Corporate Social Responsibility


In today’s environment, corporate social responsibility has emerged as an important management concept. Publics expect companies to be engaged in responsible activities that make a significant contribution to communities, the environment, and society.

Though corporations have adopted more sustainable and responsible practices, they often struggle to communicate about them effectively. Practitioners find that promoting environmental successes can be risky as they sometimes are met with skepticism or backlash from activist groups. Too, traditional methods of promoting social impacts, community involvement or diversity may be drowned out by the volume of CSR communication in media.  The Arthur W. Page Center has developed an ongoing project to help organizations better address questions regarding CSR communication.

CSR Communication Project

In 2013 the Center funded 10 research projects totaling over $80,000 in grants. The successful grants covered a wide range of topics including diversity, sustainability, CSR reporting, social media, social advocacy, and employee communication.

Jennifer Barlett (Queenland University of Technology) “Successful Communications about Diversity: An investigation into best practices and future trends”

Kati Berg and Sarah Bonewits Feldner (Marquette University) “Communicating the Social Impact of CSR Programs: Analyzing Corporate Discourse in Social Impact”

Sora Kim & Mary Ann Ferguson (University of Florida) “Predictors to Evaluate Effective CSR Communications”

Richard Waters (University of San Francisco) “Communicating the Social Responsibility of Cross-Sector Collaborations: Experimental Analysis of Message Strategies and Credibility”

Denise Bortree (Penn State University) “Communicating Sustainability: The impact of corporate environmental activities on key publics”

Marcia DiStaso & Tina McCorkindale (Penn State University & Applalachian State University) “Does Ethics Matter? An Analysis of How Corporate Social Responsibility Efforts on Facebook Affect Stakeholders Perceptions and Intended Behavior”

Melissa Dodd & Dustin Supa (SUNY Oswego & Boston University) “Corporate Social Responsibility Re-Examined : Measuring the Influence of ‘Corporate Social Advocacy’ Communications on Consumer Purchase Intention”

Ram Kesavan, Oswald Mascarenhas, Michael Bernacchi (University of Detroit Mercy) “Effective global public relations using United Nation’s MDGs: a research proposal”

Jenna Stites (Penn State University) “Seeking Laurels: Building reputations for corporate social and environmental responsibility”

Tom Watson, Anastasios Theofilou, Georgiana Grigore (Bournemouth University) “Employees as CSR Ambassadors: The role of skepticism”

Special Issue of the Public Relations Journal

Work from this grant was featured in a special issue of the Public Relations Journal, published in October 2014.