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Vicious and Virtuous Circles of Aspirational Talk: From Self-Persuasive to Agonistic CSR Rhetoric

Winkler, Peter, Etter, Michael and Castello Molina, Itziar (2019) Vicious and Virtuous Circles of Aspirational Talk: From Self-Persuasive to Agonistic CSR Rhetoric Business & Society. pp. 1-31.

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Abstract

Scholars are divided over the question of whether managerial aspirational talk that contradicts current business practices can contribute to corporate social responsibility (CSR). In this conceptual article, we explore the rhetorical dynamics of aspirational talk that either impede or foster CSR. We argue that self-persuasive CSR rhetoric, as one enactment of aspirational talk, can attract attention and scrutiny from organizational members. Continued adherence to this rhetoric, however, creates and perpetuates tensions that lead to a vicious circle of disengagement. A virtuous circle, by contrast, requires a shift toward an agonistic rhetoric that transcends tensions by rearticulating aspirations in concurrence with situated understandings of responsible corporate practice. Our arguments contribute to a better understanding of how communication becomes constitutive of CSR and address the debate on decoupling between talk and action.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Surrey Business School
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
Winkler, Peter
Etter, Michael
Castello Molina, Itziari.castello@surrey.ac.uk
Date : 13 February 2019
Funders : European Commission
DOI : 10.1177/0007650319825758
Grant Title : EC Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions European Fellowship scheme
Copyright Disclaimer : © The Author(s) 2019
Uncontrolled Keywords : Agonism; Aspirational talk; Corporate social responsibility (CSR); Decoupling; Rhetoric
Depositing User : Rebecca Cooper
Date Deposited : 14 May 2019 08:20
Last Modified : 06 Sep 2019 12:13
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/851808

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