TitleEvolution of a design for communication
NameGrushina, Svetlana V. (author), Aakhus, Mark (chair), Mokros, Hartmut B (internal member), Bzkak, Michael J (internal member), Kelemen, R. Daniel (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
SubjectCommunication, Information and Library Studies,
Social responsibility of business
DescriptionThis study examines the communication design practice (Aakhus, 2007) of a third-party expert communication-information service – the Global Reporting Initiative –by describing the evolutionary path of a design for communication. The object of study is the change in the design proposal for the reporting move as stipulated in the GRI Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. GRI’s proposal for sustainability reporting is an intervention into civil regulation made by institutionalizing a way for organizations to
disclose their social, environmental, and economic performance to their stakeholders, and thus an effort to shape the quality of communication about issues of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) that arise at the intersection of business and society. The Report Content sections of the Guidelines – G1 (2000), G2 (2002), G3 (2006), and G3.1 (2011) – were used as data in this study. Analysis identified changes over time between the Guidelines’ versions and was guided by the design stance conceptually (Aakhus & Jackson, 2005), and a modified grounded theory (GT) approach
procedurally (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). A main finding in this study is that the “success” of the GRI Guidelines has been puzzling, in light of the documents’ increasingly normative and prescriptive approach, yet increased distancing from the reporting organizations as primary stakeholders alongside emerging orientation toward international standard-setting organizations as main drivers of report content. Findings also showed that the GRI’s specifications for the reporting move have changed over time from flexible requests to provide factual information about current activities in G1 to more imperative requests to account for past and present behavior while embracing a global view of expansive civic responsibilities in G3/3.1. Analysis has shown that the GRI has intervened significantly in the arena of civil regulation, although the promise of substantive company-stakeholder dialogue about CSR matters has not been realized. Instead, the GRI has created a new bureaucracy that seemingly satisfies all the participants yet whose contribution to a more sustainable world is questionable. The study has introduced theory-practice implications for civil
regulation, which are grounded in design rationality as explanatory framework.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Svetlana V. Grushina
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.