Sustainability Seminar Series: Corporate Responsibility Communication in the Age of Social Media - Exploring Patterns of Constitution

Social media has become a site of social (re)construction, continuously constituting new realities, especially in the context of corporate responsibility (CR) communication. Morsing and Schultz’s (2006) CR communication strategies, a foundational publication of the field, precedes the age of social media and the study of communicative constitution of CR (see Schoeneborn’ s work). In response, we revisit CR communication strategies through a communicative constitution lens, by studying fifty European and Chinese companies’ CR communication on social media.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 - 09:00 to 11:30

>>>Note the change of room! It is now Dalgas Have, 2Ø.014.

The seminar

We find four dyadic (company-stakeholder) patterns of constitutive CR communication on social media. First, in the dissemination-reformation pattern, companies attempt to achieve viral dissemination of their CR messages, but stakeholders engage in reformative constitution, communicating ‘around’ these messages with the intent to reform corporate practices. Secondly, in the response-information pattern, companies actively seek feedback and stakeholders engage in informative constitution, shaping future initiatives informed by their feedback. Third, in the involvement-formation pattern, companies outline the basic frame of a CR initiative asking for involvement and stakeholders engage in formative constitution, giving the initiative its actual form by both adjusting the frame and filling it with their contents. Fourth, in the cocreation-performation pattern, companies provide a social media environment for the co-creation of new CR initiatives and stakeholders engage in performative constitution making new CR initiatives come true. We illustrate each pattern by representative communication episodes, namely Iberdrola’s Smart Grids (dissemination-reformation), Deutsche Telekom’s Cyber Security (response-information), China Eastern’s Moment of Love (involvement-formation), and Haier’s Good Air (cocreation-performation).

We contribute an extension of CR communication strategies to the social media context, and enhance their explanatory power by studying co-dependent dyadic patterns, including underlying constitutive processes and outcomes. We also contribute to the constitutive communication of organization discussions by foregrounding the constitutive potential of social media communication and by proposing an explanatory typology of constitutive communication patterns in the social media context.

This presentation provides a substantial update to previously presented work-in-progress [see Laasch, O., Ren, D., Barrueta, A., Conaway, R., & Gomez-Segovia, A. (2018). Co-creation in Europe and China: Revisiting CR communication strategies in social media, presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting in Chicago, and the European Academy of Management Meeting in Reykjavik]. The presentation is aimed at generating a lively discussion about CR communication strategies on social media both with students and academics at CBS, especially Mette Morsing, Majken Schultz, and Dennis Schoeneborn on whose work this project builds up on.

The presenter

Oliver Laasch

Oliver Laasch is an Assistant Professor of Strategy at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China, founder of the Centre for Responsible Management Education and a visiting professor at the University of Tübingen’s Global Ethic Institute. Currently, he is a part of Copenhagen Business School’s Governing Responsible Business (GRB) World Class Research Environment Fellowship program.

How to participate

Simply write an email to to sign up, before June 15. The event takes places in Dalgas Have, 2Ø.014.

The page was last edited by: CBS Sustainability // 03/03/2020