Category Archives: Corporate Social Responsibility

A useful book on corporate communications through digital media

This authoritative book features a broad spectrum of theoretical and empirical contributions on topics relating to corporate communications in the digital age. It is a premier reference source and a valuable teaching resource for course instructors of advanced, undergraduate and post graduate courses in marketing and communications. It comprises fourteen engaging and timely chapters that appeal to today’s academic researchers including doctoral candidates, postdoctoral researchers, early career academics, as well as seasoned researchers. All chapters include an abstract, an introduction, the main body with headings and subheadings, conclusions and research implications. They were written in a critical and discursive manner to entice the curiosity of their readers.

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Chapter 1 provides a descriptive overview of different online technologies and presents the findings from a systematic review on corporate communication and digital media. Camilleri (2020) implies that institutions and organizations ought to be credible and trustworthy in their interactive, dialogic communications during day-to-day operations as well as in crisis situations, if they want to reinforce their legitimacy in society. Chapter 2 clarifies the importance of trust and belonging in individual and organizational relationships. Allen, Sven, Marwan and Arslan (2020) suggest that trust nurtures social interactions that can ultimately lead to significant improvements in corporate communication and other benefits for organizations. Chapter 3 identifies key dimensions for dialogic communication through social media. Capriotti, Zeler and Camilleri (2020) put forward a conceptual framework that clarifies how organizations can enhance their dialogic communications through interactive technologies. Chapter 4 explores the marketing communications managers’ interactive engagement with the digital media. Camilleri and Isaias (2020) suggest that the pace of technological innovation, perceived usefulness, ease of use of online technologies as well as social influences are significant antecedents for the businesses’ engagement with the digital media. Chapter 5 explains that the Balanced Scorecard’s (BSC) performance management tools can be used to support corporate communications practitioners in their stakeholder engagement. Oliveira, Martins, Camilleri and Jayantilal (2020) imply that practitioners can use BSC’s metrics to align their communication technologies, including big data analytics, with organizational strategy and performance management, in the digital era. Chapter 6 focuses on UK universities’ corporate communications through Twitter. Mogaji, Watat, Olaleye and Ukpabi (2020) find that British universities are increasingly using this medium to attract new students, to retain academic employees and to promote their activities and events. Chapter 7 investigates the use of mobile learning (m-learning) technologies for corporate training. Butler, Camilleri, Creed and Zutshi (2020) shed light on key contextual factors that can have an effect on the successful delivery of continuous professional development of employees through mobile technologies.

Chapter 8 evaluates the effects of influencer marketing on consumer-brand engagement on Instagram. Rios Marques, Casais and Camilleri (2020) identify two types of social media influencers. Chapter 9 explores in-store communications of large-scale retailers. Riboldazzi and Capriello (2020) use an omni-channel approach as they integrate traditional and digital media in their theoretical model for informative, in-store communications. Chapter 10 indicates that various corporations are utilizing different social media channels for different purposes. Troise and Camilleri (2020) contend that they are using them to promote their products or services and/or to convey commercial information to their stakeholders. Chapter 11 appraises the materiality of the corporations’ integrated disclosures of financial and non-financial performance. Rodríguez-Gutiérrez (2020) identifies the key determinants for the materiality of integrated reports.Chapter 12 describes various electronic marketing (emarketing) practices of micro, small and medium sized enterprises in India. Singh, Kumar and Kalia (2020) conclude that Indian owner-managers are not always engaging with their social media followers in a professional manner. Chapter 13 suggests that there is scope for small enterprises to use Web 2.0 technologies and associated social media applications for branding, advertising and corporate communication. Oni (2020) maintains that social media may be used as a marketing communications tool to attract customers and for internal communications with employees. Chapter 14 shed light on the online marketing tactics that are being used for corporate communication purposes. Hajarian, Camilleri, Diaz and Aedo (2020) outline different online channels including one-way and two-way communication technologies.

Endorsements

“Digital communications are increasingly central to the process of building trust, reputation and support.  It’s as true for companies selling products as it is for politicians canvasing for votes.  This book provides a framework for understanding and using online media and will be required reading for serious students of communication”.

Dr. Charles J. Fombrun, Former Professor at New York University, NYU-Stern School, Founder & Chairman Emeritus, Reputation Institute/The RepTrak Company.

“This book has addressed a current and relevant topic relating to an important aspect of digital transformation. Various chapters of this book provide valuable insights about a variety of issues relating to “Strategic Corporate Communication in the Digital Age”. The book will be a useful resource for both academics and practitioners engaged in marketing- and communications-related activities. I am delighted to endorse this valuable resource”.

Dr. Yogesh K. Dwivedi, Professor at the School of Management at Swansea University, UK and Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Information Management.

“This title covers a range of relevant issues and trends related to strategic corporate communication in an increasingly digital era. For example, not only does it address communication from a social media, balanced scorecard, and stakeholder engagement perspective, but it also integrates relevant contemporary insights related to SMEs and COVID-19. This is a must-read for any corporate communications professional or researcher”.

Dr. Linda Hollebeek, Associate Professor at Montpellier Business School, France and Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia.

“Corporate communication is changing rapidly, and digital media represent a tremendous opportunity for companies of all sizes to better achieve their communication goals. This book provides important insights into relevant trends and charts critical ways in which digital media can be used to their full potential” 

Dr. Ulrike Gretzel, Director of Research at Netnografica and Senior Fellow at the Center for Public Relations, University of Southern California, USA.

“This new book by Professor Mark Camilleri promises again valuable insights in corporate communication in the digital era with a special focus on Corporate Social Responsibility. The book sets a new standard in our thinking of responsibilities in our digital connected world”. 

Dr. Wim Elving, Professor at Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen, The Netherlands. 

References

Allen, K.A. Sven, G.T., Marwan, S. & Arslan, G. (2020). Trust and belonging in individual and organizational relationships. In Camilleri, M.A. (Ed.), Strategic Corporate Communication in the Digital Age, Emerald, UK.

Butler, A. Camilleri, M.A., Creed, A. & Zutshi, A. (2020). The use of mobile learning technologies for corporate training and development: A contextual framework. In Camilleri, M.A. (Ed.), Strategic Corporate Communication in the Digital Age, Emerald, UK.

Camilleri, M.A. (2020). Strategic dialogic communication through digital media during COVID-19. In Camilleri, M.A. (Ed.), Strategic Corporate Communication in the Digital Age, Emerald, UK.

Camilleri, M.A. & Isaias, P. (2020). The businesses’ interactive engagement through digital media. In Camilleri, M.A. (Ed.), Strategic Corporate Communication in the Digital Age, Emerald, UK.

Capriotti, P., Zeler, I. & Camilleri, M.A. (2020). Corporate communication through social networks: The identification of key dimensions for dialogic communication. In Camilleri, M.A. (Ed.), Strategic Corporate Communication in the Digital Age, Emerald, UK.

Hajarian, M., Camilleri, M.A.. Diaz, P & Aedo, I. (2020). A taxonomy of online marketing methods for corporate communication. In Camilleri, M.A. (Ed.), Strategic Corporate Communication in the Digital Age, Emerald, UK.

Mogaji, E., Watat, J.K., Olaleye, S.A. & Ukpabi, D. (2020). Recruit, retain and report: UK universities’ strategic communication with stakeholders on Twitter. In Camilleri, M.A. (Ed.), Strategic Corporate Communication in the Digital Age, Emerald, UK.

Oliveira, C., Martins, A., Camilleri, M.A. & Jayantilal, S. (2020). Using the balanced scorecard for strategic communication and performance management. In Camilleri, M.A. (Ed.), Strategic Corporate Communication in the Digital Age, Emerald, UK.

Oni, O. (2020). Small and medium sized enterprises’ engagement with social media for corporate communication. In Camilleri, M.A. (Ed.), Strategic Corporate Communication in the Digital Age, Emerald, UK.

Riboldazzi, S. & Capriello, A. (2020). Large-scale retailers, digital media and in-store communications. In Camilleri, M.A. (Ed.), Strategic Corporate Communication in the Digital Age, Emerald, UK.

Rios Marques, I., Casais, B. & Camilleri, M.A. (2020). The effect of macro celebrity and micro influencer endorsements on consumer-brand engagement on Instagram. In Camilleri, M.A. (Ed.), Strategic Corporate Communication in the Digital Age, Emerald, UK.

Rodríguez-Gutiérrez, P. (2020). Corporate communication and integrated reporting: the materiality determination process and stakeholder engagement in Spain. In Camilleri, M.A. (Ed.), Strategic Corporate Communication in the Digital Age, Emerald, UK.

Singh, T., Kumar, R. & Kalia, P. (2020). E-marketing practices of micro, small and medium sized enterprises. Evidence from India. In Camilleri, M.A. (Ed.), Strategic Corporate Communication in the Digital Age, Emerald, UK.

Troise, C. & Camilleri, M.A. (2020). The use of the digital media for marketing, CSR communication and stakeholder engagement. In Camilleri, M.A. (Ed.), Strategic Corporate Communication in the Digital Age, Emerald, UK.

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The market for socially responsible investing

This is an excerpt from my latest paper, entitled: “The market for socially responsible investing: A review of the developments”. 

How to Cite: Camilleri, M.A. (2020). The market for socially responsible investing: A review of the developments. Social Responsibility Journal. DOI. 10.1108/SRJ-06-2019-0194.


There are various ratings and reference indices that are utilized by investors to evaluate financial and SRI portfolios (Scalet and Kelly, 2010). Typically, the SRI indices constitute a relevant proxy as they evaluate the ESG performance of listed businesses (Joliet and Titova, 2018; Le Sourd, 2011). A large number of SR contractors, analysts and research firms are increasingly specializing in the collection of ESG information as they perform ongoing analyses of corporate behaviors (Dumas and Louche, 2016). Many of them maintain a database and use it to provide their clients with a thorough ESG analysis (including proxy advice), benchmarks and engagement strategies of corporations. They publish directories of ethical and SRI funds, as they outline their investment strategies, screening criteria, and voting policies (Leite and Cortez, 2014). In a sense, these data providers support the responsible investors in their selection of funds.

 

SRI Indices, Ratings and Information Providers

KLD / Jantzi Global Environmental Index, Jantzi Research, Ethical Investment Research Service (Vigeo EIRIS) and Innovest (among others) analyze the corporations’ socially responsible and environmentally-sound behaviors as reported in Table 1. Some of their indices (to name a few) shed light about the impact of products (e.g. resource use, waste), the production processes (e.g. logging, pesticides), or proactive corporate activities (e.g. clean energy, recycling). Similarly, social issues are also a common category for these contractors. In the main, the SRI indices benchmark different types of firms hailing from diverse industries and sectors. They adjust their weighting for specific screening criteria as they choose which firms to include (or exclude) from their indices (Leite and Cortez, 2014; Scalet and Kelly, 2010). One of the oldest SRI indices for CSR and Sustainability ratings is the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. The companies that are featured in the Dow Jones Indices are analyzed by the Sustainable Asset Management (SAM) Group (i.e. a Swiss asset management company). Another popular SRI index is FTSE Russell’s KLD’s Domini 400 Social Index (also known as the KLD400) which partners with the Financial Times on a range of issues. Similarly, the Financial Times partners with an ESG research firm (i.e. EIRES) to construct its FTSE4 Good Index series. Smaller FTSE Responsible Investment Indices include the Catholic Values Index, the Calvert Social Index, the FTSE4Good indices, and the Dow Jones family of SRI Indices, among others. The KLD400 index screens the companies’ performance on a set of ESG criteria. It eliminates those companies that are involved in non-eligible industries. Impax, a specialist finance house (that focuses on the markets for cleaner or more efficient delivery of basic services of energy, water and waste) also maintain a group of FTSE Indices that are related to environmental technologies and business activities (FTSE Environment Technology and Environmental Opportunities). The Catholic Values Index uses the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines (i.e. positive screening approach) to scrutinize eligible companies (e.g., corporations with generous wage and benefit policies, or those who create environmentally beneficial technologies). This index could also exclude certain businesses trading in “irresponsible” activities. listed businesses according to their social audit of four criteria: the company’s products, their impact on the environment, labor relations, and community relations. The latter “community relations” variable includes issues such as the treatment of indigenous people, provision of local credit, operations of overseas subsidiaries, and the like. The responsible companies are then featured in the Index when and if they meet Calvert’s criteria. This index also maintains a target economic sector weighting scheme. Other smaller indices include; Ethibel Sustainability Index for Belgian (and other European) companies and OMX GES Ethical Index for Scandinavian companies, among others.

 

Table 1. Screenings of Responsible Investments

Positive Screens Negative Screens
Community Investment Alcohol
Employment / Equality Animal Testing
Environment Defence / Weapons
Human Rights Gambling
Labour Relations Tobacco
Proxy Voting

 

Generally, these SRI indices are considered as investment benchmarks. In a nutshell, SRI Indices have spawned a range of products, including index mutual funds, ETFs, and structured products (Riedl and Smeets, 2017). A wide array of SRI mutual funds regularly evaluate target companies and manage their investment portfolios. Therefore, they are expected to consider other important criteria such as risk and return targets (Trinks et al., 2018; Leite and Cortez, 2015; Humphrey and Lee, 2011). For instance, iShares lists two ETFs based on the KLD Index funds, and the Domini itself offers a number of actively managed mutual funds based on both ESG and community development issues (such as impact investments). In addition, there are research and ratings vendors who also manage a series of mutual funds, including Calvert and Domini (Scalet and Kelly, 2010).

 

Discussion

The SRI indices serve as a ‘seal of approval’ function for the responsible businesses that want to prove their positive impact investment credentials to their stakeholders. Currently, there are many factors that may be contributing for the growth of SRI:

 

Firstly, one of the most important factors for the proliferation of SRI is the access to information. Today’s investors are increasingly using technologies, including mobile devices and their related applications to keep them up to date on the most recent developments in business and society. Certain apps inform investors on the latest movements in the financial markets, in real-time. Notwithstanding, the SRI contractors are providing much higher quality data than ever before. As a result, all investors are in a position to take informed decisions that are based on evidence and research. Investors and analysts use “extra-financial information” to help them analyze investment decisions (GRI, 2019; Diouf and Boiral, 2017). This “extra-financial information” includes ESG disclosures on non-financial issues (Brooks and Oikonomou, 2018). These sources of information will encourage many businesses and enterprises to report on their responsible and sustainable practices (Diouf and Boiral, 2017). The companies’ integrated thinking could be a precursor for their integrated reporting (Camilleri, 2018; 2017b; GRI, 2019). Business can use integrated disclosures, where they provide details on their financial as well as on their non-financial information for the benefit of prospective investors and analysts, among other stakeholders.

 

Secondly, the gender equality issue has inevitably led to some of the most significant developments in the financial services industry. Nowadays, there are more emancipated women who are in employment, who are gainfully occupied as they are actively contributing in the labor market. Many women are completing higher educational programs and attaining relevant qualifications including MBA programs. Very often, these women move their way up the career ladder with large organizations. They may even become members on boards of directors and assume fiduciary duties and responsibilities. Other women are becoming entrepreneurs as they start their own business. During the last decades, an increased equality in the developed economies has led to SRI’s prolific growth. As a result, women are no longer the only the beneficiaries of social finance, as they are building a complete ecosystem of social investing (Maretick, 2015). “By 2020 women are expected to hold $72trn, 32% of the total. Most of the private wealth that changes hands in the coming decades is likely to go to women (The Economist, 2018). This wave of wealth is set to land in the laps of female investors who have shown positive attitudes toward social investing, when compared to their male counterparts. Maretick (2015) reported that half of the wealthiest women expressed an interest in social and environmental investing when compared to one-third of the wealthy men.

 

Thirdly, today’s investors are increasingly diversifying their portfolio of financial products. The default investment is the market portfolio, which is a value-weighted portfolio of all investable securities (Trinks and Scholtens, 2017). A growing body of evidence suggests that many investors do not necessarily have to sacrifice performance when they invest in socially responsible or environmentally sustainable assets. A relevant literature review denied the contention that social screening could result in corporate underperformance (Trinks and Scholtens, 2017; Lobe and Walkshäusl, 2011; Salaber 2013). Investors have realized that strategic corporate responsibility is congruent with prosperity (Porter and Kramer, 2011; Schueth, 2003). In fact, today’s major asset classes including global, international, domestic equity, balanced and fixed-income categories also comprise top-performing socially responsible mutual funds (Riedl and Smeets, 2017). Therefore, various financial products are reflecting the investors’ values and beliefs (Fritz and von Schnurbein, 2019). Consequentially, the broad range of competitive socially responsible investment options have resulted in diverse, well-balanced portfolios. In the U.S. and in other western economies, top-performing SRI funds can be found in all major asset classes. More and more investors are realizing that they can add value to their portfolios whilst supporting socially and environmental causes.

 

Fourthly, there are economic justifications for the existence of mutual funds in diversified portfolios. Although SRI funds are rated well above average performers no matter which ranking process one prefers to use (Scalet and Kelly, 2010; Schueth, 2003), other literature suggests that there are situations where the positive or negative screens did not add nor destroy the financial products’ portfolio value (Auer, 2016; Trinks and Scholtens, 2017; Hofmann et al., 2009). This matter can result in having mixed investments where there are SRI products that are marketed with other financial portfolios.

Currently, the financial industry is witnessing a consumer-driven phenomenon as there is a surge in demand for social investments. This paper mentioned a number of organizations that have developed indices to measure the organizational behaviors and their laudable practices. Very often, their metrics rely on positive or negative screens that are used to define socially responsible and sustainable investments (Leite and Cortez, 2014; Hofmann et al., 2009). However, despite these developments, the balanced investors are still investing their portfolio in different industries. As a result, they may be putting their money to support controversial businesses. Perhaps, in the future there could be alternative screening methods in addition to the extant inclusionary and exclusionary approaches. Several corporations are willingly disclosing their integrated reporting of financial and non-financial performance; as stakeholders including investors, demand a higher degree of accountability and transparency from them (Diouf and Boiral, 2017). As a result, a growing number of firms, are recognizing the business case for integrated thinking that incorporates financial and strategic corporate responsible behaviors. They can support the community through positive impact investments by allocating funds to reduce their externalities in society. Alternatively, they may facilitate shareholder activism and advocacy, among other actions (Viviers and Eccles, 2012). In sum, the responsible businesses’ stakeholder engagement as well as their sustainable investments can help them improve their bottom lines, whilst addressing their societal and community deficits.

 

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Oikonomou, I., Platanakis, E. and Sutcliffe, C. (2018), “Socially responsible investment portfolios: does the optimization process matter?”, The British Accounting Review, Vol. 50, No. 4, pp. 379-401.

Ooi, E. and Lajbcygier, P. (2013), “Virtue remains after removing sin: Finding skill amongst socially responsible investment managers”, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 113, No. 2, pp. 199-224.

Paul, K. (2017), “The effect of business cycle, market return and momentum on financial performance of socially responsible investing mutual funds”, Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 13, No. 3, pp. 513-528.

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Richardson, B.J. (2008), “Socially Responsible Investment Law: Regulating the Unseen Polluters”, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

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What is Corporate Citizenship?

The corporate citizenship term was typically used to describe the corporations that can contribute to the ethical, philanthropic and societal goals. Therefore, this notion is rooted in political science as it directs corporations to respond to non-market pressures.

Throughout the years, the corporate citizenship agenda has been wrought from distinctive corporate social responsibility (CSR) theories and approaches. Its conceptual foundations can be found in the CSR literature (e.g., Carroll, 1979), corporate social responsiveness (e.g., Clarkson, 1995), corporate social performance (e.g., Albinger & Freeman, 2000), the theory of the firm” (McWilliams & Siegel, 2001), stakeholder engagement (Strand & Freeman, 2013); and other enlightened ‘self-interest’ theories; as corporate citizenship can be a source of opportunity, innovation and competitive advantage (Camilleri, 2017a, 2017b; Porter & Kramer, 2006). For this reason, this concept continues to receive specific attention, particularly by those responsible businesses that are differentiating themselves through responsible and sustainable behaviours.

 

Literature Review

The multinational corporations (MNCs) have been (and still are) under pressure to exhibit “good corporate citizenship” in every country or market from where they run their business. MNCs are continuously monitored by their stakeholders, including regulatory authorities, creditors, investors, customers and the community at large. They are also being scrutinised by academic researchers. Several empirical studies have explored the individuals’ attitudes and perceptions toward corporate citizenship. Very often, their measurement involved quantitative analyses that investigated the corporations’ responsible behaviours (Camilleri, 2017a; 2017b). Other research has focused on the managerial perceptions about corporate citizenship (e.g., Basu & Palazzo, 2008). A number of similar studies have gauged corporate citizenship by adopting Fortune’s reputation index (Flanagan, O’Shaughnessy, & Palmer, 2011; Melo & Garrido‐Morgado, 2012), the KLD index (Dupire & M’Zali, 2018; Fombrun, 1998; Griffin & Mahon, 1997) or Van Riel and Fombrun’s (2007) Reptrak. Such measures expected the surveyed executives to assess the extent to which their company behaves responsibly toward the environment and the community (Fryxell and Wang, 1994).

Despite the wide usage of such measures in past research, the appropriateness of these indices still remains doubtful. For instance, Fortune’s reputation index failed to account for the multidimensionality of the corporate citizenship construct; as it is suspected to be more significant of management quality than of corporate citizenship (Waddock & Graves, 1997). Fortune’s past index suffered from the fact that its items were not based on theoretical arguments as they did not appropriately represent the economic, legal, ethical, and discretionary dimensions of the corporate citizenship construct.

Pinkston and Carroll (1994) identified four dimensions of corporate citizenship, including; orientations, stakeholders, issues and decision-making autonomy. They argued that by observing orientations, one may better understand the inclinations or the posturing behaviours of organisations with respect to corporate citizenship. Pinkston and Carroll (1994) sought to identify the stakeholder groups that are benefiting from the businesses’ corporate citizenship practices. They argued that the businesses’ decision-making autonomy determined at what organisational level they engaged in corporate citizenship. In a similar vein, Griffin and Mahon (1997) combined four estimates of corporate citizenship: Fortune’s reputation index, the KLD index, the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), and the rankings that are provided in the Directory of Corporate Philanthropy.

Singh, De los Salmones Sanchez and Rodriguez del Bosque (2007) adopted a multidimensional perspective on three domains, including; commercial responsibility, ethical responsibility and social responsibility. Firstly, they proposed that the commercial responsibility construct relates to the businesses’ responsibility to develop high quality products and truthful marketing communications of their products’ attributes and features among customers. Secondly, they maintained that ethical responsibility is concerned with the businesses fulfilling their obligations toward their shareholders, suppliers, distributors and other agents with whom they make their dealings. Singh et al. (2007) argued that ethical responsibility involves the respect for the human rights and norms that are defined in the law when carrying out business activities. They hinted that respecting ethical principles in business relationships has more priority than achieving superior economic performance. Their other domain, social responsibility is concerned about with corporate citizenship initiatives that are characterised by the businesses’ laudable behaviors (Camilleri, 2017c). The authors suggest that the big businesses could allocate part of their budget to the natural environment, philanthropy, or toward social works that supported the most vulnerable groups in society. This perspective supports the development of financing social and/or cultural activities and is also concerned with improving societal well-being (Singh et al., 2007).

Conclusion

There are several actors within a society, including the government and policy makers, businesses, marketplace stakeholders and civil society organisations among others (Camilleri, 2015). It is within this context that a relationship framework is required to foster corporate citizenship practices in order to enhance the businesses’ legitimacy amongst stakeholders (Camilleri, 2017; Camilleri, 2018). The corporate citizenship practices including socially responsible and environmentally sustainable practices may be triggered by the institutional and/or stakeholder pressures.

 

References

Albinger, H.S. & Freeman, S.J. (2000). Corporate social performance and attractiveness as an employer to different job seeking populations. Journal of Business Ethics, 28(3), 243-253.

Basu, K. & Palazzo, G. (2008). Corporate social responsibility: A process model of sensemaking, Academy of Management Review, 33(1), 122-136.

Camilleri, M. A. (2015). Valuing stakeholder engagement and sustainability reporting. Corporate Reputation Review18(3), 210-222.

Camilleri, M. A. (2017a). Corporate citizenship and social responsibility policies in the United States of America. Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, 8(1), 77-93.

Camilleri, M. A. (2017b). Corporate Social Responsibility Policy in the United States of America. In Corporate Social Responsibility in Times of Crisis (pp. 129-143). Springer, Cham.

Camilleri, M. A. (2017c). Corporate sustainability and responsibility: creating value for business, society and the environment. Asian Journal of Sustainability and Social Responsibility2(1), 59-74.

Camilleri, M. A. (2018). Theoretical insights on integrated reporting: The inclusion of non-financial capitals in corporate disclosures. Corporate Communications: An International Journal. 23(4) 567-581.

Carroll, A.B. (1979). A three-dimensional conceptual model of corporate performance. Academy of Management Review, 4(4), 497-505.

Dupire, M., & M’Zali, B. (2018). CSR strategies in response to competitive pressures. Journal of Business Ethics148(3), 603-623.

Flanagan, D. J., O’shaughnessy, K. C., & Palmer, T. B. (2011). Re-assessing the relationship between the Fortune reputation data and financial performance: overwhelming influence or just a part of the puzzle?. Corporate Reputation Review14(1), 3-14.

Fombrun, C.J. (1998). Indices of corporate reputation: An analysis of media rankings and social monitors’ ratings. Corporate Reputation Review, 1(4), 327-340.

Griffin J.J. & Mahon, J.F. (1997). The corporate social performance and corporate financial performance debate twenty-five years of incomparable research. Business & Society, 36(1), 5-31.

McWilliams, A. & Siegel, D. (2001). Corporate social responsibility: A theory of the firm perspective, Academy of Management Review, 26(1), 117-127.

Melo, T., & Garrido‐Morgado, A. (2012). Corporate reputation: A combination of social responsibility and industry. Corporate social responsibility and environmental management19(1), 11-31.

Pinkston, T.S. & Carroll, A.B. (1994). Corporate citizenship perspectives and foreign direct investment in the US. Journal of Business Ethics, 13(3), 157-169.

Porter, M. E., & Kramer, M. R. (2006). The link between competitive advantage and corporate social responsibility. Harvard business review84(12), 78-92.

Strand, R. & Freeman, R.E. (2013). Scandinavian cooperative advantage: The theory and practice of stakeholder engagement in Scandinavia, Journal of Business Ethics, 127(1), 65-85.

Singh, J. & Del Bosque, I.R. (2008). Understanding corporate social responsibility and product perceptions in consumer markets: A cross-cultural evaluation. Journal of Business Ethics, 80(3), 597-611.

Van Riel, C.B. & Fombrun, C.J. (2007). Essentials of corporate communication: Implementing practices for effective reputation management, Routledge, Oxford, UK and New York, USA.

Waddock, S.A. & Graves, S.B. (1997). The corporate social performance-financial performance link, Strategic Management Journal, 18(4), 303-319.


This is an excerpt from one of my contributions that will appear in Springer’s Encyclopedia of Sustainable Management.

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Submit your paper to Sustainability’s special issue on smart cities and digital innovation

I am co-editing a Special issue for Sustainability (IF: 2.592). Your contributions should be related to “The Sustainable Development of Smart Cities through Digital Innovation”

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2020.

Special Issue Information

The ‘smart city’ concept has been wrought from distinctive theoretical underpinnings. Initially, this term was used to describe those cities that utilized advanced computerized systems to provide a safe, secure, green, and efficient transportation services and utilities to meet the demands of their citizens (Caragliu, Del Bo & Nijkamp, 2011; Hall, Bowerman and Braverman, Taylor, Todosow and Von Wimmersperg, 2000). A thorough literature review suggests that several cities are already using disruptive technologies, including advanced, integrated materials, sensors, electronics, and networks, among others, which are interfaced with computerized systems to improve their economic, social and environmental sustainability (Camilleri, 2015, 2017; Deakin and Al Waer, 2011; Hall et al., 2000). These cities are increasingly relying on data-driven technologies, as they gather and analyze data from urban services including transportation and utilities (Ramaswami, Russell, Culligan, Sharma and Kumar, 2016; Gretzel, Sigala, Xiang and Koo, 2015). Their underlying objective is to improve the quality of life of their citizens (Ratten, 2017; Buhalis and Amaranggana, 2015). Hence, ‘smart cities’ have introduced technological innovations to address contingent issues like traffic congestion; air pollution; waste management; loss of biodiversity and natural habitat; energy generation, conservation and consumption; water leakages and security, among other matters (Camilleri, 2019; 2014; Ahvenniemi, Huovila, Pinto-Seppä and Airaksinen, 2017; Ratten and Dana, 2017; Ratten, 2017).

Ecologically-advanced local governments and municipalities are formulating long-term sustainable policies and strategies. Some of them are already capturing data through multisensor technologies via wireless communication networks in real time (Bibri, 2018; Bibri and Krogstie, 2017). Very often, they use the Internet’s infrastructure and a wide range of smart data-sensing devices, including radio frquency identification (RFID), near-field communication (NFC), global positioning systems (GPS), infrared sensors, accelerometers, and laser scanners (Bibri, 2018). A few cities have already started to benefit from the Internet of Things (IoT) technology and its sophisticated network that consists of sensor devices and physical objects including infrastructure and natural resources (Zanella, Bui, Castellani, Vangelista and Zorzi, 2014).

Several cities are crunching big data to better understand how to make their cities smarter, more efficient, and responsive to today’s realities (Mohanty, Choppali and Kougianos, 2016; Ramaswami et al., 2016). They gather and analyze a vast amount of data and intelligence on urban aspects, including transportation issues, citizen mobility, traffic management, accessibility and protection of cultural heritage and/or environmental domains, among other areas (Angelidou, Psaltoglou, Komninos, Kakderi, Tsarchopoulos and Panori, 2018; Ahvenniemi et al., 2017). The latest advances in technologies like big data analytics and decision-making algorithms can support local governments and muncipalities to implement the circular economy in smart cities (Camilleri, 2019). The data-driven technologies enable them them to reduce their externalities. They can monitor and control the negative emissions, waste, habitat destruction, extinction of wildlife, etc. Therefore, the digital innovations ought to be used to inform the relevant stakeholders in their strategic planning and development of urban environments (Camilleri, 2019; Allam & Newman, 2018; Yigitcanlar and Kamruzzaman, 2018; Angelidou et al. ,2018; Caragliu et al., 2011).

In this light, we are calling for theoretical and empirical contributions that are focused on the creation, diffusion, as well as on the utilization of technological innovations and information within the context of smart, sustainable cities. This Special Issue will include but is not limited to the following topics:

  • Advancing the circular economy agenda in smart cities;
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning in smart cities;
  • Blockchain technologies in smart cities;
  • Green economy of smart cities;
  • Green infrastructure in smart cities;
  • Green living environments in smart cities;
  • Smart cities and the sustainable environment;
  • Smart cities and the use of data-driven technologies;
  • Smart cities and the use of the Internet of Things (IoT);
  • Sustainable energy of smart cities;
  • Sustainable financing for infrastructural development in smart cities;
  • Sustainable housing in smart cities;
  • Sustainable transportation in smart cities;
  • Sustainable tourism in smart cities;
  • Technological innovation and climate change for smart cities;
  • Technological innovation and the green economy of smart cities;
  • Technological innovation and the renewable energy in smart cities;
  • Technological innovation and urban resilience of smart cities;
  • Technological innovation for the infrastructural development of smart cities;
  • The accessibility and protection of the cultural heritage in smart cities;
  • The planning and design of smart cities;
  • The quality of life of the citizens and communities living in smart cities;
  • Urban innovation in smart cities;
  • Urban planning that integrates the smart city development with the greening of the environment;
  • Urban planning and data driven technologies of smart cities.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Mark Anthony Camilleri E-Mail Website
Department of Corporate Communication, University of Malta, Msida, MSD2080, Malta.
Interests: sustainability; digital media; stakeholder engagement; corporate social responsibility; sustainable tourism
Prof. Dr. Vanessa Ratten E-Mail Website
Department of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Marketing, La Trobe University – Melbourne, Australia
Interests: innovation; technology; entrepreneurship

 

References:

  1. Ahvenniemi, H., Huovila, A., Pinto-Seppä, I., & Airaksinen, M. (2017). What are the differences between sustainable and smart cities?. Cities60, 234-245.
  2. Allam, Z., & Newman, P. (2018). Redefining the smart city: Culture, metabolism and governance. Smart Cities1(1), 4-25
  3. Angelidou, M., Psaltoglou, A., Komninos, N., Kakderi, C., Tsarchopoulos, P., & Panori, A. (2018). Enhancing sustainable urban development through smart city applications. Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management9(2), 146-169.
  4. Bibri, S. E., & Krogstie, J. (2017). Smart sustainable cities of the future: An extensive interdisciplinary literature review. Sustainable cities and society31, 183-212.
  5. Bibri, S. E. (2018). The IoT for smart sustainable cities of the future: An analytical framework for sensor-based big data applications for environmental sustainability. Sustainable Cities and Society38, 230-253.
  6. Buhalis, D., & Amaranggana, A. (2015). Smart tourism destinations enhancing tourism experience through personalisation of services. In Information and communication technologies in tourism 2015 (pp. 377-389). Springer, Cham.
  7. Camilleri, M. (2014). Advancing the sustainable tourism agenda through strategic CSR perspectives. Tourism Planning & Development11(1), 42-56.
  8. Camilleri, M. A. (2015). Environmental, social and governance disclosures in Europe. Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal6(2), 224-242.
  9. Camilleri, M. A. (2017). Corporate sustainability and responsibility: creating value for business, society and the environment. Asian Journal of Sustainability and Social Responsibility2(1), 59-74.
  10. Camilleri, M. A. (2019). The circular economy’s closed loop and product service systems for sustainable development: A review and appraisal. Sustainable Development27(3), 530-536.
  11. Caragliu, A., Del Bo, C., & Nijkamp, P. (2011). Smart cities in Europe. Journal of urban technology18(2), 65-82.
  12. Deakin, M., & Al Waer, H. (2011). From intelligent to smart cities. Intelligent Buildings International3(3), 140-152.
  13. Gretzel, U., Sigala, M., Xiang, Z., & Koo, C. (2015). Smart tourism: foundations and developments. Electronic Markets25(3), 179-188.
  14. Hall, R. E., Bowerman, B., Braverman, J., Taylor, J., Todosow, H., & Von Wimmersperg, U. (2000). The vision of a smart city (No. BNL-67902; 04042). Brookhaven National Lab., Upton, NY (US).
  15. Mohanty, S. P., Choppali, U., & Kougianos, E. (2016). Everything you wanted to know about smart cities: The internet of things is the backbone. IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine5(3), 60-70.
  16. Ramaswami, A., Russell, A. G., Culligan, P. J., Sharma, K. R., & Kumar, E. (2016). Meta-principles for developing smart, sustainable, and healthy cities. Science352(6288), 940-943.
  17. Ratten, V., & Dana, L. P. (2017). Sustainable entrepreneurship, family farms and the dairy industry. International Journal of Social Ecology and Sustainable Development (IJSESD)8(3), 114-129.
  18. Ratten, V. (2017). Entrepreneurship, innovation and smart cities. Routledge: Oxford, UK.
  19. Yigitcanlar, T., & Kamruzzaman, M. (2018). Does smart city policy lead to sustainability of cities? Land Use Policy73, 49-58.
  20. Zanella, A., Bui, N., Castellani, A., Vangelista, L., & Zorzi, M. (2014). Internet of things for smart cities. IEEE Internet of Things journal1(1), 22-32.

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI’s English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Sustainability
  • Smart Cities
  • Digital innovation
  • Technological innovation
  • Sustainable innovation
  • Big Data
  • Internet of Things
  • Artificial Intelligence

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.

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Filed under Analytics, Big Data, blockchain, Business, Circular Economy, Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, CSR, destination marketing, digital media, ESG Reporting, Impact Investing, Integrated Reporting, responsible tourism, Shared Value, smart cities, Socially Responsible Investment, SRI, Stakeholder Engagement, Sustainability, sustainable development

Promoting strategic corporate social responsibility among practitioners

What is Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility?

Organisations engage in Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility (Strategic CSR) when they integrate responsible behaviours in their corporate practices (Camilleri, 2018; Porter & Kramer, 2011). Therefore, Strategic CSR is often evidenced by the businesses’ engagement with key stakeholders, including customers, employees, shareholders, regulatory authorities and communities as their non-financial activities can have an effect on society and the natural environment (Camilleri, 2017a). The ultimate goal of strategic CSR is to create both economic and social value (Carroll & Shabana, 2010; Falck & Heblich, 2007).


Introduction

The businesses’ CSR practices may result in a sustained competitive advantage if they are willing to forge strong relationships with their stakeholders (Camilleri, 2015a; Freeman,  & McVea, 2001). Therefore, businesses ought to communicate with employees, customers, suppliers, regulatory stakeholders as well as with their surrounding community (EU, 2016; Bhattacharya, Korschun & Sen, 2009). Positive stakeholder relationships can lead to an improved organizational performance, in the long run (Camilleri, 2015a).

The most successful businesses are increasingly promoting the right conditions of employment for their employees, within their supply chains (Camilleri, 2017b). They are also instrumental in improving the lives of their suppliers (Camilleri, 2017c; Porter & Kramer, 2011). They do so as they would like to enhance the quality and attributes of their products or services; which are ultimately delivered to customers and consumers. Hence, their long-term investments on strategic CSR activities are likely to yield financial returns for them. At the same time they will add value to society (McWilliams et al., 2006; Falck & Heblich, 2007). Therefore, the strategic CSR involves the promotion of socially and environmentally responsible practices they are re-aligned with the businesses’ profit motives (Camilleri, 2017b,c).


Key Theoretical Underpinnings

The Strategic CSR perspective resonates well with the agency theory. In the past, scholars argued that the companies’ only responsibility was to maximise their owners’ and shareholders’ wealth (Levitt, 1958; Friedman, 1970). Hence, companies were often encouraged to undertake CSR strategies which can bring value to their businesses and to disregard those activities which are fruitless. However, at times, the fulfilment of philanthropic responsibilities can also  benefit the bottom line (Lantos, 2001).

Although, it could be difficult to quantify the returns of responsible behaviours, relevant research has shown that those companies that practiced social and environmental responsibility did well by doing good (Falck & Heblich, 2007, Porter & Kramer, 2011).Some of the contributions on this topic suggest that corporate philanthropy should be deeply rooted in the firms’ competences and linked to their business environment (Camilleri, 2015; Porter & Kramer, 2002; Godfrey, 2005). Many authors often referred to the CSR’s core domains (economic, legal and ethical responsibilities) that were compatible and consistent with the relentless call for the business case of CSR (Camilleri, 2015b; Carroll & Shabana, 2010, Vogel, 2005).

Many commentators argued that the strategic CSR practices may result in a new wave of social benefits as well as gains for the businesses themselves (Fombrun et al., 2000; Porter & Kramer, 2011) rather than merely acting on well-intentioned impulses or by reacting to outside pressures (Van Marrewijk, 2003). Lozano (2015) indicated that the business case is the most important driver for CSR engagement. Thus, proper incentives may encourage managers ‘to do well by doing good’ (Falck & Heblich, 2007). If it is a company’s goal to survive and prosper, it can do nothing better than to take a long-term view and understand that if it treats society well, society will return the favour. Companies could direct their discretionary investments to areas (and cost centres) that are relevant to them (Gupta & Sharma, 2009). The reconciliation of shareholder and other stakeholders addresses the perpetual relationship between business and society, as companies are expected to balance the conflicting stakeholder interests for long term sustainability (Orlitzky et al., 2011; Camilleri, 2017c; Camilleri 2019).

 

Conclusion
Many companies are increasingly recognising the business case for CSR as they allocate adequate and sufficient resources to financial and non-financial activities that will ultimately benefit their stakeholders. Their motivation behind their engagement in strategic CSR practices is to increase their profits and to create shareholder value. At the same time, they strengthen their competitive advantage through stakeholder management.

References

Bhattacharya CB, Korschun D, Sen S (2009). Strengthening stakeholder–company relationships through mutually beneficial corporate social responsibility initiatives. J Bus Ethics 85(2):257–272.

Camilleri, M.A. (2015a). Valuing Stakeholder Engagement and Sustainability Reporting. Corporate Reputation Review, 18 (3), 210-222.

Camilleri, M.A. (2015b) The Business Case for Corporate Social Responsibility. In Menzel Baker, S. & Mason, M.(Eds.) Marketing & Public Policy as a Force for Social Change Conference. (Washington D.C., 4th June). Proceedings, pp. 8-14, American Marketing Association.

Camilleri M.A. (2017a) Corporate sustainability, social responsibility and environmental management: an introduction to theory and practice with case studies. Springer, Cham, Switzerland.

Camilleri, M.A. (2017b). Corporate Citizenship and Social Responsibility Policies in the United States of America. Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal. 8 (1), 77-93.

Camilleri, M.A. (2017c). The Rationale for Responsible Supply Chain Management and Stakeholder Engagement. Journal of Global Responsibility. 8 (1), 111-126.

Camilleri, M.A. (2018). The SMEs’ Technology Acceptance of Digital Media for Stakeholder Engagement. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development.  26(4), 504-521.

Camilleri, M.A. (2019). Measuring the corporate managers’ attitudes toward ISO’s social responsibility standard. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence. 30(14), 1549-1561.

Carroll AB, Shabana KM (2010). The business case for corporate social responsibility: a review of concepts, research and practice. Int J Manag Rev 12(1):85–105.

European Union (2016). Corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the EU. European Commission Publications, Brussels, Belgium http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=331.

Falck O, Heblich S (2007). Corporate social responsibility: doing well by doing good. Business Horizons 50(3):247–254.

Freeman, R. E., & McVea, J. (2001). A stakeholder approach to strategic management. The Blackwell handbook of strategic management, 189-207.

Friedman M (1970). The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. New York Times Magazine 13:32–33.

Godfrey PC (2005). The relationship between corporate philanthropy and shareholder wealth: a risk management perspective. Acad Manag Rev 30(4):777–798.

Gupta S, Sharma N (2009). CSR-A business opportunity. Indian Journal of Industrial Relations:396–401.

Lantos GP (2001). The boundaries of strategic corporate social responsibility. J Consum Mark 18(7):595–632.

Levitt T (1958). The dangers of social-responsibility. Harv Bus Rev 36(5):41–50.

Lozano R (2015). A holistic perspective on corporate sustainability drivers. Corp Soc Responsib Environ Manag 22(1): 32–44.

Orlitzky M, Siegel DS, Waldman DA (2011). Strategic corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability. Business & society 50(1):6–27.

Porter ME, Kramer MR (2011). Creating shared value. Harv Bus Rev 89(1/2):62–77.

Van Marrewijk M (2003). Concepts and definitions of CSR and corporate sustainability: between agency and communion. J Bus Ethics 44(2):95–105.

Vogel DJ (2005). Is there a market for virtue? The business case for corporate social responsibility. Calif Manag Rev 47(4):19–45.

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Filed under Business, Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, CSR, Shared Value, Small Business, SMEs, Stakeholder Engagement, Sustainability, sustainable development

Announcing a Call for Chapters (for Springer)

Strategic Corporate Communication and Stakeholder Engagement in the Digital Age

 

Abstract submission deadline: 30th September 2019
Full chapters due: 31st December 2019

 

Background

The latest advances in technologies and networks have been central to the expansion of electronic content across different contexts. Contemporary communication approaches are crossing boundaries as new media are offering both challenges and opportunities. The democratisation of the production and dissemination of information via the online technologies has inevitably led individuals and organisations to share content (including images, photos, news items, videos and podcasts) via the digital and social media. Interactive technologies are allowing individuals and organisations to co-create and manipulate electronic content. At the same time, they enable them to engage in free-flowing conversations with other online users, groups or virtual communities (Camilleri, 2017). Innovative technologies have empowered the organisations’ stakeholders, including; employees, investors, customers, local communities, government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), as well as the news media, among others. Both internal and external stakeholders are in a better position to scrutinise the organisations’ decisions and actions. For this reason, there is scope for the practitioners to align their corporate communication goals and activities with the societal expectations (Camilleri, 2015; Gardberg & Fombrun, 2006). Therefore, organisations are encouraged to listen to their stakeholders. Several public interest organisations, including listed businesses, banks and insurance companies are already sharing information about their financial and non-financial performance in an accountable and transparent manner. The rationale behind their corporate disclosures is to develop and maintain strong and favourable reputations among stakeholders (Camilleri, 2018; Cornelissen, 2008). The corporate reputation is “a perceptual representation of a company’s past actions and future prospects that describe the firm’s overall appeal to all of its key constituents when compared to other leading rivals” (Fombrun, 1996).

Business and media practitioners ought to be cognisant about the strategic role of corporate communication in leveraging the organisations’ image and reputation among stakeholders (Van Riel & Fombrun, 2007). They are expected to possess corporation communication skills as they need to forge relationships with different stakeholder groups (including employees, customers, suppliers, investors, media, regulatory authorities and the community at large). They have to be proficient in specialist areas, including; issues management, crises communication as well as in corporate social responsibility reporting, among other topics. At the same time, they should be aware about the possible uses of different technologies, including; artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, big data analytics, blockchain and internet of things, among others; as these innovative tools are disrupting today’s corporate communication processes.

 

Objective

This title shall explain how strategic communication and media management can affect various political, economic, societal and technological realities. Theoretical and empirical contributions can shed more light on the existing structures, institutions and cultures that are firmly founded on the communication technologies, infrastructures and practices. The rapid proliferation of the digital media has led both academics and practitioners to increase their interactive engagement with a multitude of stakeholders. Very often, they are influencing regulators, industries, civil society organisations and activist groups, among other interested parties. Therefore, this book’s valued contributions may include, but are not restricted to, the following topics:

 

Artificial Intelligence and Corporate Communication

Augmented and Virtual Reality in Corporate Communication

Blockchain and Corporate Communication

Big Data and Analytics in Corporate Communication

Branding and Corporate Reputation

Corporate Communication via Social Media

Corporate Communication Policy

Corporate Culture

Corporate Identity

Corporate Social Responsibility Communications

Crisis, Risk and Change Management

Digital Media and Corporate Communication

Employee Communications

Fake News and Corporate Communication

Government Relationships

Integrated Communication

Integrated Reporting of Financial and Non-Financial Performance

Internet Technologies and Corporate Communication

Internet of Things and Corporate Communication

Investor Relationships

Issues Management and Public Relations

Leadership and Change Communication

Marketing Communications

Measuring the Effectiveness of Corporate Communications

Metrics for Corporate Communication Practice

Press and Media Relationships

Stakeholder Management and Communication

Strategic Planning and Communication Management

 

This publication shall present the academics’ conceptual discussions that cover the contemporary topic of corporate communication in a concise yet accessible way. Covering both theory and practice, this publication shall introduce its readers to the key issues of strategic corporate communication as well as stakeholder management in the digital age. This will allow prospective practitioners to critically analyse future, real-life situations. All chapters will provide a background to specific topics as the academic contributors should feature their critical perspectives on issues, controversies and problems relating to corporate communication.

This authoritative book will provide relevant knowledge and skills in corporate communication that is unsurpassed in readability, depth and breadth. At the start of each chapter, the authors will prepare a short abstract that summarises the content of their contribution. They are encouraged to include descriptive case studies to illustrate real situations, conceptual, theoretical or empirical contributions that are meant to help aspiring managers and executives in their future employment. In conclusion, each chapter shall also contain a succinct summary that should outline key implications (of the findings) to academia and / or practitioners, in a condensed form. This will enable the readers to retain key information.

 

Target Audience

This textbook introduces aspiring practitioners as well as under-graduate and post-graduate students to the subject of corporate communication – in a structured manner. More importantly, it will also be relevant to those course instructors who are teaching media, marketing communications and business-related subjects in higher education institutions, including; universities and colleges. It is hoped that course conveners will use this edited textbook as a basis for class discussions.

 

Submission Procedure

Senior and junior academic researchers are invited to submit a 300-word abstract on or before the 30th June 2019. Submissions should be sent to Mark.A.Camilleri@um.edu.mt. Authors will be notified about the editorial decision during July 2019. The length of the chapters should be between 6,000- 8,000 words (including references, figures and tables). These contributions will be accepted on or before the 31st December 2019. The references should be presented in APA style (Version 6). All submitted chapters will be critically reviewed on a double-blind review basis. The authors’ and the reviewers’ identities will remain anonymous. All authors will be requested to serve as reviewers for this book. They will receive a notification of acceptance, rejection or suggested modifications – on or before the 15th February 2020.

Note: There are no submission or acceptance fees for the publication of this book. All abstracts / proposals should be submitted via the editor’s email.

 

Editor

Mark Anthony Camilleri (Ph.D. Edinburgh)
Department of Corporate Communication,
Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences,
University of Malta, MALTA.
Email: mark.a.camilleri@um.edu.mt

 

Publisher

Following the double-blind peer review process, the full chapters will be submitted to Springer Nature for final review. For additional information regarding the publisher, please visit https://www.springer.com/gp. This prospective publication will be released in 2020.

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Filed under Business, Corporate Governance, Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, CSR, digital media, ESG Reporting, Integrated Reporting, internet technologies, internet technologies and society, Marketing, online, Shared Value, Stakeholder Engagement, Sustainability

Announcing a Call for Chapters (for Springer)

Call for Chapters

Strategic Corporate Communication and Stakeholder Engagement in the Digital Age

 

Abstract submission deadline: 30th June 2019 (EXTENDED to the 30th September 2019)
Full chapters due: 31st December 2019

 

Background

The latest advances in technologies and networks have been central to the expansion of electronic content across different contexts. Contemporary communication approaches are crossing boundaries as new media are offering both challenges and opportunities. The democratisation of the production and dissemination of information via the online technologies has inevitably led individuals and organisations to share content (including images, photos, news items, videos and podcasts) via the digital and social media. Interactive technologies are allowing individuals and organisations to co-create and manipulate electronic content. At the same time, they enable them to engage in free-flowing conversations with other online users, groups or virtual communities (Camilleri, 2017). Innovative technologies have empowered the organisations’ stakeholders, including; employees, investors, customers, local communities, government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), as well as the news media, among others. Both internal and external stakeholders are in a better position to scrutinise the organisations’ decisions and actions. For this reason, there is scope for the practitioners to align their corporate communication goals and activities with the societal expectations (Camilleri, 2015; Gardberg & Fombrun, 2006). Therefore, organisations are encouraged to listen to their stakeholders. Several public interest organisations, including listed businesses, banks and insurance companies are already sharing information about their financial and non-financial performance in an accountable and transparent manner. The rationale behind their corporate disclosures is to develop and maintain strong and favourable reputations among stakeholders (Camilleri, 2018; Cornelissen, 2008). The corporate reputation is “a perceptual representation of a company’s past actions and future prospects that describe the firm’s overall appeal to all of its key constituents when compared to other leading rivals” (Fombrun, 1996).

Business and media practitioners ought to be cognisant about the strategic role of corporate communication in leveraging the organisations’ image and reputation among stakeholders (Van Riel & Fombrun, 2007). They are expected to possess corporation communication skills as they need to forge relationships with different stakeholder groups (including employees, customers, suppliers, investors, media, regulatory authorities and the community at large). They have to be proficient in specialist areas, including; issues management, crises communication as well as in corporate social responsibility reporting, among other topics. At the same time, they should be aware about the possible uses of different technologies, including; artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, big data analytics, blockchain and internet of things, among others; as these innovative tools are disrupting today’s corporate communication processes.

 

Objective

This title shall explain how strategic communication and media management can affect various political, economic, societal and technological realities. Theoretical and empirical contributions can shed more light on the existing structures, institutions and cultures that are firmly founded on the communication technologies, infrastructures and practices. The rapid proliferation of the digital media has led both academics and practitioners to increase their interactive engagement with a multitude of stakeholders. Very often, they are influencing regulators, industries, civil society organisations and activist groups, among other interested parties. Therefore, this book’s valued contributions may include, but are not restricted to, the following topics:

 

Artificial Intelligence and Corporate Communication

Augmented and Virtual Reality in Corporate Communication

Blockchain and Corporate Communication

Big Data and Analytics in Corporate Communication

Branding and Corporate Reputation

Corporate Communication via Social Media

Corporate Communication Policy

Corporate Culture

Corporate Identity

Corporate Social Responsibility Communications

Crisis, Risk and Change Management

Digital Media and Corporate Communication

Employee Communications

Fake News and Corporate Communication

Government Relationships

Integrated Communication

Integrated Reporting of Financial and Non-Financial Performance

Internet Technologies and Corporate Communication

Internet of Things and Corporate Communication

Investor Relationships

Issues Management and Public Relations

Leadership and Change Communication

Marketing Communications

Measuring the Effectiveness of Corporate Communications

Metrics for Corporate Communication Practice

Press and Media Relationships

Stakeholder Management and Communication

Strategic Planning and Communication Management

 

This publication shall present the academics’ conceptual discussions that cover the contemporary topic of corporate communication in a concise yet accessible way. Covering both theory and practice, this publication shall introduce its readers to the key issues of strategic corporate communication as well as stakeholder management in the digital age. This will allow prospective practitioners to critically analyse future, real-life situations. All chapters will provide a background to specific topics as the academic contributors should feature their critical perspectives on issues, controversies and problems relating to corporate communication.

This authoritative book will provide relevant knowledge and skills in corporate communication that is unsurpassed in readability, depth and breadth. At the start of each chapter, the authors will prepare a short abstract that summarises the content of their contribution. They are encouraged to include descriptive case studies to illustrate real situations, conceptual, theoretical or empirical contributions that are meant to help aspiring managers and executives in their future employment. In conclusion, each chapter shall also contain a succinct summary that should outline key implications (of the findings) to academia and / or practitioners, in a condensed form. This will enable the readers to retain key information.

 

Target Audience

This textbook introduces aspiring practitioners as well as under-graduate and post-graduate students to the subject of corporate communication – in a structured manner. More importantly, it will also be relevant to those course instructors who are teaching media, marketing communications and business-related subjects in higher education institutions, including; universities and colleges. It is hoped that course conveners will use this edited textbook as a basis for class discussions.

 

Submission Procedure

Senior and junior academic researchers are invited to submit a 300-word abstract on or before the 30th June 2019. Submissions should be sent to Mark.A.Camilleri@um.edu.mt. Authors will be notified about the editorial decision during July 2019. The length of the chapters should be between 6,000- 8,000 words (including references, figures and tables). These contributions will be accepted on or before the 31st December 2019. The references should be presented in APA style (Version 6). All submitted chapters will be critically reviewed on a double-blind review basis. The authors’ and the reviewers’ identities will remain anonymous. All authors will be requested to serve as reviewers for this book. They will receive a notification of acceptance, rejection or suggested modifications – on or before the 15th February 2020.

Note: There are no submission or acceptance fees for the publication of this book. All abstracts / proposals should be submitted via the editor’s email.

 

Editor

Mark Anthony Camilleri (Ph.D. Edinburgh)
Department of Corporate Communication,
Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences,
University of Malta, MALTA.
Email: mark.a.camilleri@um.edu.mt

 

Publisher

Following the double-blind peer review process, the full chapters will be submitted to Springer Nature for final review. For additional information regarding the publisher, please visit https://www.springer.com/gp. This prospective publication will be released in 2020.

 

Important Dates

Abstract Submission Deadline:          30th June 2019 30th September 2019
Notification of Acceptance:               31st July 2019 31st October 2019

Full Chapters Due:                             31st December 2019

Notification of Review Results:         15th February 2020
Final Chapter Submission:                 31st March 2020

Final Acceptance Notification:          30th April, 2020

References

Camilleri, M.A. (2015). Valuing Stakeholder Engagement and Sustainability Reporting. Corporate Reputation Review18(3), 210-222. https://link-springer-com.ejournals.um.edu.mt/article/10.1057/crr.2015.9

Camilleri, M.A. (2017). Corporate Sustainability, Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature. https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319468488

Camilleri, M.A. (2018). Theoretical Insights on Integrated Reporting: The Inclusion of Non-Financial Capitals in Corporate Disclosures. Corporate Communications: An International Journal23(4), 567-581. https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/CCIJ-01-2018-0016

Cornelissen, J.P. (2008). Corporate Communication. The International Encyclopedia of Communication. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/9781405186407.wbiecc143.pub2

Fombrun, C.J. (1995). Reputation: Realizing Value from the Corporate Image. Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard Business School Press.

Gardberg, N.A., & Fombrun, C. J. (2006). Corporate Citizenship: Creating Intangible Assets across Institutional Environments. Academy of Management Review31(2), 329-346. https://journals.aom.org/doi/abs/10.5465/AMR.2006.20208684

Van Riel, C.B., & Fombrun, C.J. (2007). Essentials of Corporate Communication: Implementing Practices for Effective Reputation Management. Oxford, UK: Routledge. http://repository.umpwr.ac.id:8080/bitstream/handle/123456789/511/Essentials%20of%20Corporate%20Communication.pdf?sequence=1

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Filed under Analytics, Big Data, blockchain, branding, Business, Corporate Governance, Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, CSR, digital media, ESG Reporting, Higher Education, Human Resources, Impact Investing, Integrated Reporting, internet technologies, internet technologies and society, Marketing, online, Shared Value, Stakeholder Engagement, Sustainability, Web

The Circular Economy and the Sustainability Agenda

This is excerpt from my latest paper that was accepted by ‘Sustainable Development’ (Wiley).

How to Cite: Camilleri, M.A. (2018). The Circular Economy’s Closed Loop and Product Service Systems for Sustainable Development: A Review and Appraisal. Sustainable Development. Forthcoming.

The Brundtland Report (WCED, 1987) defined sustainable development as; “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (p. 43). Its underlying assumption is that the world’s physical resources are not finite, therefore, they have to be managed responsibly to sustain future generations. Subsequently, the United Nations (UN) Conference on Environment and Development has put forward Agenda 21 that dedicated a chapter that was focused on unsustainable patterns of production and consumption. This document recommended that the UN’s member states ought to intensify their efforts to reduce the use of scarce resources during production processes, whilst minimising the environmental impacts from generation of waste and pollution (Agenda 21, 1992).

In 2002, the UN Report of the World Summit on Sustainable Development also made reference to unsustainable patterns of production and consumption. The UN’s member states were urged to manage their natural resources sustainably and with lower negative environmental impacts; by promoting the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems, whilst reducing waste (WSSD, 2002, p 13). Moreover, in another resolution, entitled; “The future we want”, the General Assembly at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development has reaffirmed its commitment to implementing green economy policies in the context of sustainable development. The Heads of State and Government or their representatives have agreed to continue promoting the integrated and sustainable management of eco-systems; whilst facilitating their conservation, regeneration and restoration of resources (UNCSD, 2012). Furthermore, during the UN’s General Assembly Resolution of 25 September 2015, entitled; “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” the world leaders have agreed to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals that replaced the previous millennium development goals that were established in the year 2000. Specifically, the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 of the 2030 agenda, namely; “Sustainable Consumption and Production” explained that there is an opportunity for business and industry to reap economic gains through resource and energy efficiencies. It also raised awareness on the use of sustainable infrastructures and urged the UN member states to address air, water and soil pollution to minimise their environmental impact (UNDP, 2015). Moreover, the Paris Climate Agreement (COP 21) and Resolutions 1/5 and 2/7 on chemicals and waste, and 2/8 on sustainable production and consumption, as adopted by the 1st and 2nd sessions of the United Nations Environment Assembly (that was held in Nairobi, Kenya on the 27th June 2014 and the 27th May 2016), are also considered as important policy instruments for many stakeholders, as they have paved the way for the transition toward the circular economy strategy.

These intergovernmental policy recommendations on sustainable consumption and production have led to increased regulatory pressures on business and industry toward controlled operations management and environmentally-responsible practices. In 2014, the European Union (EU) Commission anticipated that, “new business models, eco-designs and industrial symbiosis can move the community toward zero-waste; reduce greenhouse emissions and environmental impacts” (EU, 2018). Eventually, in March 2017, the EU Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee organised a Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference, where it reported on the delivery and progress of some of its Action Plan. It also established a Finance Support Platform with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and issued important guidance documents to Member States on the conversion of waste to energy.

Other EU Communications on this subject, comprised: “Innovation for a sustainable future – The Eco-innovation Action Plan“; “Building the Single Market for Green Products: Facilitating better information on the environmental performance of products and organisations“; “Green Action Plan for SMEs: enabling SMEs to turn environmental challenges into business opportunities“; “Closing the loop –An EU action plan for the Circular Economy” and the report on its implementation, and “Investing in a smart, innovative and sustainable Industry – A renewed EU Industrial Policy Strategy“, among others (EU, 2017). Recently, the EU commission has adopted a set of measures, including; a “Strategy for Plastics in the Circular Economy” that specified that all plastics packaging will have to be recyclable by 2030; It released a communication on the interface between chemical, product and waste legislation, as it explains how they relate to each other. Moreover, the commission launched a Monitoring Framework that may be used to assess the progress of its member states towards the implementation of the circular economy action plan. This framework is composed of a set of ten key indicators, comprising; 1) EU self-sufficiency for raw materials; 2) Green public procurement; 3a-c) Waste generation; 4) Food waste, 5a-b) Overall recycling rates, 6a-f) Recycling rates for specific waste streams, 7a-b) Contribution of recycled materials to raw materials demand, 8) Trade in recyclable raw materials, 9a-c) Private investments, jobs and gross value added, and 10) Patents. Furthermore, (EU, 2018) published a report on the supply and demand of critical raw materials that are used in mining, landfills, electrical and electronic equipment, batteries, automotive sector, renewable energy, defence industry as well as for chemicals and fertilizers.


References

Agenda 21. 1992. United Nations Conference on Environment & Development. Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992. United Nations Sustainable Development. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/Agenda21.pdf [6 July 2018].

EU 2017. Council conclusions on eco-innovation: enabling the transition towards a circulareconomy. European Council of the European Union, Brussels, Belgium. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2017/12/18/council-conclusions-on-eco-innovation-transition-towards-a-circular-economy/#[5th July 2018].

EU 2018. Implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan. European Commission.  http://ec.europa.eu/environment/circular-economy/index_en.htm[5th July 2018].

UNCSD 2012. The Future We Want – Outcome document. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 27 July 2012. United Nations  General Assembly. http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/66/288&Lang=E [25 June 2018].

UNDP 2015. Transforming our World. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015. http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/migration/generalassembly/docs/globalcompact/A_RES_70_1_E.pdf [25 June 2018].

WSSD 2002. United Nations Report of the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Johannesburg, South Africa, 26 August- 4 September 2002.  http://www.un-documents.net/aconf199-20.pdf [29 June 2018].

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The Way Forward: Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility

An Excerpt from: Camilleri, M.A. (2017). Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility: Creating Value for Business, Society and the Environment. Asian Journal of Sustainability and Social Responsibility 2(1) 59-74. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s41180-017-0016-5

In the past, CSR may have been more associated with corporate philanthropy, stewardship principles, contributions-in-kind toward social and environmental causes, environmental protection, employees’ engagement in community works, volunteerism and pro-bono service among other responsible initiatives. Very often, such altruistic CSR activities may have not resulted in financial performance to the business per se. On the contrary, certain discretionary
expenses in corporate philanthropy could have usurped the businesses’ slack resources (including financial assets, labour and time) without adding much value (in terms of corporate reputation and goodwill) to the businesses. Nevertheless, this research reported that the contemporary discourses on corporate social responsibility are opening new opportunities for the businesses themselves. The academic discourse about CSR is moving away from ‘nice-to
do’ to ‘doing-well-by-doing-good’ mantra. Evidently, the value-based approaches that were discussed in this paper could be considered as guiding principles that will lead tomorrow’s businesses to long term sustainability (in social and economic terms). Debatably, the profit motive (the business case or corporate sustainability concepts) could be linked with the corporate responsibility agenda. This way, the multinational corporations could be better prepared to address their societal and environmental deficits across the globe, whilst adding value to their business.

This review paper has built on the previous theoretical underpinnings of the corporate social responsibility agenda including Stakeholder Management, Corporate Citizenship and Creating Shared Value as it presents the latest Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility perspective. This value-based model reconciles strategic CSR and environmental management with a stakeholder approach to bring long term corporate sustainability, in terms of economic performance for the business, as well as corporate responsibility’s social outcomes. Recently, some international conferences including Humboldt University’s gatherings in 2014 and 2016 have also raised awareness on this proposition. The corporate sustainability and responsibility concept is linked to improvements to the companies’ internal processes including environmental management, human resource management, operations management and marketing (i.e. Corporate Sustainability). At the same time, it raises awareness on the
businesses’ responsible behaviours (i.e. Corporate Responsibility) toward stakeholders including the government, suppliers, customers and the community, among others. The fundamental motivation behind this approach is the view that creating connections between stakeholders in the value chain will open-up unseen opportunities for the competitive advantage of responsible businesses, as illustrated in Figure 1.

cs model

Multinational organizations are under increased pressures from stakeholders (particularly customers and consumer associations) to revisit their numerous processes in their value chain activities. Each stage of the company’s production process, from the supply chain to the transformation of resources could add value to their businesses’ operational costs as they produce end-products. However, the businesses are always expected to be responsible in their internal processes toward their employees or toward their suppliers’ labour force. Therefore, this corporate sustainability and responsibility perspective demands that businesses create economic and societal value by re-aligning their corporate objectives with stakeholder management and environmental responsibility. In sum, corporate sustainability and responsibility may only happen when companies demonstrate their genuine willingness to add corporate responsible dimensions and stakeholder engagement to their value propositions. This occurs when businesses opt for responsible managerial practices that are integral to their overall corporate strategy. These strategic behaviours create opportunities for them to improve the well-being of stakeholders as they reduce negative externalities on the environment. The negative externalities can be eliminated by developing integrated approaches that are driven by ethical and sustainability principles. Very often, multinational businesses are in a position to mitigate risk and to avoid inconveniences to third parties. For instance, major accidents including BP’s Deep Horizon oil spill in 2010, or the collapse of Primark’s Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh, back in 2013, could have been prevented if the big businesses were responsible beforehand.

In conclusion, the corporate sustainability and responsibility construct is about embedding sustainability and responsibility by seeking out and connecting with the stakeholders’ varied interests. As firms reap profits and grow, there is a possibility that they generate virtuous circlesof positive multiplier effects (Camilleri, 2017). Therefore, corporate sustainability and responsibility can be considered as strategic in its intents and purposes. Indeed, the businesses are capable of being socially and environmentally responsible ‘citizens’ as they are doing well, economically. This theoretical paper has contributed to academic knowledge as it explained the foundations for corporate sustainability and responsibility. Although this concept is still evolving, the debate among academic commentators is slowly but surely raising awareness on responsible managerial practices and on the skills and competences that are needed to deliver strategic results that create value for businesses, society and the environment.

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Filed under Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, CSR, Marketing, Shared Value, Stakeholder Engagement, Sustainability

RESEARCH: The Small Business Owner-Managers’ Attitudes toward Digital Media

An Excerpt from my latest paper: Camilleri, M.A. (2018). The SMEs’ Technology Acceptance of Digital Media for Stakeholder Engagement. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development (Forthcoming).


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This contribution sheds light on the SME owner-managers’ attitudes toward the pace of technological innovation, perceived use and ease of use of digital media; as they communicate and interact with interested stakeholders online. It also explored their stance on responsible entrepreneurship, specifically on commercial, ethical and social responsibilities, as well as on their willingness to support other responsible stakeholders.

This empirical study and its theoretical underpinnings contribute to an improved understanding as to why today’s SMEs are expected to communicate with stakeholders through digital media. At the same time, it raises awareness of responsible entrepreneurial initiatives that could be promoted through digital media, including; corporate websites, social media and blogs, among others.

Generally, the results reported that there were high mean scores and low standard deviations, particularly when the participants were expected to indicate their attitudes on their commercial and ethical responsibilities. The nature of the SMEs’ CSR activities is usually integrated into their company culture, often implicitly in habits and routines that are inspired by highly motivated owner-managers; rather than explicitly in job descriptions or formalized procedures (Jenkins, 2006). The factor analysis indicated that the SME owner-managers were increasingly perceiving the usefulness of digital media to engage with marketplace stakeholders, including; consumers, suppliers and other businesses, as they promoted their responsible entrepreneurship behaviors.

The communications on their businesses’ social responsibility and environmentally-sound practices also served them well to engage with other interested groups; including; human resources, shareholders and investors, among others. This finding mirrors Baumann Pauly et al.’s (2013) argumentation as these authors remarked that each business decision on economic, social, and environmental aspects must take into account all stakeholders. Notwithstanding, the businesses and their marketers need to possess relevant knowledge on their stakeholders, as this will impact on the effectiveness of their CSR communication (Morsing and Schultz, 2006; Vorvoreanu, 2009).

The value of their communications lies in their ability to open-up lines of dialogue through stories and ideas that reflect their stakeholders’ interests (Fieseler and Fleck, 2013; Moreno and Capriotti, 2009). For these reasons, companies cannot afford to overstate or misrepresent their CSR communications. Their online communication with stakeholders could foster positive behaviors or compel remedial actions, and will pay off in terms of corporate reputation, customer loyalty and market standing (Tantalo and Priem, 2016; Du et al, 2010).

This study suggests that the SME owner-managers were recognizing that they had to keep up with the pace of technological innovation. Yet there were a few participants, particularly the older ones, who were still apprehensive toward the use of digital media. Eventually, these respondents should realize that it is in their interest to forge relationships with key stakeholders (Lamberton and Stephen, 2016; Taiminen and Karjaluoto, 2015; Rauniar et al., 2014; Uhlaner et al., 2004). This research posits that the owner-managers or their members of staff should possess relevant digital skills and competences to communicate online with interested parties.

Likewise, Baumann Pauly et al., (2013) also recommended that the managers must be trained, and that their CSR activities must be evaluated. These findings are in line with other contributions (Spence and Perrini, 2011; Perrini et al., 2007) that have theoretically or anecdotally challenged the business case perspective for societal engagement (Penwar et al., 2017; Baden and Harwood 2013; Brammer et al. 2012).

The regression analysis has identified and analyzed the determinants which explain the rationale behind the SME owner-managers’ utilization of digital media for stakeholder engagement and for the promotion of responsible entrepreneurship. It reported that the respondents’ technology acceptance depended on their perceived “use” and “ease of use” of digital media; and on their willingness to communicate online on their commercial, ethical and social responsibilities.

The results from the regression analysis reported positive and significant relationships between the SMEs’ online stakeholder engagement and the pace of technological innovation; and between the SMEs’ online engagement and the owner-managers’ perceived usefulness of digital media. This study indicated that the pace of technological innovation, the owner-managers’ perceived ease of use of the digital media, as well as their commercial responsibility were significant antecedents for their businesses’ online communication of their responsible behaviors. Arguably, the use of technology is facilitated when individuals will perceive its usefulness and its ease of use (Davis, 1989).

In fact, the findings from this research have specified that the owner-managers’ intention was to use digital media to communicate about their responsible entrepreneurship. They also indicated their desire to use this innovation to engage with stakeholders on other topics, including commercial and ethical issues. This is in stark contrast with Penwar et al.’s (2017) findings, as the authors contended that the SME owner-managers’ perceptions on social engagement did not hold the same virility when compared to the context of their larger counterparts. These authors argued that the tangible benefits of CSR engagement had no effect on SMEs. In a similar vein, Baumann Pauly et al.’s (2013) study reported that the larger businesses were more effective than SMEs in their CSR communications.

However, the findings from this study’s second, third and fourth regression
equations indicated that the small and micro businesses were using digital media to improve their stakeholder engagement and to communicate about their responsible entrepreneurship issues.

Implications and Conclusions

SME managers and executives are in a position to enhance the effectiveness of their businesses’ communication efforts. This study has identified and analyzed the SME owner-managers’ attitudes toward the utilization of digital media for the communication of commercial, ethical and social responsibility issues.

Previous academic research has paid limited attention to the technology acceptance of digital media among small businesses, albeit a few exceptions (Taiminen and Karjaluoto, 2015; Baumann Pauly, Wickert, Spence and Scherer, 2013; Durkin et al., 2013; Taylor and Murphy, 2004). In this case, the research findings indicated that digital technologies and applications were perceived as useful by the SME owner-managers. This implies that the utilization of digital media can be viewed as a critical success factor that may lead to an improved engagement with stakeholders.

Several SMEs are already communicating about their responsible entrepreneurship through conventional and interactive media, including; social media, review sites, blogs, et cetera. These savvy businesses are leveraging their communications as they utilize digital media outlets (e.g., The Guardian Sustainability Blog, CSRwire, Triple Pundit and The CSR Blog in Forbes among others) to improve their reach, frequency and impact of their message.

In addition, there are instances where consumers themselves, out of their own volition are becoming ambassadors of trustworthy businesses on digital media (Du et al., 2010). Whilst other stakeholders may perceive these businesses’ posturing behaviors and greenwashing (Camilleri, 2017; Vorvoreanu, 2009).

A thorough literature review suggested that the positive word-of-mouth publicity through digital media may lead to strategic and financial benefits (Camilleri, 2017; Taiminen and Karjaluoto, 2015; Durkin et al., 2013). Therefore, businesses, including SMEs, are increasingly joining conversations in social media networks and online review sites. These sites are being used by millions of users every day. Indeed, there is potential for SMEs to engage with their prospects and web visitors in real-time.

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Filed under Business, Corporate Social Responsibility, digital media, Marketing, Small Business, SMEs, Stakeholder Engagement