Timely Hypocrisy? Hypocrisy Temporalities in CSR Communication

Lars Thøger Christensen, Mette Morsing*, Ole Thyssen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Hypocrisy is usually understood as inconsistencies between talk and action. Most research on hypocrisy in the context of corporate social responsibility (CSR) tends to evaluate such inconsistencies in the immediate present, thus disregarding the temporal dynamics of hypocrisy, that is, what hypocrisy might do to organizations and society over time. Taking our point of departure in a performative notion of communication, we present time as an important intervening factor in talk-action relationships. Specifically, we base our discussion on a reflexive conception of time according to which dimensions of the past and the future are inevitably reflected in the ongoing present. On this backdrop, we propose four temporal modes of hypocrisy: aspiration, deferment, evasion, and re-narration. Applying our discussion to the context of CSR, we consider in each mode the performative potential of hypocrisy beyond the immediate presence.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Business Research
Pages (from-to)327-335
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • CSR communication
  • Hypocrisy
  • Reflexive time
  • Talk-action
  • Temporality

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