Framing of Corporate Social Responsibility by Agribusiness in the USA and Europe : A study of whether the Corporate Social Responsibility disclosure of the agribusiness firms in the USA and Europe align to the stakeholders’ expectations, specifically to the NGOs and the external constituents
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This thesis examines whether the CSR reports by agricultural biotechnology and agrochemical companies in the USA and Europe align to the stakeholders’ (NGOs and the external constituents) expectations. The focus is on issues of key importance to these firms and the stakeholders, including GMOs, chemicals, and the corporate control over seeds. Framing creates expectations, as framing theory indicates framing is to focus on some of the many facets through which an issue can be seen, and highlight them using salient words and phrases to render them significant. The analysis revealed that 16 companies prepare CSR reports: 8 European and 8 US. In the European region: 4 CSR reports discussed about these issues, and 4 did not. In the USA region: 3 CSR reports discussed about these issues and 5 did not. These 7 CSR reports discussed about the facets of the issues that were of interest for the stakeholders, but from a different angle, creating different framing approaches amongst the actors, and misalignment to the stakeholders’ expectations. Framing explains different actors’ approach towards issues of discourse. Comprehension of the framing is vital for companies, since CSR reporting is about communication, and framing is present to any kind of communication, deliberate or inadvertent. Framing of an issue might take place on a mutual accepted and common frame, or on diverse frames. In the second case each actor creates a unique frame towards an issue which produce a parallel monologue leading to conflict. My thesis recommendation for companies publishing CSR reports is to improve their disclosures by aligning framing approaches. Keywords: CSR reporting, Framing, Agribusiness, GMOs, chemical.
Master thesis Business Administration BE501 - University of Agder 2016