Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

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


Author Info

  • Shuili Du


  • Edward Vieira


Registered author(s):


    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

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Bibliographic Info

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

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

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:110:y:2012:i:4:p:413-427

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page:

    Related research

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


    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Uwafiokun Idemudia, 2009. "Oil Extraction and Poverty Reduction in the Niger Delta: A Critical Examination of Partnership Initiatives," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, Springer, vol. 90(1), pages 91-116, May.
    2. Ye Cai & Hoje Jo & Carrie Pan, 2012. "Doing Well While Doing Bad? CSR in Controversial Industry Sectors," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, Springer, vol. 108(4), pages 467-480, July.
    3. Luis Escobar & Harrie Vredenburg, 2011. "Multinational Oil Companies and the Adoption of Sustainable Development: A Resource-Based and Institutional Theory Interpretation of Adoption Heterogeneity," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, Springer, vol. 98(1), pages 39-65, January.
    4. Deighton, John & Romer, Daniel & McQueen, Josh, 1989. " Using Drama to Persuade," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(3), pages 335-43, December.
    5. Shuili Du & C. B. Bhattacharya & Sankar Sen, 2011. "Corporate Social Responsibility and Competitive Advantage: Overcoming the Trust Barrier," Management Science, INFORMS, INFORMS, vol. 57(9), pages 1528-1545, March.
    6. Ronald Hill & Thomas Ainscough & Todd Shank & Daryl Manullang, 2007. "Corporate Social Responsibility and Socially Responsible Investing: A Global Perspective," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, Springer, vol. 70(2), pages 165-174, January.
    7. Mangold, W. Glynn & Faulds, David J., 2009. "Social media: The new hybrid element of the promotion mix," Business Horizons, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 357-365, July.
    8. Shuili Du & Sankar Sen & C. B. Bhattacharya, 2008. "Exploring the Social and Business Returns of a Corporate Oral Health Initiative Aimed at Disadvantaged Hispanic Families," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(3), pages 483-494, 04.
    9. Guido Palazzo & Andreas Scherer, 2006. "Corporate Legitimacy as Deliberation: A Communicative Framework," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, Springer, vol. 66(1), pages 71-88, June.
    10. Shawnee K. Vickery & Cornelia Droge & Theodore P. Stank & Thomas J. Goldsby & Robert E. Markland, 2004. "The Performance Implications of Media Richness in a Business-to-Business Service Environment: Direct Versus Indirect Effects," Management Science, INFORMS, INFORMS, vol. 50(8), pages 1106-1119, August.
    11. Mahoney, Joseph & McGahan, Anita & Pitelis, Christos, 2009. "The Interdependence of Private and Public Interests," Papers, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) DYNREG40, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    12. Crowley, Ayn E & Hoyer, Wayne D, 1994. " An Integrative Framework for Understanding Two-Sided Persuasion," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 561-74, March.
    13. Richard L. Daft & Robert H. Lengel, 1986. "Organizational Information Requirements, Media Richness and Structural Design," Management Science, INFORMS, INFORMS, vol. 32(5), pages 554-571, May.
    14. Hong, Harrison & Kacperczyk, Marcin, 2009. "The price of sin: The effects of social norms on markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 15-36, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    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.


    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


    Access and download statistics


    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:110:y:2012:i:4:p:413-427. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn) or (Christopher F. Baum).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.