Exploring CSR Communication Through Corporate Culture in a Global Pharmaceutical Context: A Case Study of Novo Nordisk

Maria del Rocio Rodriguez-Villanueva Coque

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis explores the research question of how corporate social responsibility (CSR) is communicated as part of corporate culture through the case study of the global pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk. The need for this investigation stems from the complexities that characterise CSR activities in the global pharmaceutical industry, coupled with the communication imperative implicit in stakeholder engagement. The literature review lays the foundation of the different understandings of the complex and dynamic concept of. The theoretical framework presents the CSR communication imperative and the tools to analyse the CSR communication approach taken by the case company investigated. The analysis of the qualitative data retrieved through semi-structured interviews and secondary data collection reveals some of the keys explanations for Novo Nordisk’s success as a leading ‘Big Pharma’ actor in the CSR global arena: a complex corporate culture based on stakeholder involvement, strategic engagement with third parties through storytelling, and fruitful knowledge sharing through innovative partnerships. The key findings reflect various ways in which the CSR communication approach is constitutive in its nature, however, factors such as the challenging imbalances that exist in stakeholder power dynamics, the distinction of clear organisational boundaries, the strategic nature of CSR communication and the challenge of CSR communication integration across functions in an organisation, all account for a complex case of CSR communication that does not fit into a constitutive approach. By revealing the complexities of communicating CSR as part of corporate culture albeit through the case study of a successful frontrunner in the global pharmaceutical context, this investigation sheds light on the need for further exploring the enactment of CSR communication through organisational corporate culture.

EducationsCand.ling.merc Erhvervssprog og International Erhvervskommunikation (Multikulturel Kommunikation i Organisationer), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages118