a brand exercise” (Mette Morsing, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark)

“CSR communication can be seen as a political communication instrument to set an agenda” (Friederike Schultz, VU University Amsterdam)

“You cannot control the meaning; you can offer meanings that are negotiated as mixed messages” (Dennis Schoeneborn, University of Zurich)

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