Article

Helpful hypocrisy? Investigating ‘double-talk’ and irony in CSR marketing communications

Authors:
  • Stockholm School of Economics, Copenhagen Business School
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Abstract

Conventional definitions of corporate hypocrisy focus on decoupling talk and action; incidences where an organization's ‘talk’ does not match its ‘walk’. However, in the context of corporate social responsibility (CSR), marketing communications are often aspirational and hence prone to accusations of hypocrisy. We therefore ask: is hypocrisy always undesirable? This case-informed conceptual paper draws upon the Diesel ‘Global Warming Ready’ campaign to investigate how humor – specifically irony – elevates conventional understandings of hypocrisy towards what we term ‘helpful hypocrisy’; the mobilization of critical reflection on complex ambiguities of CSR in non-moralizing ways. In doing so, we distinguish between idealized ‘single-talk’ and extended ‘double-talk’. We develop an analytical model to help analyze the layers of double-talk in the context of ironic CSR marketing communications, and we construct a conceptual model that explains the role of double-talk and irony. Based on our research, we propose an agenda for future research.

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... For example, in light of the major role advertising plays in raising awareness of the need for environmental sustainability (Bachnik & Nowacki, 2018), coupled with the need for longer-term behavioral change, investigations could examine whether Chutzpadik advertising is useful in drawing attention to environmental issues (see e.g. Glozer & Morsing, 2020). Our research provides a foundation to expect such campaigns to be more effective if they incorporate, for example, norm-violating and novel executions, rather than a high level of audacity. ...
... Our research provides a foundation to expect such campaigns to be more effective if they incorporate, for example, norm-violating and novel executions, rather than a high level of audacity. Glozer and Morsing's (2020) work also outlines the performative role of (perceived) humor in advertising contexts, which offers another fruitful research direction. Humor is known to modulate people's attention (Hildebrand & Smith, 2014). ...
... Humor is known to modulate people's attention (Hildebrand & Smith, 2014). In advertising contexts, humor can grab people's attention as well as provoke longer-term, critical thinking (Glozer & Morsing, 2020), paralleling Chutzpadik advertising's raison d'être. In turn, it is plausible (perceived) humor interacts with the dimensions of Chutzpadik advertising, such that advertising effectiveness is differentially affected (cf. ...
Article
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... However, according to Farooq and Salam (2020, p. 2) the fundamental concept of social well-being and societal benefit has always remained embraced in all the different definitions of CSR as a core objective of it's implementation at company level (Chintrakarn et al., 2021;Kim and Lee, 2020;Popkova et al., 2021). However, Ting (2020) has noted that CSR implementation policy of large firms is not more than just paying a lip service to the main philosophy of CSR Glozer and Morsing, 2019). In this regard, Ting (2020) further argues that in most of the cases CSR implementation policy is designed in such a way which is self-serving to organizations' own corporate and commercialization goals (Chintrakarn et al., 2021;Farooq and Salam, 2020;Glozer and Morsing, 2019). ...
... However, Ting (2020) has noted that CSR implementation policy of large firms is not more than just paying a lip service to the main philosophy of CSR Glozer and Morsing, 2019). In this regard, Ting (2020) further argues that in most of the cases CSR implementation policy is designed in such a way which is self-serving to organizations' own corporate and commercialization goals (Chintrakarn et al., 2021;Farooq and Salam, 2020;Glozer and Morsing, 2019). Hence, in most of the corporations practical application of CSR is not in harmony with the Bowen's (1953, p. 6) philosophy (i.e. as depicted in the aforementioned definition of CSR), which was primarily aimed to befit the desirable societal objectives and concerns (Barbosa and de Oliveira, 2021;Farooq and Salam, 2020;Glozer and Morsing, 2019;Ting, 2020). ...
... In this regard, Ting (2020) further argues that in most of the cases CSR implementation policy is designed in such a way which is self-serving to organizations' own corporate and commercialization goals (Chintrakarn et al., 2021;Farooq and Salam, 2020;Glozer and Morsing, 2019). Hence, in most of the corporations practical application of CSR is not in harmony with the Bowen's (1953, p. 6) philosophy (i.e. as depicted in the aforementioned definition of CSR), which was primarily aimed to befit the desirable societal objectives and concerns (Barbosa and de Oliveira, 2021;Farooq and Salam, 2020;Glozer and Morsing, 2019;Ting, 2020). Thereby, in the d'etat race of commercialism the feisty elements of care for "society" and the pivotal concept of social welfare, which were a hallmark of the implementation of CSR are now lost somewhere in-between Glozer and Morsing, 2019;Liao and Mak, 2019;Ting, 2020;Yang et al., 2020). ...
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... Based on the institution-based view of international business, EMNCs that conduct cross-border acquisitions in the developed markets are likely to adopt the host market's CSR practices to gain legitimacy in the host market (Liou & Lamb, 2018;Tashman et al., 2019). However, given the lack of a strong formal institutional pressure for adopting CSR practices in their home emerging economy, EMNCs' adoption of CSR may be a symbolic gesture in the host market and does not translate into a substantial improvement of the EMNCs' CSRP (Dahlin, Ekman, Röndell, & Pesämaa, 2020;Glozer & Morsing, 2020;Marano et al., 2017). In particular, given the less apparent economic benefit associated with CSR, EMNCs may not have the motivation to adopt substantive CSR practices in the developed markets and transfer their learned CSR practices to improve their post-acquisition CSRP (Hahn, Pinkse, Preuss, & Figge, 2016;Marano et al., 2017). ...
... It is the second dominant community to have a size of 41.32% hashtags in the network. The third community is 'reputation management', which comprised 13,88% of hashtags; this community perceives CSR as a marketing tool, as reported by previous studies [85,86]. This community is focused on business, marketing and awareness, etc. Visual analysis (see Figure 4) allowed us to identify the boundaries of individual communities, whereby the smallest community of 'reputation management' was partially embedded in the community 'social and environmental responsibility'. ...
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... ; Angus-Leppan et al. (2010a); Joutsenvirta (2011); Muller & Kräussl (2011); Reinecke & Ansari (2015); Skilton & Purdy (2017); Sorour, Boadu, & Soobaroyen (in press) Example of works relying on other conceptual frameworks to approach actors' meaning creation processes: Lange & Washburn (2012); Herzig & Moon (2013); Ioannou & Serafeim (2015); Crilly, Hansen, & Zollo (2016); Crilly, Ni, & Jiang (2016); Viveros (2016); Hawn, Chatterji, & Mitchell (2018); Laskin (2018); Barkemeyer, Faugère, Gergaud, & Preuss (2020); Skouloudis, Evangelinos, & Malesios(2015);Glozer & Morsing (2020) ...
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... Based on the institution-based view of international business, EMNCs that conduct cross-border acquisitions in the developed markets are likely to adopt the host market's CSR practices to gain legitimacy in the host market (Liou & Lamb, 2018;Tashman et al., 2019). However, given the lack of a strong formal institutional pressure for adopting CSR practices in their home emerging economy, EMNCs' adoption of CSR may be a symbolic gesture in the host market and does not translate into a substantial improvement of the EMNCs' CSRP (Dahlin, Ekman, Röndell, & Pesämaa, 2020;Glozer & Morsing, 2020;Marano et al., 2017). In particular, given the less apparent economic benefit associated with CSR, EMNCs may not have the motivation to adopt substantive CSR practices in the developed markets and transfer their learned CSR practices to improve their post-acquisition CSRP (Hahn, Pinkse, Preuss, & Figge, 2016;Marano et al., 2017). ...
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Many emerging market multinational corporations (EMNCs) acquire firms in developed markets to attain advanced technology and managerial know-how. However, adopting socially responsible practices may not show immediate financial returns and thus, are potentially overlooked. Given the lack of formal institutions to enforce socially responsible practices in their home country, EMNCs have discretion in improving their post-acquisition corporate social responsibility performance (CSRP). This study extends the institution-based view on EMNCs’ internationalization and investigates how informal institutions, specifically home country cultures, affect EMNCs’ post-acquisition CSRP. Studying a sample of EMNCs’ acquisitions in the U.S., we find that EMNCs’ home country cultures exert “imprinting” effects that enable or discourage their post-acquisition CSRP. Uncertainty avoidance and power distance are positively related to the improvement of EMNCs’ CSRP, while individualism has a marginally negative relationship. Post-hoc analysis suggests that compared to manufacturing firms, service firms are more susceptible to the cultural imprinting effects.
... In one extant qualitative study on corporate hypocrisy, Fassin and Buelens [20] studied hypocrisy and sincerity on a continuum in the context that the business world is nuanced, not just black and white, and in another, Jauernig and Valentinov [21] introduced hypocrisy avoidance approach by considering a positive role of skepticism. Glozer and Morsing [22] aimed to answer the question of whether hypocrisy is always undesirable, and Wagner et al. conducted a later study [23], in which they furthered the conceptualization of corporate hypocrisy by classifying it as moral or behavioral. ...
Article
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What happens first between a corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication and a crisis can result in different levels of perceived cognitive dissonance and corporate hypocrisy depending on whether there is information inconsistency between the CSR communication and the crisis. This paper presents the findings from an experimental study and an online survey conducted and administered to investigate the contingency influence on consumer perceptions in response to inconsistent information. The results indicate that consumers experience greater cognitive dissonance and perceive more corporate hypocrisy when they are exposed, first, to a CSR initiative and then to a crisis, than when the order is reversed, provided that the CSR initiative and the crisis are congruent with the same social issue. However, there are no significant differences when the CSR initiative is incongruent with the crisis. Further, the findings of the study suggest that consumer cognitive dissonance not only directly influences the perceived corporate reputation, but also indirectly affects the perceived corporate reputation through a mediating effect of perceived corporate hypocrisy. The theoretical contribution of this study lies in providing a better understanding of consumer perceptions (including cognitive dissonance, perceived corporate hypocrisy and corporate reputation) in response to inconsistent CSR information. Meanwhile, the managerial contribution of this study stands by providing insights into the use of CSR communication strategies.
... The scholars noted that the green claims of many corporate businesses apparently contradict best practices in CSR and international sustainability guidelines of the (OECD), the United Nations and local sustainability reporting documents. This unethical behaviour is worrisome, hence firms manifesting this tendency have been referred to using several terminologies such as 'the helpful hypocrites', 'the rogue corporation', 'the scrooge posing as Mother Teresa' and hypocritical organisations within the CSR literature (Scheidler et al., 2019;Babu, De Roeck & Raineri, 2020;Glozer and Morsing, 2020). ...
Chapter
This chapter explores the contrary views on CSR activities of financial institutions by drawing attention to the purported chameleon behavior of banks in promoting various CSR programs, adopting equator principles in lending activity, conducting financial education campaigns to increase the degree of financial inclusion of the population versus the claim about deceptive promotional techniques, practicing abusive contractual clauses in order to maximize profits at the expense of consumers. The chapter is distinguished by the critical attitude towards the behavior of FTNCs which knows significant differences depending on the area of manifestation – in the country of origin or in the host countries, developing countries. In addition, these entities take advantage of international instruments set up such as the equator principles or non-financial reporting standards to create a positive image among stakeholders, although their behavior is not socially responsible.
... Companies positioned in the second quadrant (no disclosure about the scandal, but description of remedial actions) and in the fourth quadrant (disclosure of the scandal, but no illustration of actions or strategies that allow to restore a company's image) can be labeled as potential hypocrites. In fact, a difference between claims and actions would emerge in the former case (a company that speaks about remedial actions but does not admit fault and does not refer to the scandal), while in the latter case, a company might want to appear moral by disclosing information about the scandal but not bearing the costs related to the remedial actions needed (Batson et al., 2006), reflecting a decoupling between talk and action (Glozer and Morsing, 2020;Wagner et al., 2009). However, companies in the first quadrant (full disclosure of the scandal and the related remedial actions) may also be AAAJ 34,9 considered hypocritical if the actions depicted are not coherently implemented (Brunsson, 1989). ...
Article
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Purpose This study contributes to the literature on hypocrisy in corporate social responsibility by investigating how organizations adapt their nonfinancial disclosure after a social, environmental or governance scandal. Design/methodology/approach The present research employs content analysis of nonfinancial disclosures by 11 organizations during a 3-year timespan to investigate how they responded to major scandals in terms of social, environmental and sustainability reporting and a content analysis of independent counter accounts to detect the presence of views that contrast with the corporate disclosure and suggest hypocritical behaviors. Findings Four patterns in the adaptation of reporting – genuine, allusive, evasive, indifferent – emerge from information collected on scandals and socially responsible actions. The type of scandal and cultural factors can influence the response to a scandal, as environmental and social scandal can attract more scrutiny than financial scandals. Companies exposed to environmental and social scandals are more likely to disclose information about the scandal and receive more coverage by external parties in the form of counter accounts. Originality/value Using a theoretical framework based on legitimacy theory and organizational hypocrisy, the present research contributes to the investigation of the adaptation of reporting when a scandal occurs and during its aftermath.
... A first stream relates to the Communicative Constitution of Organization (CCO) perspective, where the performative nature of CR communication is in focus and studies "ascribe to communication a constitutive role in creating, maintaining, and transforming [CR] practices" (Schoeneborn et al., 2020, p. 5). Positive effects of CR as aspirational talk (Christensen et al., 2013) and the role of irony in CR marketing communication (Glozer & Morsing, 2020) have notably been studied, and the neglected 'dark side' of the constitutive potential of CR communication has also been expanded upon (Morsing & Spence, 2019). In a second stream, it is CR arrangements and CR beliefs that are seen as performative. ...
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... This process may affect stakeholders' perception of corporate sincerity and cause them to doubt that the company honestly discloses information and honors its promises (Jahn & Brühl, 2019). In other words, difficult information processing can elicit perceived hypocrisy, which represents a systematic decoupling between talk and action (Glozer & Morsing, 2020). Hypocrisy perception often resides in stakeholders' belief that CSR communication is merely an opportunistic tactic to obtain public acceptance (Antonetti et al., 2021). ...
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... Thematic line #5 comprises the studies of CSR communication and the relationship with social media. Several studies point out that the way the organization communicates its CSR actions presents interesting gaps, as found in the article by [128], which treats humor and irony as a communicative resource. Can marketing communication, as an important resource, enhance the impact of CSR actions? ...
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... Decoupling is relevant for machinewashing research, particularly to observe formal AI policies adopted by technology corporations concerning their daily business conduct. CSR and greenwashing research highlight the need to study talk action dynamics and, in light of aspirational CSR talk (Christensen et al., 2020a(Christensen et al., , 2020bGlozer & Morsing, 2020). Firms' resources dedicated to ethical AI may have limited or no relation to their intended AI goals. ...
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... Thematic line #5 comprises the studies of CSR communication and the relationship with social media. Several studies point out that the way the organization communicates its CSR actions presents interesting gaps, as found in the article by [128], which treats humor and irony as a communicative resource. Can marketing communication, as an important resource, enhance the impact of CSR actions? ...
Article
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... The scholars noted that the green claims of many corporate businesses apparently contradict best practices in CSR and international sustainability guidelines of the (OECD), the United Nations and local sustainability reporting documents. This unethical behaviour is worrisome, hence firms manifesting this tendency have been referred to using several terminologies such as 'the helpful hypocrites', 'the rogue corporation', 'the scrooge posing as Mother Teresa' and hypocritical organisations within the CSR literature (Scheidler et al., 2019;Babu, De Roeck & Raineri, 2020;Glozer and Morsing, 2020). ...
Chapter
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Reports of firms' behaviors with regard to corporate social responsibility (CSR) are often contrary to their stated standards of social responsibility. This research examines the effects of communication strategies a firm can use to mitigate the impact of these inconsistencies on consumer perceptions of corporate hypocrisy and subsequent beliefs about the firm's social responsibility and attitudes toward the firm. Study 1 indicates that a proactive communication strategy (when the firm's CSR statements precede conflicting observed behavior) leads to higher levels of perceived hypocrisy than a reactive strategy (when the firm's CSR statements follow observed behavior). The inconsistent information in both scenarios increases perceptions of hypocrisy, such that CSR statements can actually be counterproductive. Study 1 also reveals how perceived hypocrisy damages consumers' attitudes toward firms by negatively affecting CSR beliefs and provides evidence for the mediating role of hypocrisy during information processing. Study 2 finds that varying CSR policy statement abstractness acts to reduce the hidden risk of proactive communication strategies and can improve the effectiveness of a reactive strategy. Study 3 reveals that an inoculation communication strategy reduces perceived hypocrisy and minimizes its negative consequences, regardless of whether the CSR strategy is proactive or reactive.
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Scholars are divided over the question of whether managerial aspirational talk that contradicts current business practices can contribute to corporate social responsibility (CSR). In this conceptual article, we explore the rhetorical dynamics of aspirational talk that either impede or foster CSR. We argue that self-persuasive CSR rhetoric, as one enactment of aspirational talk, can attract attention and scrutiny from organizational members. Continued adherence to this rhetoric, however, creates and perpetuates tensions that lead to a vicious circle of disengagement. A virtuous circle, by contrast, requires a shift toward an agonistic rhetoric that transcends tensions by rearticulating aspirations in concurrence with situated understandings of responsible corporate practice. Our arguments contribute to a better understanding of how communication becomes constitutive of CSR and address the debate on decoupling between talk and action.
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This essay aims to “materialize” organizational communication in three senses. First, we seek to make the field of study bearing this name more tangible for North American management scholars, such that recognition and engagement become common. To do so, we trace the development of the field’s major contribution thus far: the communication‐as‐constitutive principle, which highlights how communication generates defining realities of organizational life, such as culture, power, networks, and the structure–agency relation. Second, we argue that this promising contribution cannot easily find traction in management studies until it becomes “materialized” in another sense: that is, accountable to the materiality evident in organizational objects, sites, and bodies. By synthesizing current moves in this direction, we establish the basis for sustained exchange between management studies and the communication‐as‐constitutive model. Third, we demonstrate how these conceptual developments can “materialize” in empirical study, proposing three streams of research designed to examine communication as a central organizing process that manages the intersection of symbolic and material worlds.
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Political humor is ubiquitous in some contexts and forbidden in others, and yet scholars have described political humor as unreliable and attempts to control its meaning as futile. How do speakers design political humor to influence audiences, and why do they expect those designs to work? We argue that speakers design persuasive political humor by making visible their intent and undertaking obligations to act in accord with specific norms. We explain how designs constrain audiences from discounting the message as just a joke and create reasons to scrutinize arguments.
Chapter
Words and Deeds in an Era of Transparency and Accountability: Mind the GapThe Communication Paradox: Mind the GapStages of Corporate Citizenship and Communications StrategiesTough Demands from StakeholdersConclusion: Facing the Paradox of Communicating Corporate ResponsibilityReferences
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Research on frames in climate change (CC) news coverage has advanced substantially over the past decade, but the emerging understanding of the framing role of visual imagery that often accompanies news texts remains fragmented. We report on a set of image frames identified through content analysis of 350 images associated with 200 news articles from 11 US newspaper and magazine sources from 1969 through late 2009. We reliably identified and quantified the occurrence of 118 image themes. We then hierarchically clustered the themes based on their co-occurrence in images to identify an integrated framework of 42 image frames. We highlight frames associated with particular types of images (e.g., photographs and maps) or geographic regions. From among the full set of frames, we identify 15 that commonly appear in US CC news imagery and discuss the ways in which image frames make salient (or render invisible) particular categories of people, geographic regions, aspects of science, and spheres of activity.
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This study focuses on the perceived effectiveness of political satire. A pair of experimental studies using original satirical works offer findings for audience perceptions regarding two types of satire, juvenalian and horatian, compared to traditional opinion-editorial argumentation. The two studies produced replicable findings that indicate clear perceptions of persuasive intent associated with both types of satire, and horatian satire ranking lower than traditional opinion-editorials in perceived message strength and perceived influence on self.
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This study compares the reactions towards shock advertising in for-profit (FP) and not-for-profit (NFP) organizations. Although the use of shocking advertisements is a growing phenomenon, the findings regarding the effectiveness of such advertisements remain mixed. Moreover, there is little consideration of the use of these tactics in different organizational contexts and the effect on the consumer. A qualitative methodology was adopted and included the use of focus groups to explore the attitudes and emotional reactions of a range of individuals. The shocking images from both the NFP and FP organizations were deemed successful at capturing the audience's attention. Some images were more ‘shocking’ than others, whereas some were more effective at drawing attention to the product or the cause. Importantly, the use of shock advertising was perceived to be justifiable in the NFP sector but much less so in the FP sector. Reactions were somewhat influenced by both religion and gender; however, it was apparent that this sample were inherently more accepting of shock advertising than expected. Despite the apparent immunity of today's youth to shock tactics, this study found that there are still themes that are considered inappropriate in FP and NFP sectors; these include the use of religious taboos or morally offensive images. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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This research assesses possible associations between viewing fake news (i.e., political satire) and attitudes of inefficacy, alienation, and cynicism toward political candidates. Using survey data collected during the 2006 Israeli election campaign, the study provides evidence for an indirect positive effect of fake news viewing in fostering the feelings of inefficacy, alienation, and cynicism, through the mediator variable of perceived realism of fake news. Within this process, hard news viewing serves as a moderator of the association between viewing fake news and their perceived realism. It was also demonstrated that perceived realism of fake news is stronger among individuals with high exposure to fake news and low exposure to hard news than among those with high exposure to both fake and hard news. Overall, this study contributes to the scientific knowledge regarding the influence of the interaction between various types of media use on political effects.
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In January 2011, uprisings and demonstrations broke out in Egypt, and the reverberations of the revolution are felt up to this day. The events that lead President Hosni Mubarak to resign were violent, disturbing, and definitely serious, but at the same time they were fuelled by and caused a plethora of jokes and funny slogans which circulated among the protesters. Previous studies on the functions of humour have suggested that among other things, humour can be used to enhance group cohesion by lifting up the spirits or to attack the (political) enemy by sharp sarcasm, the duality of which is captured in the metaphors of a shield and a sword. The present article builds upon "Stripping the Boss: The Powerful Role of Humor in the Egyptian Revolution 2011" by Helmy and Frerichs (2013), offering another perspective on the functionality Egyptian political jokes grounded in the current sociological approaches to humour. It aims to argue that humour as an ambiguous phenomenon is unreliable in reaching serious aims and thus cannot be conceptualised as a predictably functioning tool in conflicts, although it can sometimes give insights into the functioning of a society as a mirror of the social reality.
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The aims of this introduction are to define the field of Corporate Social Responsibility communication, to emphasize the role of communicating CSR and briefly to describe different perspectives on CSR communication. In the second part, I review the papers in this special issue and stress the importance of different perspectives in CSR communication.
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The potential of consumption to figure as a site of political agency is now recognized by both corporate capitalism and its No Logo opposition. Many now also accept that the pursuit of consumerist lifestyles is the major contributor to ecological crisis. This article argues the importance in this context of recognizing the impact and longer term implications of some emerging forms of self-interested disaffection with consumerism on the part of affluent consumers themselves. For a small, but arguably growing number of these, consumerism is now compromised by its specific displeasures (stress, congestion, pollution, ill-health..) and seen as actively pre-empting other more rewarding ways of living. The 'alternative hedonism' implicit in these forms of consumer ambivalence is analysed with a view to disentangling its perspective from either the more didactic (and often overly naturalistic) conceptions of need and satisfaction offered by some Marxist strands of cultural theory, and from the post-modernist celebrations of consumer culture as a resource for the pleasures of fantasy, fashion and self-styling. In pressing the case for the development of a new 'hedonist imaginary' with which to subvert current perceptions of the attractions of a consumerist material culture, the article also considers the possible contribution of cultural and artistic activities to the formation of an anti-consumerist aesthetic.
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Recent research has shifted attention from brand producers and products toward consumer response and services to understand brand value creation. Often missing from these insights, however, is a focus on cultural processes that affect contemporary brands, including historical context, ethical concerns, and representational conventions. A brand culture perspective reveals how branding has opened up to include interdisciplinary research that both complements and complicates economic and managerial analysis of branding. If brands exist as cultural, ideological, and political objects, then brand researchers require tools developed to understand culture, ideology, and politics, in conjunction with more typical branding concepts, such as equity, strategy, and value.
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Humor and laughter are emotion-involving activities that can be jointly constructed in interaction. This article analyzes instances of joint laughter in leader-member meetings where laughter may or may not be associated with humor. The method applied is conversation analysis in which the focus lies on laughter's role in the microlevel organization of interaction. The results show that the instances of laughter do not occur in accidental locations but are clearly connected to specific activities. First, humor and laughter can be strategically used by team leaders to create collegiality and a good working atmosphere in their teams. Second, laughing together is connected to closing down a topic or a phase in a meeting in a way that displays mutual understanding. Third, shared laughter initiated by team members appears to be a resource that can be used to reduce tension in challenging situations such as the accomplishment of difficult tasks or the treatment of delicate topics. Finally, laughing together can be used to do remedial work in problematic or conflicting situations. Ultimately, joint laughter appears to be a resource that can be used to improve the task performance and, through this, the achievement of the goals of the organization.
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In the face of marketp ace polls that attest to the increasing influence of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on consumers' purchase behavior, this article examines when, how, and for whom specific CSR initiatives work. The findings implicate both company-specific factors, such as the CSR issues a company chooses to focus on and the quality of its products, and individual-specific factors, such as consumers' personal support for the CSR issues and their general beliefs about CSR, as key moderators of consumers' responses to CSR. The results also highlight the mediating role of consumers' perceptions of congruence between their own characters and that of the company in their reactions to its CSR initiatives. More specifically, the authors find that CSR initiatives can, under certain conditions, decrease consumers' intentions to buy a company's products.
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This paper argues that while most teachers, researchers, and practitioners of organizational communication encourage clarity, a critical examination of communication processes in organizations reveals that clarity is both non‐normative and not a sensible standard against which to gauge individual or organizational effectiveness. People in organizations confront multiple situational requirements, develop multiple and often conflicting goals, and respond with communicative strategies which do not always minimize ambiguity, but are nonetheless effective. Strategic ambiguity is essential to organizing in that it: (1) promotes unified diversity, (2) facilitates organizational change, and (3) amplifies existing source attributions and preserves privileged positions.
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Drawing on strategic corporate social responsibility (CSR) and reputation theory, this paper examines the market reaction to firm disclosures of involvement in the US stock option backdating scandal. We examine how a firm's prior signals regarding ethical behaviour and values, as demonstrated through CSR initiatives, may both ameliorate and exacerbate market reactions. CSR initiatives may buffer a firm against general wrong‐doing but expose it to greater scrutiny and sanction for related wrong‐doing. Our results show that firms with enhanced overall reputations for CSR are partially buffered from scandal revelations. However, we find that when firms possess an enhanced reputation for CSR associated with corporate governance, violations pertaining specifically to governance are viewed as hypocritical and more harshly sanctioned. We also find lower and negative market reactions for firms that delay but self‐disclose their involvement in the scandal. The study extends the emergent, related literatures on strategic CSR and reputation management, and documents dynamics in the relationship between corporate social and financial performance.
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Purpose – To review the history of “green marketing” since the early 1990s and to provide a critique of both theory and practice in order to understand how the marketing discipline may yet contribute to progress towards greater sustainability. Design/methodology/approach – The paper examines elements of green marketing theory and practice over the past 15 years by employing the logic of the classic paper from 1985 “Has marketing failed, or was it never really tried” of seeking to identify “false marketings” that have hampered progress. Findings – That much of what has been commonly referred to as “green marketing” has been underpinned by neither a marketing, nor an environmental, philosophy. Five types of misconceived green marketing are identified and analysed: green spinning, green selling, green harvesting, enviropreneur marketing and compliance marketing. Practical implications – Provides an alternative viewpoint on a much researched, but still poorly understood area of marketing, and explains why the anticipated “green revolution” in marketing prefaced by market research findings, has not more radically changed products and markets in practice. Originality/value – Helps readers to understand why progress towards a more sustainable economy has proved so difficult, and outlines some of the more radical changes in thought and practice that marketing will need to adopt before it can make a substantive contribution towards greater sustainability.
Article
The compelling power of humor makes it a recurrent topic for research in many fields, including communication. Three theories of humor creation emerge in humor research: the relief theory, which focuses on physiological release of tension; the incongruity theory, singling out violations of a rationally learned pattern; and the superiority theory, involving a sense of victory or triumph. Each theory helps to explain the creation of different aspects of humor, but each runs into problems explaining rhetorical applications of humor. Because each theory of humor origin tries to explain all instances of humor, the diverging communication effects of humor remain unexplained. Humor's enactment leads to 4 basic functions of humor in communication. Two tend to unite communicators: the identification and the clarification functions. The other 2 tend to divide 1 set of communicators from others: the enforcement and differentiation functions. Exploration of these effects-based functions of humor will clarify understanding of its use in messages. Humor use unites communicators through mutual identification and clarification of positions and values, while dividing them through enforcement of norms and differentiation of acceptable versus unacceptable behaviors or people. This paradox in the functions of humor in communication as, alternately, a unifier and divider, allows humor use to delineate social boundaries.