Formative Perspectives on the Relation Between CSR Communication and CSR Practices: Pathways for Walking, Talking, and T(w)alking

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

1362 Downloads (Pure)


Within the burgeoning corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication literature, the question of the relationship between CSR practices and CSR communication (or between “walk” and “talk”) has been a central concern. Recently, we observe a growing interest in formative views on the relation between CSR communication and practices, that is, works which ascribe to communication a constitutive role in creating, maintaining, and transforming CSR practices. This article provides an overview of the heterogeneous landscape of formative views on CSR communication scholarship. More specifically, we distinguish between three variants of such formative views: walking-to-talk, talking-to-walk, and t(w)alking. These three orientations differ primarily regarding the temporal dynamics that they ascribe to the relation between CSR communication and practices and regarding the object that is formed through communication. This new typology helps systematize the emerging field of research on CSR communication, and we use it as a compass to provide directions for future research in this area.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBusiness & Society
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)5-33
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Published online: 7. May 2019


  • Aspirational talk
  • Communication as constitutive of organization (CCO)
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • CSR communication
  • CSR practices
  • Sensemaking

Cite this