Heading for new shores: Impact orientation of CSR communication and the need for communicative responsibility

Franzisca Weder*, Sabine Einwiller, Tobias Eberwein

*Corresponding author for this work

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Purpose: This editorial is an introduction to the special issue on CSR communication related to the 4th CSR Communication Conference, held in Vienna (Austria) in September 2017. The purpose of this paper is to critically reflect on the state-of-the-art in academic research on CSR communication concepts, strategies and future scenarios. Design/methodology/approach: The editorial critically evaluates existing academic research dealing with CSR communication in the digital age. More precisely, it analyses established theories and concepts of CSR communication in terms of their fit to meet future challenges. Findings: It can be noted that CSR communication practice is heading for new shores. Economic pressure, legal and political requirements, reputation risks in a digital media ecology and a new civic-minded and well-being-oriented generation of employees require a reorientation of CSR communication from information to impact orientation. Thus, the authors complement the approach of communication about CSR with the concept of communicative responsibility as a normative framework for corporate communication in the future. Originality/value: The analyzed literature as well as the papers of the CSR Communication Conference indicate that the authors are heading toward a future of impact- instead of information-oriented communication. Here, communicative responsibility comes in as a fourth dimension of corporate responsibility, offering a normative framework for strategic, impact-oriented sustainability communication, integrated reporting and internal CSR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-211
Number of pages14
JournalCorporate Communications
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Communicative responsibility
  • CSR communication
  • Impact
  • Internal CSR
  • Reporting

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