PDW 02 [SWG 10 + 16]: Corporate Social Responsibility and Communication

Andrew Crane
Schulich School of Business, Canada
Mette Morsing
Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Dennis Schoeneborn
Copenhagen Business School, Denmark

Call for Applications

  • Steffen Blaschke, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
  • Jana Costas, European University Viadrina, Germany
  • Frank de Bakker, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Jean-Pascal Gond, Cass Business School, UK
  • Timothy R. Kuhn, University of Colorado at Boulder, USA
  • Dennis K. Mumby, University of North Carolina, USA
  • Guido Palazzo, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Andreas G. Scherer, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • Steen Vallentin, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark


This PDW, jointly hosted by the EGOS Standing Working Groups 10 ("The Changing Role of Business in Global Society") and 16 ("Organization as Communication"), seeks to expand and enrich the body of research on CSR and communication (for a most recent overview, see Crane & Glozer, forthcoming). Specifically, the workshop aims to examine the role of talk and text (including verbal, written, or visual communication) in shaping the nature and meaning of CSR – and how CSR meanings in turn shape such communication. This may include scholarly contributions that will extend our understanding of how rhetoric, narrative, discourse, sensemaking, and other frameworks of meaning are involved in CSR communication.

The existing literature on CSR tends to be – at least implicitly – permeated with a normative or prescriptive stance on CSR communication: either as optimism about how communication of CSR can be used by corporations to foster their reputation and legitimacy (e.g., Sen et al., 2006; Ferrell et al., 2010) – or with a rather skeptical stance (e.g., Roberts, 2003; Banerjee, 2008). However, across both streams of the literature, the prospective, anticipatory, and formative role of communication for CSR has, thus far, rather remained implicit or under-theorized.

More specifically, communicative practices can play an important and formative role, for instance, in constituting networked relationships between business firms and larger society (Castello et al., 2013; Schoeneborn & Trittin, 2013), in driving organizational and social change (Christensen et al., 2013; Haack, Schoeneborn & Wickert, 2012), in constituting new subject relations in the field of CSR (Caruana & Crane, 2008), and enabling sensemaking about what CSR can and cannot be (Basu & Palazzo, 2008). In other words, there is a need to understand better what communication does to CSR and what CSR does to communication. Therefore, in this workshop, we suggest bringing a formative view of communication to the forefront of CSR research.



The workshop will be structured in two main parts. In the first part, the workshop will feature a panel discussion among senior scholars on communication-centered perspectives to study corporate social responsibility. In the second part, participants will have the possibility to discuss and receive feedback regarding their working papers in a workshop setting. Facilitators will be assigned to working papers and discuss the articles in small groups.

Please note that this workshop is linked to a Call for Papers for a Special Issue on "CSR and Communication: Examining how CSR Shapes, and is Shaped by, Talk and Text" by the journal Business & Society. Paper submitters can use the workshop to receive in-depth feedback on how they can further develop their short papers for submission to the Special Issue (or other forms of publication). The detailed Call for Papers can be found on the journal's website: http://bas.sagepub.com/site/includefiles/CSR_Communication.pdf. Acceptance for presentation at the workshop does not guarantee acceptance of the paper for publication in Business & Society.



In this workshop, we aim to bring a formative view of communication to the forefront of CSR research. We invite contributions that take stock of our existing knowledge and advance CSR communication theory through new conceptual considerations (from a broad variety of schools of thought), empirical insights, and critical reflections. To be considered for the workshop, authors will need to submit a short paper via the EGOS website. The workshop should be of special interest for junior faculty scholars as well as PhD students with research ideas under development.

Please submit – via the EGOS website! – a single document of application (.doc, .docx or .pdf file) that includes:

  • On the first page: a cover page including full details of name, address (postal address, phone, and email), and affiliation;
  • A draft/working paper (max. 10 double-spaced pages, incl. references, figures, or tables).



  • Banerjee, S.B. (2008): "Corporate social responsibility: The good, the bad and the ugly." Critical Sociology, 34 (1), 51–79.
  • Basu, K., & Palazzo, G. (2008): "Corporate social responsibility: a process model of sensemaking." Academy of Management Review, 33(1), 122–136.
  • Caruana, R., & Crane, A. (2008): "Constructing consumer responsibility: exploring the role of corporate communications." Organization Studies, 29, 1495–1519.
  • Crane, A., & Glozer, S. (forthcoming): "Researching CSR communication: Themes, opportunities and challenges." Journal of Management Studies.
    Castelló, I., Morsing, M., & Schultz, F. (2013): "Communicative dynamics and the polyphony of corporate social responsibility in the network society." Journal of Business Ethics, 118 (4), 683–694.
  • Christensen, L.T., Morsing M., & Thyssen, O. (2013): "CSR as aspirational talk." Organization, 20 (3), 372–393.
  • Ferrell, O.C., Gonzalez-Padron, T.L., Hult, T.M., & Maignan, I. (2010): "From Market Orientation to Stakeholder Orientation." Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 29 (1), 93–96.
  • Haack, P., Schoeneborn, D., & Wickert, C. (2012): "Talking the talk, moral entrapment, creeping commitment? Exploring narrative dynamics in corporate responsibility standardization." Organization Studies, 33 (5-6), 815–845.
  • Roberts, J. (2003): "The manufacture of corporate social responsibility: Constructing corporate sensibility." Organization, 10 (2), 249–265.
  • Schoeneborn, D., & Trittin, H. (2013): "Transcending transmission: Towards a constitutive perspective on CSR communication." Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 18 (2), 193–211.
  • Sen, S., Bhattacharaya, C.B., & Korschun, D. (2006): "The role of corporate social responsibility in strengthening multiple stakeholder relationships: A field experiment." Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 34 (2), 158–166.


Andrew Crane is the George R. Gardiner Professor of Business Ethics and Director of the Centre of Excellence in Responsible Business at the Schulich School of Business, York University, USA. He is the author or editor of twelve books, including an award-winning textbook on Business Ethics and the “Oxford Handbook of Corporate Social Responsibility”. He has published widely on business ethics and CSR in scholarly management journals, and is the co-editor of ‘Business & Society’.
Mette Morsing is Professor of Communication and CSR at the Centre of Corporate Social Responsibility (cbsCSR), Department of Intercultural Communication and Management, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, and the Co-Director of CBS Sustainability Platform (2011–2016). Her research focuses on organizational communication, identity-image theory and media studies in the context of CSR. She is particularly interested in studying the role of communication for governance of business-society relations. Her research has been published in 'Journal of Management Studies', 'Organization', 'Human Relations', 'Harvard-Deusto Business Review', 'Journal of Business Ethics', 'Management Communication Quarterly' and 'Corporate Governance: The International Journal of Business in Society', among others. She is a Series Editor of the 'Cambridge University Press series' on 'Business, Value Creation and Society' (with Edward Freeman and Jeremy Moon). She has edited eight books and two journal special issues.
Dennis Schoeneborn is Professor (MSO) of Communication, Organization, and CSR at the Centre of Corporate Social Responsibility (cbsCSR), Department of Intercultural Communication and Management, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. His research interests include organization theory, organizational communication, CSR communication, and computer-mediated communication. His current research places a particular emphasis on studying the constitutive and formative role of communication for organizations as responsible social actors. From 2015–2018, he serves as head coordinator of the EGOS Standing Working Group on "Organization as Communication".His works have been published in the 'Academy of Management Review', 'Human Relations', 'Journal of Business Ethics', 'Journal of Management Inquiry', 'Journal of Management Studies', 'Management Communication Quarterly', and 'Organization Studies,' among others. He is also co-editor of the volume "Organization as Communication: Perspectives in Dialogue" (with Steffen Blaschke) that is forthcoming at Taylor & Francis.