'n Model vir korporatiewe-sosialeverantwoordelikheidskommunikasie : 'n toepassing in die landbousektor
Kloppers, Elizabeth Maria
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It is the contention of this study that corporate social responsibility (CSR) has at least two functions: contributing towards sustainable development, and creating a strategic advantage for the company concerned. To achieve both functions mentioned above, effective communication is seen as paramount. Hence the argument is that companies should communicate about (for a strategic advantage) as well as in CSR (in contributing towards sustainable development). Therefore a model for CSR communication should contain both types of CSR communication. Currently, the theoretical field of CSR communication is inadequate, and therefore theories from other fields are consulted in order to recommend appropriate theoretical grounding. Exponents argue that communication about CSR should adhere to the principles of three communication management approaches, seeing that these approaches pursue similar aims as communication about CSR. These approaches include the following: symmetric two-way communication, the reflective approach, as well as strategic communication management. Regarding communication in CSR, it is argued that this form of communication should comply with the principles of the participatory approach to development communication, seeing that this form of communication aims for sustainable development. On the basis of a literature study on the above mentioned approaches to communication, the present study proposes a theoretical model for CSR communication. The empirical part of the study focuses on the agricultural sector, and the theoretical CSR model for communication is applied to the sector to establish the utility of such a model. The study proposes that support to emerging farmers should be the main focus of the CSR initiatives undertaken by agricultural companies. Therefore it is accepted that agricultural companies should communicate in CSR with emerging farmers (as beneficiaries), whereas they should communicate about CSR with the commercial farmers (as their clients, providers, and sometimes shareholders). The present study investigated the CSR communication of two agricultural companies, namely Senwes and NWK. The empirical part of the study was based on a qualitative approach, and the research methods employed are semi-structured interviews, focus groups, as well as qualitative content analysis. Quantitative content analysis was also utilised to analyse the results that were obtained through the other research methods. vi It was found that communication in CSR between employees of the particular agricultural companies and emerging farmers mainly complies with the principles of the participatory approach to development communication. In general, the emerging farmers were quite satisfied with the current communication. In contrast, it seems that agricultural companies attempts to avoid communication about their CSR initiatives with commercial farmers as far as possible. None of the commercial farmers who partook in the study was cognisant of the companies‟ involvement in developing agriculture whatsoever, and, therefore, reacted extremely negative towards this lack of communication. From the proposed model for CSR communication it seems as if the communication channels, nature of communication and principles for communication generally are similar for communication either in, or about CSR. The aims of these two types of CSR communication do interlap in some instances but my, however, also diverge. It is difficult to integrate communication in and about CSR into a single model, since the meta-theoretical frameworks that ground the relevant base theories seem to hold different views on the object of communication as such.
- Humanities