Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability and Public Relations: Negotiating Multiple Complex Challenges, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability and Public Relations

Negotiating Multiple Complex Challenges, 1st Edition

By Donnalyn Pompper


198 pages | 5 B/W Illus.

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While public relations offers numerous assets for organization-stakeholder relationship building and for ethical corporate social responsibility and sustainability communication, it also faces challenges linked to negative perceptions of the profession which can lead to accusations of "greenwashing." This innovative book critically explores the growing, complex and sometimes contradictory connections among public relations, corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

This book advocates a postmodern insider-activist role for public relations which can transform organizations into moral places committed to people, planet, and profit. By amplifying voices of nearly 100 for-profit and nonprofit professionals, and using hermeneutic phenomenological theme analyses of CSR/Sustainability reports and websites, this book invokes public relations, postmodern and critical theories to empower public relations professionals to transform organizations into ethical, authentic and transparent actors in the public sphere. It is essential reading for scholars, educators and enquiring professionals working in public relations, corporate communication, sustainability and corporate social responsibility.


'This is a timely and useful text. Pompper skillfully integrates contemporary theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and professional voices to create a nuanced and intriguing look at the ethical and practical challenges and opportunities embedded in today's complex web of stakeholder relations. The work is filled with invaluable insights for understanding the communicative dynamics of organizing more effective and ethically-oriented systems.' - Cynthia Stohl, Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Pompper makes a compelling case for public relations practitioners as internal activists leading the charge for responsible corporate action. Top global practitioners tackle difficult issues in a nuanced manner and provide fresh insights. This book will be invaluable for practitioners and educators who want to critically engage with the interplay of public relations, business, and society in a globalized world.' - Patricia A. Curtin, Professor, The University of Oregon, USA

'Interweaving the personal insights of a range of senior industry personnel to inform and ground its ambitious project, this book's fascinating discussion reflects on the challenges facing public relations in developing CSR/Sustainability as a force for significant social change.' - Dr.Anne Surma, Senior Lecturer, Murdoch University, Australia

Table of Contents

1. Forging Public Relations and CSR/Sustainability Connections 2. CSR/Sustainability, Public Relations, and Ethics: Doing no harm and doing the right thing 3. Spanning Boundaries and Building CSR/Sustainability Stakeholder Relationships 4. Communicating CSR/Sustainability and Managing Information Flows 5. Engaging Employees with CSR/Sustainability 6. On Being Prepared to Navigate Ethics and CSR/Sustainability 7. Measuring and Reporting CSR/Sustainability 8. Reforming Organizations: Insider perspectives in three parts 9. Considering the Future of Public Relations and Links with CSR/Sustainability

About the Author

Donnalyn Pompper is Associate Professor of Strategic Communications at Temple University, USA. She also has extensive corporate PR experience with Campbell’s Soup Company, the Tasty Baking Company and Lewis, Gilman & Kynett, once the largest public relations/advertising firm in Philadelphia.

About the Series

Routledge New Directions in Public Relations & Communication Research

Current academic thinking about PR and related communication is a lively, expanding marketplace of ideas and many scholars believe that it’s time for its radical approach to be deepened. Routledge New Directions in PR & Communication Research is the forum of choice for this new thinking. Its key strength is its remit, publishing critical and challenging responses to continuities and fractures in contemporary PR thinking and practice, tracking its spread into new geographies and political economies. It questions its contested role in market-orientated, capitalist, liberal democracies around the world, and examines its invasion of all media spaces, old, new, and as yet unenvisaged. The New Directions series has already published and commissioned diverse original work on: PR’s influence on Israeli and Palestinian nation building; its origins in the history of ideas; a Jungian approach to its ethics and professionalism; global perspectives on its professional practice; PR as an everyday language for everyone; as emotional labour; as communication in conflicted societies, and its relationships to cooperation, justice and paradox. We actively invite new contributions and offer academics a welcoming place for the publication of their analyses of a universal, persuasive mind-set that lives comfortably in old and new media around the world.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Business Ethics
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Public Relations
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies