Ms Hilke Steenkamp presented her oral doctoral thesis in communication management, focusing on communicating corporate social responsibility (CSR) through social networks as a new avenue for reputation management, at the University of Pretoria on 15 June 2015.
For the thesis, Steenkamp explored how two South African financial institutions, namely FNB and Capitec, communicated their CSR initiatives to stakeholders on platforms such as their annual integrated reports, websites, Facebook and Twitter. With the rise of social network services (SNSs), reputation managers are compelled to manage corporate reputations in an online environment.
Steenkamp’s results portrayed that, when computer assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) programmes were used to examine the dialogue, interactions and threat of stakeholders on SNSs, it could permit the organisation to react timeously and strategically when negative threats arose. Secondly, when SNSs are re-theorised as dynamic media where stakeholder threat could be measured instead of acting as simple communication platforms, it contributed to literature on stakeholder theory. Thirdly, this structure offered the reputation management sector a complete and comprehensive analysis method that assisted reputation managers in constructing reputation management strategies that are increasingly reactive and stakeholder-specific. Lastly, from the data investigated it was interpreted that the embeddedness of CSR in FNB’s values, brand history and character was directly related to the formation of a robust corporate ethical philosophy.
The viewer’s thoroughly enjoyed the presentation and grasped a holistic and integrated knowledge base of CSR through social networks. The Communication Management Division wishes Ms Steenkamp the best in her future endeavours.