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Strategies, perspectives and insights on communicating the ethical positioning of organizations

Special issue call for papers from Corporate Communications

CCIJ Special Issue, Conference and PhD Seminar

With the increasing institutionalization of CSR to corporations, corporate CSR communication is increasing in importance. CSR communication can be defined as a process of anticipating stakeholder expectations, articulation of CSR policy and the managing of different communication tools designed to provide true and transparent information about a company or a brand’s integration of its business operations, social and environmental concerns, and interactions with stakeholders. As such for many corporations, CSR communication has become a balancing act between the interests of the organization and its varied stakeholders.

Globally operating organizations are involved in a wide variety of projects to support the communities in which they are operating in various ways. Many of these organizations claim that sustainability and responsibility is included in their identity profile as a business principles. In our connected world however, NGOs, consumers and other stakeholders are becoming more informed and involved. Recent financial, environmental and societal incidents, crises and issues have shown the potentially damaging effects of attempting to lift the corporate reputation in adopting a CSR program, when actually this is perceived as green or white washing.

Reputations in our connected world are one of the main intangible assets of organizations. Hence, a sound, developed and carefully communicated CSR communication program can be supportive of the reputation of the organization. On the other hand, communicating CSR issues which are not based in actual identity and existent behavior might have the negative influence on a corporations business and can endanger the legitimacy of its existence. In this context decisions regarding the ethical positions of an organization and communication of it’s CSR often brings confrontation with numerous challenges.

This is the general theme of a unique event in the historical and vibrating city of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in which we in cooperation with “Corporate Communications: an International Journal”, invite academic researchers and educators in the field of Corporate Communication and Marketing as well as practitioners seeking information and knowledge on CSR communications to participate in dialogue and set trends.

This conference and subsequent journal special issue will consider both theoretical and empirical papers and extended abstracts for review, and ideas for session proposals will be welcomed. The objective of special sessions is to acquaint corporate communication and marketing educators and researchers with new perspectives, theories, and provocative ideas. In submitting special session proposals, the organizer and listed participants request that, if accepted, they all register and appear at the conference. A special seminar/section for Ph.D. students will also organized and take place prior to the conference. 

Successful authors will present their papers at the conference and all competitive papers accepted for the conference will be reviewed for the Corporate Communications: An International journal (CCIJ). The conference will consider both full competitive and working papers. Targeted at academics and practitioners, the organizers hope the conference will provide a wonderful opportunity for academics and professionals to network, discuss, debate and exchange ideas and viewpoints.

Please note that all papers must conform to the format instructions and will be subjected to formal blind review. Authors will be notified of acceptance, rejection or suggested modifications as soon as the review processes both for conference and journal special issue have been completed. Acceptance of a paper means that the author (or one of the authors) will present the paper at the conference.

We are inviting scholars to submit their empirical and conceptual work on the broad theme of Ethical positioning of the organization, and the use of Communication in its broader essence to participate in this unique event in the historical city of Amsterdam. Relevant subtopics include, but are not restricted to, the following:

- Different aspects of “CSR washing”
- Cause Related Marketing
- Internal and external aspects of CSR    
- CSR in social media context
- Critical views on corporate marketing practices  
- Tools for communicating CSR
- CSR communication best practices
- International aspects of CSR communication    

Important Dates:

May 1st, 2011 – Abstract Submission Deadline
May 30th 2011 - Feedback on abstract, and selection for conference
September 30th - Deadline for full papers
October 2011 - Conference in Amsterdam
November 30 - Feedback on full papers and selection for special issue
January, 15th 2012 - Revised papers deadline
February 1st - Final selection of papers for special issue
May 15th - Publication date of CCIJ special issue on CSR Communication.

Conference venue, dates and invited speakers to be announced.

Guest editors:

Anne-Ellerup Nielsen, Centre for Corporate Communication, Aarhus University, Denmark

Christa Thomson, Centre for Corporate Communication, Aarhus University, Denmark

Urša Golob, Marketing Communication and Public Relations Department, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Klement Podnar, Marketing Communication and Public Relations, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Friederike Schultz, Department of Communication, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Wim Elving, ASCoR, Corporate Communication Department, ASCoR, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands