Corporate Social Responsibility: The link between alignment and legitimacy of commitment, outcomes and communication

Corporate Social Responsibility: The link between alignment and legitimacy
of commitment, outcomes and communication
Abstract
Corporate Social Responsibility is proliferate in corporate communications; amid increasing scrutiny
and stakeholder expectations, organisations are increasingly investing in their social image and
reputiation.
Analysis of Corporate Social Responsibility communications by two Australian mining organisations
highlights the different approaches to building corporate legitimacy, and the importance of not only
being seen to do the right thing, but delivering on commitments through tangible outcomes. The
findings highlight that failure to align commitment, outcomes and communication could have the
reverse effect, and negatively impact on the reputation they were implemented to enhance. Corporate Social Responsibility.

  1. Introduction
    Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a heavily debated topic in both Public Relations literature
    (Fassin, 2011) and industry publications (Porter & Kramer, 2011; Lohr, 2011).
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    1. Conclusions
      This report has conducted summary analysis of two ASX mining companies, which have similar
      approaches to CSR commitment, yet use corporate communications quite differently to
      demonstrate actual outcomes. Both organisations publish sustainability reports targeting safety,
      environment and people, yet the content presents different conclusions.
      In examples where there is non-alignment between commitment, outcomes and communication,
      organisations must be cautious of appearing to be ‘ticking of the box’. Shallow statements and failed
      targets risk being a reputation liability (Becker-Olsen, Cudmore, & Hill, 2006); notwithstanding its
      substantial CSR investment, BHP Billiton must demonstrate tangible outcomes or improved
      communication legitimise its claims as being a responsible corporate citizen.
      Whilst the ethicality and motivations of CSR and LTO remain contentious, they’re part of corporate
      reality and as such should be legitimately implemented for the betterment of employees, the
      environment and society. Corporate Social Responsibility.