CSR as Aspirational Talk

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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.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)372-393
Publication statusPublished - May 2013

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