CSR as Aspirational Talk

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Most writings on corporate social responsibility (CSR) treat lack of consistency between organizational CSR talk and action as a serious problem that needs to be eliminated. In this article, we argue that differences between words and action are not necessarily a bad thing and that such discrepancies have the potential to stimulate CSR improvements. We draw on a research tradition that regards communication as performative to challenge the conventional assumption that CSR communication is essentially superficial, as opposed to CSR action. In addition, we extend notions of organizational hypocrisy to argue that aspirational CSR talk may be an important resource for social change, even when organizations do not fully live up to their aspirations.

Most writings on corporate social responsibility (CSR) treat lack of consistency between organizational CSR talk and action as a serious problem that needs to be eliminated. In this article, we argue that differences between words and action are not necessarily a bad thing and that such discrepancies have the potential to stimulate CSR improvements. We draw on a research tradition that regards communication as performative to challenge the conventional assumption that CSR communication is essentially superficial, as opposed to CSR action. In addition, we extend notions of organizational hypocrisy to argue that aspirational CSR talk may be an important resource for social change, even when organizations do not fully live up to their aspirations.

LanguageEnglish
JournalOrganization
Volume20
Issue number3
Pages372-393
ISSN1350-5084
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2013

Keywords

    Cite this

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    title = "CSR as Aspirational Talk",
    abstract = "Most writings on corporate social responsibility (CSR) treat lack of consistency between organizational CSR talk and action as a serious problem that needs to be eliminated. In this article, we argue that differences between words and action are not necessarily a bad thing and that such discrepancies have the potential to stimulate CSR improvements. We draw on a research tradition that regards communication as performative to challenge the conventional assumption that CSR communication is essentially superficial, as opposed to CSR action. In addition, we extend notions of organizational hypocrisy to argue that aspirational CSR talk may be an important resource for social change, even when organizations do not fully live up to their aspirations.",
    keywords = "Aspirational talk, Consistency, Corporate social responsibility, CSR, Differences between words and action, Hypocrisy",
    author = "Christensen, {Lars Th{\o}ger} and Mette Morsing and Ole Thyssen",
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    language = "English",
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    CSR as Aspirational Talk. / Christensen, Lars Thøger; Morsing, Mette; Thyssen, Ole.

    In: Organization, Vol. 20, No. 3, 05.2013, p. 372-393 .

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - CSR as Aspirational Talk

    AU - Christensen,Lars Thøger

    AU - Morsing,Mette

    AU - Thyssen,Ole

    PY - 2013/5

    Y1 - 2013/5

    N2 - Most writings on corporate social responsibility (CSR) treat lack of consistency between organizational CSR talk and action as a serious problem that needs to be eliminated. In this article, we argue that differences between words and action are not necessarily a bad thing and that such discrepancies have the potential to stimulate CSR improvements. We draw on a research tradition that regards communication as performative to challenge the conventional assumption that CSR communication is essentially superficial, as opposed to CSR action. In addition, we extend notions of organizational hypocrisy to argue that aspirational CSR talk may be an important resource for social change, even when organizations do not fully live up to their aspirations.

    AB - Most writings on corporate social responsibility (CSR) treat lack of consistency between organizational CSR talk and action as a serious problem that needs to be eliminated. In this article, we argue that differences between words and action are not necessarily a bad thing and that such discrepancies have the potential to stimulate CSR improvements. We draw on a research tradition that regards communication as performative to challenge the conventional assumption that CSR communication is essentially superficial, as opposed to CSR action. In addition, we extend notions of organizational hypocrisy to argue that aspirational CSR talk may be an important resource for social change, even when organizations do not fully live up to their aspirations.

    KW - Aspirational talk

    KW - Consistency

    KW - Corporate social responsibility

    KW - CSR

    KW - Differences between words and action

    KW - Hypocrisy

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    DO - 10.1177/1350508413478310

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    JO - Organization

    T2 - Organization

    JF - Organization

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