Wrinkles in a CSR story: mismatched agendas in fast fashion service brands' CSR reputation

Karl-Jacob Mickelsson, Joep van Haren, Jos Lemmink

Tutkimustuotos: LehtiartikkeliArtikkeliTieteellinenvertaisarvioitu

4 Sitaatiot (Scopus)
29 Lataukset (Pure)


Purpose: Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an increasingly important issue for service brands in fast fashion retailing, as consumers' negative impressions about retailers' CSR activities influence brand experience. Consumers' impressions of CSR efforts arise based on agendas communicated through many channels from different sources. The paper unravels the ‘wrinkles’, i.e. possible mismatches in CSR communication around service brands by studying differences between the three main sources of fast fashion brand-related CSR agendas: Autonomous company communication, news media and social media postings by consumers. Design/methodology/approach: The authors use structural topic modeling (STM) to analyze a corpus of texts focusing on the CSR efforts of three major fast fashion service brands over three years. The texts included 89 items of company communication (CSR reports and press releases), 5,351 news media articles about the brands' CSR efforts and 57,377 consumer generated tweets about the brands. Findings: The STM analysis extracted 26 different CRS-related topics from the texts. Results showed differences in how much the three sources emphasized topics. The brands' own communication puts emphasis on environmental responsibility. News media tended to report on economic issues, treatment of employees and specific CSR-related events. Twitter showed more activity in discussing incident-based and emotionally charged topics. Research limitations/implications: The results feed into the ongoing discussion about how companies' CSR communication relates to communication in the press and among consumers. The authors highlight themes in the individual topics that are emphasized by the three sources, and discuss how CSR themes emerge in the overall transformative agenda. Practical implications: The paper highlights how fast fashion service brands can identify and understand different CSR agendas arising around their brand. Insight into such agendas can be used to tailor the brands' communication strategies. Originality/value: The paper contributes to the understanding of the factors behind fashion service brands' CSR reputation, highlighting how the three main sources of CSR reputation (company reports, news and social media) emphasize different types of agendas.

JulkaisuJournal of Service Management
DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaJulkaistu - 2023
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Julkaistu artikkeli, soviteltu


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