Rhetorical Construction of Narcissistic CSR Orientation

Kirsti Iivonen, Johanna Moisander
  • Journal of Business Ethics, July 2014, Springer Science + Business Media
  • DOI: 10.1007/s10551-014-2298-1

Does the beverages industry's response to the obesity issue manifest a Narcissistic CSR Orientation?

What is it about?

In this paper, we continue and extend the emerging scholarship on critical CSR. By means of an empirical study that draws on the literature on organizational narcissism, we identify and develop the construct of "narcissistic CSR orientation". Our analysis focuses on the stakeholder communication of the American Beverages Association (ABA), the trade organization for the American non-alcoholic beverage industry. In the empirical context of the global "obsesity epidemic" - which is partly attributed to people drinking exessive amounts of sugary sodas - we identify three defensive rhetorical strategies through which the ABA makes sense of the accountability and responsibility of the beverages industry for the issue. Our analysis suggests that these strategies manifest a CSR orientation that may be viewed as narcissistic in a number of ways.

Why is it important?

The paper unpacks and illustrates the narcissistic nature and dimensions of the relationship that organizations may develop when faced with a legitimacy crisis.


Professor Johanna K. Moisander
Aalto University

While working on this paper, I also decided to chair a track on 'Critical Perspectives on Corporate Social Responsibility and Stakeholder Relations' at EGOS 2015 with Kathryn Fahy (Lancaster University) and Claudia Groß (Radboud University Nijmegen). Discussions with Kathryn and Claudia helped us develop the basic argument of the paper. Thanks!

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The following have contributed to this page: Professor Johanna K. Moisander