preference and CSR can be integrated across all touch points, the selective approach is effective when CSR drives preference, but the company has not necessarily implemented CSR successfully across all CSR components and the invisible approach when CSR may play an important strategic or philosophical role but does not constitute a point of differentiation.
A concern often voiced regarding communication of CSR efforts is that it can sometimes have adverse effects. That is, companies that try to gain legitimacy by marketing their CSR efforts, risk being criticized and scrutinized more than companies that do not communicate their CSR efforts.236 This problem is usually related to companies with a pre-existing legitimacy problem and a CSR focus merely draws attention to this.237
5.3.2 Strategic CSR communication Corporate CSR requires a measure of sensitivity to the needs of stakeholders, resulting in a need for
sophisticated CSR communication strategies. Employees, or internal stakeholders, are positively influenced by their employers’ CSR orientation in terms of satisfaction and motivation.238 Internal CSR communication is often underestimated239, and has become increasingly important in order to gain legitimacy from consumers. Conversely, auto-communication240 refers to the fact that all external communication reinforces internal communication – as employees also have access to these external corporate messages. The company should thus design messages that address all stakeholders, because there is a need to combine the expectations of external stakeholders with the internal stakeholder’s need for motivation and identification.
The Morsing & Schultz241 communication model is built on Grunig & Hunt’s traditional PR-model242, but has been further adapted to the needs of CSR communication. The importance of stakeholders, internal as well as external, is emphasized throughout the article. When speaking of external stakeholders, the authors highlight the importance of NGOs. Three different types of strategies for communicating CSR are developed. They are presented briefly below (for summary see Figure 5):
1. Stakeholder Information Strategy The stakeholder information strategy assumes that stakeholders are influential to the company. Therefore the company should inform stakeholders about its good intentions, decisions and actions to ensure positive stakeholder support. A strategic task of stakeholder information strategies is to ensure that favorable corporate CSR decisions and actions are communicated effectively to the company's stakeholders.
2. Stakeholder Response Strategy The stakeholder response strategy is based on a two-way asymmetric communication model. The corporate communication department will typically conduct a market survey to make sense of where the company has improved and can improve its CSR efforts. Communication is seen as feedback in terms of finding out what the public will accept and tolerate. Corporate management will champion and “give sense” to its decisions according to market survey results in which managers “make sense”.
236 237 238 239 240 241 242
Morsing, M. (2006), Ashfort, B. & Gibbs, B. (1990). Ashfort, B. & Gibbs, B. (1990). Aguilera, R. et al (2004), Collier, J. & Esteban, R. (2007), Kohli, A. & Jaworski, B. (1990). Dawkins, J. (2004). Morsing, M. (2006). Morsing, M. & Schultz, S. (2006). Grunig, J. & Hunt, T. (1984).