Van Halderen, Van Riel and Brown (2011)
Balancing between legitimacy and distinctiveness in corporate messaging: a case study in the oil industry.
Corporate Reputation Review, vol. 14: 4 (273 – 299).

This paper shows how 6 large oil companies express their identity by using 2 messaging patterns in managing legitimacy and distinctiveness. In the first pattern (aiming at legitimacy), companies focus on transparency, sincerity and consistency to build understanding and acceptance among stakeholders. In the second pattern (aimed at distinctiveness) companies take a more provocative standpoint in a public debate to facilitate competitive advantage. We develop a theoretical framework and propositions explaining when and how oil
companies adopt 1 of the 2 patterns depending on their existing reputation, experienced institutional
pressures and their organizational identity.

Hunter, Wassenhove, Besiou and Van Halderen (2013)
The agenda-setting power of stakeholder media.
California Management Review, vol . 56: 1 (24 – 49).

Media controlled by stakeholder communities and groups, or “stakeholder media,” can exercise powerful influence on the strategic agendas of firms. Stakeholder media can be different and in some ways stronger than the influence of traditional news media. This article identifies strategies through which stakeholder groups use their own media to achieve desired outcomes, as support for or extensions of strategies known from the literature on social movements. These strategies rely on specific characteristics of stakeholder media that differ from mainstream media. These communication tools have altered the dynamics of stakeholder influence: on the one hand, allowing them greater independence from and influential collaboration with mainstream media as well as with other stakeholders; and on the other, augmenting the scope and momentum of their adversarial campaigns. There are important risks and opportunities posed to organizations by stakeholder media.
(Keywords: Agenda-Setting, Beyond Petroleum, BP, Corporate Social Responsibility, Financial Times, Greenpeace, Media, News Media, Mainstream Media, MSM, Social Movements, Stakeholder, Stakeholder-Controlled Media, Stakeholder Media)

Van Rekom, Berens and Van Halderen (2013)
Corporate social responsibility: playing to win, or playing not to lose? Doing good by increasing the social benefits of a company’s core activities.
Journal of Brand Management, vol. 20: 9 (800 – 814).

Incorporating corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the positioning of corporate brands has become widespread. However, CSR initiatives may be suboptimal in their long-term effects if they only focus on reducing the costs that organizations impose on society, or if they are not directly related to the company’s core business. CSR activities focused on minimizing the organization’s societal costs are basically a hygiene factor. They avoid harm but beyond that they are unlikely to produce sustainable benefits for corporate branding. CSR projects that are not directly related to the organization’s core business hamper the optimal use of the organization’s expertise, which represents a lost opportunity for the firm as well as for society. If organizations want to strategically embrace CSR to achieve a sustainable positioning of their corporate brand and long-term positive benefits for society, CSR initiatives should come forth from their core business processes and focus on the benefits the organization can offer to society, creating a win-win scenario for the
organization and for society.

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