Shared Responsibility for Societal Problems: The Role of Internal Activists in Reframing Corporate Responsibility

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This article addresses intraorganizational pressures for organizational transformation toward more responsible business practices by exploring the role of internal activists. Building on the interactive framing perspective, I ask how internal activists develop a framing of their company’s responsibilities as they attempt to transform its business practices from the inside out. I explore this question in the context of a Danish pharmaceutical company’s responsibilities regarding the rising diabetes problem. Grounded in an inductive, interpretive analysis, I show how internal activists developed a framing of the company’s responsibility over time and eventually instigated new ways of thinking about and doing business in their organization. I theorize the constitutive processes that strengthened frame alignment and allowed the internal activists to shape business practices. My study contributes to the literature on corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication by explaining how intraorganizational processes of meaning making may constitute more responsible business practices and by explicating the distinct role of internal activists as agents of organizational transformation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBusiness & Society
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)34-66
Number of pages33
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Corporate responsibility
  • Corporate responsibility communication
  • Frame alignment
  • Interactive framing
  • Internal activists

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