Skip to main content
Log in

The Role of Infomediaries: CSR in the Business Press During 2000–2009

  • Published:
Journal of Business Ethics Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Given the important role that business media play in corporate life, scarce attention has been paid to the role of media in the construction and popularization of corporate social responsibility (CSR). In this article, we understand media as a key infomediary and examine how the business press has framed and presented CSR over the last 10 years. Based on a content analysis of how CSR is presented in two English-language business newspapers with an international readership, we develop a framework for understanding the role of business media setting the corporate CSR agenda. The results show that business media contribute to the construction of what CSR means in corporate practice by creating links between CSR and certain corporate activities, between CSR and arguments that strengthen the view of CSR as a business case, and between CSR and certain spokespersons. These links contribute to create a notion of what CSR stands for, what it means in practice, and why it is important that one should pay attention to.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Abrahamson, E. and G. Fairchild: 1999, ‘Management Fashion: Lifecycles, Triggers, and Collective Learning Processes’, Administrative Science Quarterly, 44(1999), 708-740.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Alvarez, J. L., C. Mazza and J. Strandgaard Pedersen: 2005, ‘The Role of Mass Media in the Consumption of Management Knowledge’, Scandinavian Journal of Management, 21(2), 1-6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bergström, G. and K. Boréus: 2000, Textens mening oh makt: Metodbok i samhällsvetenskaplig textanalys (Studentlitteratur, Lund).

    Google Scholar 

  • Buhr, H., and M., Grafström: 2007, “ ‘The Making of Meaning in the Media: Corporate Social Responsibility in the Financial Times, 1988-2003’ in F., den Hond, F. G. A. de Bakker and P. Neergaard (eds.), Managing Corporate Social Responsibility in Action: Talking, Doing and Measuring, (Ashgate Publishing, Hampshire).

    Google Scholar 

  • Campbell, J. L.: 2007, ‘Why Would Corporations Behave in Socially Responsible Ways? An Institutional Theory of Corporate Social Responsibility’, Academy of Management Review, 32(3), 946-967.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cane, P.: 2002, Responsibility in Law and Morality, (Hart Publishing, Oxford).

    Google Scholar 

  • Carroll, A. B.: 1979, ‘A Three-dimensional Conceptual Model of Corporate Social Performance’, Academy of Management Review, 4(4), 497-505.

    Google Scholar 

  • Carroll, A. B.: 1999, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility: Evolution of a Definitional Construct’, Business & Society, 38(3), 268-295.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Carroll, C. E. (ed.): 2010, Corporate Reputation and the News Media: Agenda-setting within Business News Coverage in Developed, Emerging, and Frontier Markets (Routledge, New York).

    Google Scholar 

  • Carroll, C. E. and M. McCombs: 2003, ‘Agenda-setting Effects of Business News on the Public’s Images and Opinions about Major Corporations’, Corporate Reputation Review 6(1), 36-46.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chen, C. C. and J. R. Meindl: 1991, ‘The Construction of Leadership Images in the Popular Press: The Case of Donald Burr and People Express’, Administrative Science Quarterly, 36(4), 521-551.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cook, T. E.: 1998, Governing with the News: The News Media as a Political Institution (The University of Chicago Press, Chicago).

    Google Scholar 

  • Danielian, L. H. and B. I. Page: 1994, ‘The Heavenly Chorus: Interest Group Voices on TV News’, American Journal of Political Science, 38(4), 1056-1078.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Deephouse, D. L.: 2000, ‘Media Reputation as a Strategic Resource: An Integration of Mass Communication and Resource-Based Theories’, Journal of Management, 26(6), 1091-1112.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Deephouse, D. L. and P. P. M. A. R. Heugens: 2009, ‘Linking Social Issues to Organizational Impact: The Role of Infomediaries and the Infomediary Process’, Journal of Business Ethics, 86(4), 541-553.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • den Hond, F., F. G. A. de Bakker and P. Neergaard (eds.): 2007, Managing Corporate Social Responsibility in Action: Talking, Doing and Measuring. (Ashgate Publishing, Hampshire).

    Google Scholar 

  • Duval, J.: 2005, ‘Economic Journalism in France’, in R. Benson and E. Neveu (eds.), Bourdieu and the Journalistic Field (Polity Press, Cambridge), pp. 135-155.

    Google Scholar 

  • Engwall, L. and K. Sahlin: 2007, ‘Corporate Governance and the Media: From Agency Theory to Edited Corporations’, in P. Kjaer and T. Slaatta (eds.), Mediating Business: The Expansion of Business Journalism in the Nordic Countries (CBS Press, Copenhagen), pp. 265-284.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ericson, R. V., P. M. Baranek and J. B. L. Chan: 1989, Negotiating Control: A Study of News Sources (Open University Press, Milton Keynes).

    Google Scholar 

  • Frankental, P.: 2001, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility – a PR-invention’, Corporate Communications – An International Journal, 6(1), 18-23.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • FT Advertisement: 2010, ‘The FT’s Average Daily Global Audience’, 03.09.2010, http://www.fttoolkit.co.uk/advertising/ft_adga.html

  • Gans, H.: 1979/2004, Deciding What’s News: A study of CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, Newsweek, and Time (Northwestern University Press, Evanston).

  • Garriga, E. and D. Melé: 2004, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility Theories: Mapping the Territory’, Journal of Business Ethics, 53(1/2), 51-71.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Grafström, M.: 2006, ‘The Development of Swedish Business Journalism: Historical Roots of an Organisational Field’, Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Uppsala University, Uppsala.

  • Grafström, M. and J. Pallas: 2007, ‘The Negotiation of Business News’, in P. Kjaer and T. Slaatta (eds.), Mediating Business: The Expansion of Business Journalism in the Nordic Countries (CBS Press, Copenhagen), pp. 217-234.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hannah, D. R. and D. Zatzick: 2008, ‘An Examination of Leader Portrayals in the U.S Business Press Following the Landmark Scandals of the Early 21st Century’, Journal of Business Ethics, 79, 361-377.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hellgren, B., J. Löwstedt, L. Puttonen, J. Tienari, E. Vaara and A. Werr: 2002, ‘How Issues become (Re)constructed in the Media: Discursive Practices in the AstraZeneca Merger’, British Journal of Management 13(2), 123-140.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hirsch, P. M.: 1986, ‘From Ambushes to Golden Parachutes: Corporate Takeovers as an Instance of Cultural Framing and Institutional Integration’, The American Journal of Sociology, 91(4), 800-837.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kjaer P. and T. Slaatta (eds.): 2007, Mediating Business: The Expansion of Business Journalism (CBS Press, Copenhagen).

    Google Scholar 

  • Krippendorff, K.: 2004, Content Analysis: An Introduction to Its Methodology (Sage, Thousand Oaks, Calif.).

    Google Scholar 

  • MacMillan, J. J.: 2007, ‘Why Corporate Social Responsibility? Why Now? How?’, in S. May, G. Cheney, and J. Ropper (eds.), The Debate over Corporate Social Responsibility (Oxford University Press, Oxford).

    Google Scholar 

  • Mazza, C. and J. L. Alvarez: 2000, ‘Haute Couture and Prêt-à-Porter: The Popular Press and the Diffusion of Management Practices’, Organization Studies, 21(3), 567-588.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McCombs, M. and D. L. Shaw: 1972, ‘The Agenda-setting Function of Mass Media’, Public Opinion Quarterly, 36(2), 176-187.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McManus, J. H.: 1994, Market-Driven Journalism: Let the Citizen Beware? (Sage, Thousand Oaks).

    Google Scholar 

  • Meyer, J.W.: 1996, ‘Otherhood: The Promulgation and Transmission of Ideas in the Modern Organizational Environment’, in B. Czarniawska and G. Sevón (eds.), Translating Organizational Change (Walter de Gruyter & CO, Berlin), pp. 241-252.

    Google Scholar 

  • Morsing, M. and R. Langer.: 2007, Business Communication in the Business Press: Advantages of Strategic Ambiguity, CBS Working Paper Series, No. 1 2007 (Center for Corporate Values and Responsibility, Frederiksberg).

  • Mueller, F., J. Sillince, C. Harvey, and C. Howorth: 2003, ‘A Rounded Picture is What We Need: Rhetorical Strategies, Arguments, and the Negotiation of Change in a UK Hospital Trust’, Organization Studies, 25(1), 75-93.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • NRS 2010, ‘Latest Top Line Readership’, [03.09.2010], http://www.nrs.co.uk/toplinereadership.html.

  • östbye, H., K. Knapskog, K. Helland and L. O. Larsen: 2004, Metodbok för medievetenskap (Liber, Malmö).

    Google Scholar 

  • Peng, Y-S. and S-S. Lin: 2008, ‘Local Responsiveness Pressure, Subsidiary Resources, Green Management Adoption and Subsidiary’s Performance: Evidence from Taiwanese Manufactures’, Journal of Business Ethics, 79(1-2), 199-212.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pollock, T. G. and V. P. Rindova: 2003, ‘Media Legitimation Effects in the Market for Initial Public Offerings’, Academy of Management Journal, 46(5), 631-642.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rövik, K. A: 2002, ‘The Secret of the Winners: Management Ideas that Flow’, in K. Sahlin-Andersson and L. Engwall (eds.), The Expansion of Management Knowledge: Carriers, Flows and Sources, (Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA), pp. 113-144.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sahlin-Andersson, K. and L. Engwall (eds.): 2002, The Expansion of Management Knowledge: Carriers, Flows, and Sources (Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA).

    Google Scholar 

  • Schudson, M.: 2003, The Sociology of News (W. W. Norton & Company, New York).

    Google Scholar 

  • Silverman, D.: 2001, Interpreting Qualitative Data: Methods for Analysing Talk, Text and Interaction, 2nd Edition (Sage Publications, London)

  • Tench, R., R. Bowd and B. Jones: 2007, ‘Perceptions and Perspectives: Corporate Social Responsibility and the Media’, Journal of Communication Management, 11(4), 348-370.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • The Guardian: 2010, ‘guardian.co.uk traffic and users’, 03.09.2010, http://www.guardian.co.uk/advertising/display-audience-guardian-traffic-users

  • Vaara, E. and J. Tienari: 2002, ‘Justification, Legitimization and Naturalization of Mergers and Acquisitions: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Media Texts’, Organization, 9(2), 275- 304.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vanhamme, J. and B. Grobben: 2008, ‘Too Good to be True!: The Effectiveness of CSR History in Countering Negative Publicity’, Journal of Business Ethics, 85(2), 273-283.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vogel, D.: 2005, The Market for Virtue: The Potential and Limits of Corporate Social Responsibility (Bookings Institutions Press, Washington, D.C.).

    Google Scholar 

  • Westphal, J. D., R. Gulati and S. M. Shortell: 1997, ‘Customization or Conformity? An Institutional and Network Perspective on the Content and Consequences of TQM Adoption’, Administrative Science Quarterly 42:366-394.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Windell, K.: 2006, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility under Construction: Ideas, Translation, and Institutional Change’, Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Uppsala University, Uppsala.

  • Windell, K.: 2010, ‘CSR Conferences as Catwalks: The Translation of an idea’, in P. Dobers (ed.) Corporate Social Responsibility: Challenges and Practices (Santérus Academic Press, Stockholm), pp. 19-51.

    Google Scholar 

  • Zbaracki, M. J.: 1998, ‘The Rhetoric and Reality of Total Quality Management’, Administrative Science Quarterly, 43(3), 602-636.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Maria Grafström.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Grafström, M., Windell, K. The Role of Infomediaries: CSR in the Business Press During 2000–2009. J Bus Ethics 103, 221–237 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-011-0862-5

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-011-0862-5

Keywords

Navigation