The Use of Corporate Social Responsibility as a Public Relations Strategy considering Latin America as an example

The Use of Corporate Social Responsibility as a Public Relations Strategy considering Latin America as an example

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Inhaltsangabe:Abstract: Economic developments of the last several decades have changed the economic and social structures of industrialized and developing countries, leading to new business opportunities but also to terrifying social dangers and rising ecological catastrophes worldwide. Multinationals are increasingly expected by their stakeholders to find strategies and ways to respond to these international challenges, to play a more active role in addressing social issues, and to take responsibility for their actions in developing countries. It is the task of public relations practitioners to balance these societal demands and stakeholders expectations with the goals of their company and to communicate in an effective manner by developing socially responsible strategies. The effectiveness of strategies and communication programs depends on how public relations practitioners communicate with their stakeholders and on how much effort they make to build and maintain good relationships. To guarantee good relations and effective campaigns, the public relations function must be involved in the overall strategic management process where public relations strategies can be managed by objectives. Furthermore, public relations practitioners have to employ two-way symmetrical communication, to facilitate mutual understanding and relationship-building between their corporation and its stakeholders. Corporations can react to societal demands by using corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a public relations strategy. CSR can be considered either as an opportunity to improve a corporation s image and financial success or as a response to arising conflicts and crises. Both strategic approaches are discussed in this study, as, in practice, corporations respond to issues (proactive) but also have to deal with crises (reactive). Today, many corporations use CSR proactively, as they are aware of its various positive outcomes and valuable contributions for both society and its business success. Corporations can act with altruistic or self-interested motives, but, whichever motivation establishes the basis for CSR, both require the employment of issues management, a strategic planning process that analyses the impact of societal issues and gives corporations the chance to invest effectively and proactively. Corporations can contribute to societal demands in three ways: first, by making cash and in-kind donations to public charities; secondly they can support corporate volunteerism, inviting employees to volunteer at a non-profit organization, which creates partnerships between employees, non-profit organizations and the corporation; and thirdly, they can establish a corporate foundation, an independent entity that operates its own charitable programs. The decision to use one of these public relations tactics depends on organizational goals, available resources and the extent of corporate willingness to cooperate with non-profit organizations and build long-term relationships. Besides proactive strategies and tactics, CSR can also be used reactively, employed as an effective response to conflicts and crises. These crises can either attack corporations suddenly or slowly, and depending upon their nature and extent, corporations have to react with crisis communication strategies. These can be either defensive or accommodative; however, keeping in mind that two-way communication strategies are the most effective, corporations should consider more accommodative strategies (ingratiation, corrective action, full apology) if defensive strategies (attack, denial, excuse) are not effective in solving the crisis and repairing the corporate image. Whereas the first three chapters describe CSR as a public relations strategy in general that is applicable for programs both in home and host countries, the last part of the study discusses additional challenges of international CSR campaigns, considering Latin America as example. Specific societal variables of Latin America, such as political-economic systems, culture and the media are examined in detail, as an understanding of such variables is necessary for a successful socially responsible campaign. Thereupon, two case studies illustrate the use of CSR by multinationals in Latin America. The Pan-American campaign of BellSouth on education for working children gives an example of a proactive strategy, whereas the case study of ChevronTexaco s oil exploration in Ecuador demonstrates a reactive strategy and is a negative example of crisis communication. At whatever stage public relations reacts with communication programs, all programs should aim at building and maintaining good relationships, which influence the positive reputation of an organization and the achievement of its organizational goals. However, the most effective and professional way is to interact and communicate as early as possible, leading to the conclusion that multinationals should use CSR proactively rather than reactively. With this approach, time is available to do effective research, analyse the situation, identify key stakeholders, develop a plan of action for a successful campaign and avoid image-damaging crises. Given a changing global landscape, CSR is increasingly considered compulsory, and multinationals operating in developing countries do not have a choice other than to include CSR in their strategic management decision making and to respond to international challenges and issues. Table of Contents: ITABLE OF CONTENTS1 IITABLE OF ILLUSTRATIONS3 IIILIST OF ABBREVIATIONS4 1.INTRODUCTION5 2.CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IN THE 21ST CENTURY7 2.1Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)7 2.2Trends in the Economy10 2.3Meeting Societal Demands 14 3.PUBLIC RELATIONS AND CSR20 3.1Nature of Public Relations20 3.2Public Relations as a Management Function24 3.2.1Empowerment of Public Relations in the Dominant Coalition24 3.2.2Involvement of Public Relations in Strategic Management26 4.CSR AS A PUBLIC RELATIONS STRATEGY30 4.1Public Relations Process30 4.2Social Responsibility as a Corporate Opportunity33 4.2.1Altruistic and bottom-line approach of CSR33 4.2.2Issues Management36 4.2.3CSR Strategic Decisions40 4.3Tactics and Tools of Public Relations Strategies44 4.3.1Corporate Giving44 4.3.2Corporate Volunteerism47 4.3.3Corporate Foundations50 4.3.4Communication Tools for CSR Tactics52 4.4CSR as Response to Threats and Pressure53 4.4.1Crisis Communication54 4.4.2Crisis Communication Strategies56 5.CASE STUDIES IN LATIN AMERICA60 5.1Challenges of international CSR campaigns60 5.2Implementing programs in Latin America61 5.3BellSouth ProniApo: CSR as a proactive strategy65 5.4ChevronTexaco in Ecuador: CSR as a reactive strategy70 6.CONCLUSION78 7.REFERENCES80The effectiveness of strategies and communication programs depends on how public relations practitioners ... 2 Another approach is offered by Cutlip, Center and Broom: a€œPublic Relations is the management function that identifies, establishesanbsp;...

Title:The Use of Corporate Social Responsibility as a Public Relations Strategy considering Latin America as an example
Author:Kathrin Bauer - 2004-09-27


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