The communicative power of Agenda 2030 - A qualitative text analysis on how the SDGs function as aspirational CSR talk
Sammanfattning: Conventional research on CSR communication takes on a managerial approach. This approach view CSR action as more important than CSR communication, and therefore risks losing valuable insights in the potential of CSR communication. A new line of communication scholars claim that CSR is essentially aspirational talk, and that speech is also action. This thesis questions this theoretical foundation by providing an empirical examination of how aspirational CSR talk develops over time in annual reports of companies that are successful in CSR work. A model of how speech act-theory can be adapted to text guides the analysis. The qualitative speech act analysis uses the Sustainable Development Goals as examples of aspirational talk. Based on the earlier suggestions of communication scholars, the SDGs are being traced over time as aspirational CSR talk in texts. The findings show that the CSR aspirations should be closely linked to the core business, and that assertive speech acts should be combined with more aspirational speech acts in order for the aspirations to be elaborated and extended. Moreover, aspirational CSR talk should be empirically examined with the hearer’s interpretation in mind. This aspect was not included in the suggested theoretical framework. Lastly, studying aspirational CSR talk over time should adopt a more established CCO-perspective than what have been suggested by the theoretical framework. Using a perspective that communication have potential of inducing action implies a false view of CCO, since it ultimately indicates that action still is the end goal, instead of communication itself.
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