Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, Vol 12, No 2

Corporate social responsibility enactment in banking: A case study of subtle discursive negotiation of power

Elisabeth Houe Thomsen
Issued Date: 9 Jul 2019


This paper studies the relationship between implicit and explicit corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication via discourse focused on limiting power inequality in situations that usually constitute a natural power struggle at Merkur, a small Danish values-based bank focused on the value of ‘sustainability’. My primary focus is on ways in which participants represent various power positions, and how these positions are negotiated discursively. Data stem from three sources: internal meetings between employees, an employee–customer meeting and email correspondence. The analytical approach is critical discourse analysis (CDA), with a focus on strategies of legitimation. Based on the findings, I argue that implicit CSR communication – or in this case, the enactment of values by attempting to lessen power inequalities in employee–customer relations – is preferable to explicit CSR, which is more usually adopted as a branding tool by businesses, but which can come across as boastful and insincere.

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DOI: 10.1558/jalpp.32061


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