Given the sweeping changes mandated by voters in the 2006 election, Rethinking Corporate Social Responsibility: A Fleishman-Hillard/National Consumers League study wondered if Americans have a perspective on corporate social responsibility (CSR) not only as consumers, employees, investors, etc., but also as voters. And they sure do.
A key conclusion of the study:
“… in the battle for the hearts and minds of the American public, companies will have to communicate more with them online, especially on such social networks as blogs, MySpace, and YouTube. These are places where companies cannot control their message.”
What that really means: More and more, people refuse to take a corporation’s word on its record. They search blogs and social media to get the story as others see the company.
It’s a train that’s left the station, but it remains to be seen whether corporations will ever believe what Bob Dylan so elegantly told them back in 1964: “
The times, they are a changing
..And the present now will soon be the past
The order is rapidly fading
The first one now will later be last
For the times, they are a changing”
The study also showed that:
· 82% of Americans want Congress to ensure companies take action on pressing social issues
· Americans disapprove of U.S. Companies’ CSR records
· The way companies treat employees is even more important than their environmental initiatives, respondents said.
Also not surprisingly, the study found, Republicans prefer offline sources and traditional media as a means to learn more about the social responsibility record of a particular company.
Democrats and Independents prefer online sources, more specifically, independent Web sites; and prefer to visit online social networks, such as blogs, podcasts, MySpace, and Facebook. The survey also found that Independents tend to be more tech savvy than either Democrats or Republicans.
Stephanie Strom of the New York Times previewed the 2007 survey results on the Time’s “Weekend Business” podcast which you can listen to here.
Posted by B.L. Ochman