A list of current and past research projects

Sustainability communication on corporate websites – OSEC model

The project aims to explore how organizations use digitalization for communicating their corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts. The Sustainability Communication Center (SCC) has developed a specific operational model (OSEC – that stands for Orientation, Structure, Ergonomics and Content), designed to assess and improve sustainability communication on corporate websites. The model has been tested on a large sample of international companies belonging to different industry. The score range (0-100) allows the possibility of intra-sectoral benchmarking, thus showing the direct competitors that are the top performers in sustainability communication on their websites. More generally, OSEC model aims at rewarding companies for following specific requisites of sustainability communication and penalize those that incur in manifest greenwashing practices.

CSR communication and greenwashing

The research project aims at analyzing different mechanisms and expression of sustainability communication that can be referred as greenwashing. We have already defined an enlarged taxonomy of greenwashing types, current research projects are interested in a systematic bibliometric analysis of deceptive communication in the sustainability realm and in suggesting new insights for organizational members (CEOs, managers and employees) and stakeholders to act sustainably and avoid greenwashing allegations. 

Developing a framework for analyzing CSR communications as legitimacy-seeking strategies

The research aims at developing a framework of different rhetorical strategies, thus evaluating differences among companies both at cross-regional and industry levels (e.g. controversial vs non-controversial companies) in their use of CSR communication as a means to pursue specific legitimacy objectives.

Sustainable brands in digitally empowering contexts: uses and misuse in online brand building

The project aims at studing the nexus between CSR and corporate brands in digitally-empowering contexts, clarifying the central role of social media-scape. Traditional brand building strategies could be easily re-interpreted in these contexts in an opposing perspective, thus raising the risk of brand hijacking and boycotting initiatives.

Attitudes toward sustainable practices (renewable energy, energy save initiatives, food waste, etc.)

The project is interested in exploring public and, specifically consumers, attitudes in environmentally-friendly and/or sustainability-oriented activities, such as adoption of renewable energy sources, energy efficiency or food waste programs both at home and in work environments.

Linking Cultural Dimensions and CSR Communication: Emerging Research and Opportunities

Evaluate how Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, reflected in CSR content embedded on corporate websites, vary between the Asian context and other countries in the world.

Useful links and content
An interesting video review from Tony Rino (Corporate Communication Professional) describing Inductive Content Analysis in CSR Communication studies. The third study mentioned (starting from 7:50) is from SCC (Vollero, A., Conte, F., Siano, A., & Covucci, C. (2019), Corporate social responsibility information and involvement strategies in controversial industries. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, vol. 26 (1), pp. 141-151). Enjoy the video!