Below is a sample working paper from spring of 2016.
CSR Communication and the Micro-Accumulation of Reputational Capital
Abstract: This paper argues corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance should be understood as something that is not just reported but communicated. Beyond one-way disclosure, CSR is increasingly seen in firms’ mobilizational efforts, two-way dialogue with stakeholders, public educational messages, and a variety of other discursive and conversational tactics. These tactics, I posit, can play an important role in determining dynamic, micro-level changes in reputation. In this study, I employ inductive analyses combined with machine learning algorithms to code the communication tactics and acquired reputation in the 18,722 original messages sent by Fortune 200 firms’ dedicated CSR feeds in 2014. Using a series of logit regressions, I then examine the relationship between different dimensions of reputational capital and firms’ CSR communication tactics. I find the awareness dimension of reputation is driven by the use of informational tactics such as disclosure, while reputational favorability is significantly influenced not by the provision of information but by the use of more interactive communicative tactics. In summary, this paper provides evidence of a number of new, non-reporting-based CSR communication tactics and illustrates how firms may acquire reputational capital on a micro-, message-by-message, day-to-day level.
Keywords: Big Data, corporate communication, corporate social responsibility, CSR disclosure, machine learning, public perceptions, corporate reputation, social media, stakeholder engagement
This paper has an online appendix available here.