Language and Societies

ANT/LIN 5320 at Wayne State University

Ubermess: Corporate Social Responsibility Responses as a Dialogue through Social Media

Ubermess: Corporate Social Responsibility Responses as a Dialogue through Social Media

Kaitlin Carter 

In today’s business world, companies often find themselves in the middle of politically- and social-charged events. Whether they are in these situations willingly or unwillingly, they often must make time-sensitive responses on the issues at hand to clarify their corporate social responsibility (or CSR) stances. Today in America, social media allows for instantaneous publishing and scrutiny of CSR responses. The purpose of this paper is to assess the interactive, conversational nature of companies’ CSR responses in light of specific events. To do so, I analyze the appropriateness of classical business theory on CSR and the concept of audience in terms of who a company’s message reaches in the age of social media. I conclude that long-established classical political business theories on CSR seem to lack structure that elucidates the interaction that occurs in present-day. Instead, I argue that CSR should be viewed as a dialogue as outlined by Brennan et al. in 2013, keeping in mind that the audience receiving the CSR responses are larger than ever before due to traditional media coverage and social media dissemination. Lastly, I utilize critical discourse analysis to identify the avoidance techniques used by Uber in response to the January 2016 Uber involvement with the New York City taxi strikes as a timely example of how CSR response statements are formulated and continually altered in response to a specific event.

April 6, 2017 - Posted by | abstract


  1. Kaitlin, you certainly explore a great deal in this paper and your abstract is very clear and direct, particularly for someone like me who is not familiar with CSR or classical political business theories. I have a minor suggestion concerning the structure of your abstract. The last sentence seems to relate more to your research methodology, so I would recommend trying to incorporate it in the middle of your abstract when you are discussing your analysis of CSR responses. To me, the sentence that starts “Instead, I argue that CSR…” feels more like the conclusions/findings portion of your research, so I recommend having this instead be the last sentence of your abstract. OR if the Uber case study illustrates your research conclusions/findings, perhaps mention how this particular study validates your conclusions/findings in terms of CSR responses being viewed as dialogue.

    Comment by Kailey McAlpin | April 17, 2017 | Reply

  2. While this is outside of the scope of your research, I wonder if you have any thoughts on the CSR statements made by United Airlines in light of recent events?

    Comment by Emily Lock | April 17, 2017 | Reply

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