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Striving for Legitimacy Through Corporate Social Responsibility: Insights from Oil Companies

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  • Shuili Du

    ()

  • Edward Vieira

    ()

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    Abstract

    Being a controversial industry, oil companies turn to corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a means to obtain legitimacy. Adopting a case study methodology, this research examines the characteristics of CSR strategies and CSR communication tactics of six oil companies by analyzing their 2011–2012 web site content. We found that all six companies engaged in CSR activities addressing the needs of various stakeholders and had cross-sector partnerships. CSR information on these companies’ web sites was easily accessible, often involving the use of multimedia technologies and sometimes social media platforms. Furthermore, to boost the credibility of their CSR messages, these companies utilized a variety of tactics, such as factual arguments and two-sided messages. In sum, this research unveils the interconnectedness among business strategy, CSR practices, and CSR communication in oil companies’ attempt to gain legitimacy in an environment of controversy. The article ends with a discussion of the theoretical and practical implications of the research findings. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Business Ethics.

    Volume (Year): 110 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 4 (November)
    Pages: 413-427

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:110:y:2012:i:4:p:413-427

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    Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100281

    Related research

    Keywords: Corporate social responsibility; Communication; Legitimacy; Oil industry; Controversial industries; Corporate website;

    References

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    Cited by:
    1. Jon Reast & François Maon & Adam Lindgreen & Joëlle Vanhamme, 2013. "Legitimacy-Seeking Organizational Strategies in Controversial Industries: A Case Study Analysis and a Bidimensional Model," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, Springer, vol. 118(1), pages 139-153, November.
    2. Giuliano, Genevieve & Linder, Alison, 2013. "Motivations for self-regulation: The clean air action plan," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 513-522.
    3. Hsin-Hsuan Lee & Willemijn Dolen & Ans Kolk, 2013. "On the Role of Social Media in the ‘Responsible’ Food Business: Blogger Buzz on Health and Obesity Issues," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, Springer, vol. 118(4), pages 695-707, December.
    4. Edmund Byrne, 2014. "Towards Enforceable Bans on Illicit Businesses: From Moral Relativism to Human Rights," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, Springer, vol. 119(1), pages 119-130, January.
    5. Treviño, Linda Klebe & den Nieuwenboer, Niki A. & Kreiner, Glen E. & Bishop, Derron G., 2014. "Legitimating the legitimate: A grounded theory study of legitimacy work among Ethics and Compliance Officers," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 123(2), pages 186-205.

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