A4 Conference proceedings

Corporate Activism: Exploring Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Communication

Publication Details
Authors: Olkkonen Laura, Jääskeläinen Jannica
Publication year: 2019
Language: English
Title of parent publication: Academy of Management Proceedings
Volume number: 2019
Issue number: 1
ISSN: 2151-6561
JUFO-Level of this publication: 0
Open Access: Not an Open Access publication


Recently, companies have started to take visible and vocal stances on debated socio-political issues, and received surges of both negative and positive feedback for doing so. This phenomenon, referred to as corporate activism or corporate (social) advocacy, is spreading across different cultural regions, and becoming a pressing public expectation for companies’ corporate social responsibility (CSR). This paper conceptualizes activism and situates it in existing CSR research. Empirically, we analyze the social media communication of a Finnish textile company Finlayson, known for their activist campaigns and often titled as a corporate activist in the media. Our analysis covers the Facebook posts of Finlayson for a duration of two years, consisting of 345 posts. Based on a two-step qualitative analysis (theme and frame analysis) we study (1) What themes does Finlayson’s CSR communication cover and (2) How does Finlayson frame their CSR communication. We identify four communication frames in our material: informative, aspirational, participatory, and mobilizing. We elaborate especially on the mobilizing frame, as it includes the most apparent activist elements. Finally, we discuss the relevance of corporate activism for CSR theory, and whether there is a need to expand political CSR to include confrontational political participation, conceptualized as activist CSR.

Last updated on 2020-21-01 at 11:55