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An approach to manage corporate scandals: Legitimizing negative incidents in CSR-reports
Karlstad University.
Karlstad University.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Background: The relationship between CSR-reports and legitimacy has been on-going from the very beginning that businesses started to report on sustainability related issues. Prior research suggest that businesses can enhance their competitive edge by maintaining legitimacy through CSR-reports. Therefore, prior research also suggests that businesses can alter how information is disclosed in CSR-reports in order to maintain or enhance their legitimacy. This has caused a tendency amongst businesses to create overly positive and unbalanced reports, but what happens when the lack of negative information backfires?

Purpose: The purpose of the paper is to examine how negative information is disclosed before a corporate scandal, and which legitimization strategies are applied to communicate in CSR-reports to restore legitimacy after facing a corporate scandal.

Method: The paper has applied a thematic analysis to analyze unobtrusive data gathered from CSR-disclosures from ten companies and media outlets who have reported on the scandal, using a qualitative approach.     

Findings: Three key findings were made. CSR-reports are used as a legitimacy tool to disclose negative information. The paper identifies continuous signs of companies shifting focus to maintain or restore legitimacy through the use of strengthened language, the addition of a time-aspect or a new perspective. This finding has led to the last key finding and conclusion of this paper; that an additional strategy can be identified in a majority of the companies – the strategy of shifting focus.

Keywords: Legitimacy, CSR-reports, corporate scandals, negative incidents

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 59
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-68550OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-68550DiVA, id: diva2:1232534
Subject / course
Business Administration
Educational program
Master Programme in Accounting and Control: Master (120 ECTS credits)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-08-06 Created: 2018-07-11 Last updated: 2018-08-06Bibliographically approved

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453953bc8aadab46bfe96c17d4486f350e9533d82a67175acb47ad5f511cc8fe66c921ea39a72cf8c0fe2f8b1d0d121bfc2f11407a5aa5c997e1c2c8f06381f9
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CiteExportLink to record
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