Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Manship School of Mass Communication

Document Type



This dissertation aimed to investigate the relationships between corporate social responsibility (CSR) internal communication strategies, shared meaning of CSR, employee CSR engagement, and employee-organization relationships. Grounded in the organization-public relationship theory (OPR; Ledingham, 2003), the social exchange theory (Cropanzano & Mitchell, 2005), the four models of public relations (Grunig et al., 1995), the fully functioning society theory (Heath, 2006), and the literature on internal communication as well as CSR communication, this study aimed to test the effect of strategic internal CSR communication on the CSR shared-meaning creation. Also, this dissertation examined whether the shared meaning subsequently results in employee CSR engagement and positive employee-organization relationships. In this study, 719 full-time employees with CSR experience from diverse industries and different company sizes participated.

Findings from this dissertation provided insight into the influence of internal CSR communication strategies in creating shared meaning, prompting employee CSR engagement, and cultivating employee-organization relationship. In particular, this study found that CSR information communication and involvement communication significantly enhanced employees’ perception of the shared meaning of CSR between them and the organization. Shared meaning, in turn, facilitated more employee CSR engagement and improved employee-organization relationship. CSR response communication, however, hindered the creation of the shared meaning of CSR between the organization and employees. The impact of CSR response communication is primarily on creating a transparent CSR communication environment, prompting employee CSR engagement, and advancing relationship management. The findings also indicated that CSR involvement communication and corporate storytelling contributed to

viii transparent CSR communication, which subsequently fostered a quality relationship between employees and the organization.

The shared meaning of CSR served as a mediator between the links of internal CSR communication strategies and employee CSR engagement and the associations between these strategies and employee-organization relationship cultivation. Furthermore, findings revealed that transparent CSR communication and employee CSR engagement bridged the association between internal CSR communication and relationship building. These findings provided theoretical and practical insights into CSR communication and relationship management.

Committee Chair

Park, Hyojung



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