Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2211-4742
  • E-ISSN: 2211-4750
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


In the framework of the extended pragma-dialectical theory of argumentation, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting is approached in this study as a particular communicative activity type, which can be reconstructed as part of a critical discussion. CSR reports excerpts are viewed in the analysis as parts of a virtual critical discussion in which a company acts as a protagonist maneuvering strategically to defend the standpoint according to which the business is operated ethically, and to convince the audience about what is mentioned in the standpoint. The reconstructed standpoint of a CSR report, , may be regarded as stereotypical, since it corresponds to the institutional point of this regulated type of communicative activity. In the first part of the study, a brief overview is given of the CSR reporting activity, then the concept of strategic maneuvering is presented, under its three aspects (topical potential, audience demand, and presentational techniques), as well as the notion of communicative activity type, with a highlight on the role of the (macro-)context and of institutional preconditions in analytical studies on argumentation. The analysis in the latter part of the study concerns presentational techniques used by the protagonist in the confrontation and in the argumentation stages in CSR reporting, in order to reconcile rhetorical and dialectical aims by maneuvering strategically. The coordinatively and the subordinatively compound structure of argumentation, the symptomatic argument scheme, as well as reformulations of the standpoint, use of emotionally endowed words, concentration of the arguments in the form of nominal sentences acting as headings are among the most important presentational devices constitutive of argumentative moves aimed at convincing the audience that the company acts ethically, but also at promoting a positive image of its business responsibility, which appears to be the ground for winning the discussion.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Brennan, Niamh M. , Doris M. Merkl-Davies , & Annika Beelitz
    (2001) Green Paper. Promoting a European Framework for Corporate Social Responsibility. Presented by theCommission of the European Communities, July 18th, 2001. Brussels. [PEFCSR]
    [Google Scholar]
  2. (2013) “Dialogism in Corporate Social Responsibility Communications: Conceptualising Verbal Interaction between Organisations and their Audiences.” Journal of Business Ethics115 (4), 665–679. doi: 10.1007/s10551‑013‑1825‑9
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-013-1825-9 [Google Scholar]
  3. Brennan, Niamh M. , & Doris M. Merkl-Davies
    (2014) “Rhetoric and Argument in Social and Environmental Reporting: the Dirty Laundry Case”. Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal27 (4), 602–633. doi: 10.1108/AAAJ‑04‑2013‑1333
    https://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-04-2013-1333 [Google Scholar]
  4. Dahlsrud, Alexander
    (2008) (first version online 2006) “How Corporate Social Responsibility is Defined: an Analysis of 37 Definitions.” Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management15, 1–13. doi: 10.1002/csr.132
    https://doi.org/10.1002/csr.132 [Google Scholar]
  5. Eisenberg, Eric M.
    (2006) Strategic Ambiguities: Essays on Communication, Organization, and Identity. Thousand Oaks / London / New Delhi: Sage.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Elsbach, Kimberly D.
    (1994) “Managing Organizational Legitimacy in the California Cattle Industry: The Construction and Effectiveness of Verbal Accounts.” Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol.39 (1) (Mar.), 57–88. doi: 10.2307/2393494
    https://doi.org/10.2307/2393494 [Google Scholar]
  7. Garssen, Bart
    (2001) “Argument schemes.” InCrucial Concepts in Argumentation Theory, ed. by Frans H. van Eemeren , 81–99. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Gâţă, Anca
    (2015) “The strategic function of argumentative moves in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reports.” InScrutinizing Argumentation in Practice [Argumentation in Context 9], ed. by Frans H. van Eemeren , & Bart Garssen , 297–312. Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. doi: 10.1075/aic.9.17gat
    https://doi.org/10.1075/aic.9.17gat [Google Scholar]
  9. Itänen, Miia-Emilia
    (2011) CSR Discourse in Corporate Reports – Exploring the Socially Constructed Nature of Corporate Social Responsibility. Master‘s Thesis, International Business, School of Economics, Aalto University.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Michelon, Giovanna , Silvia Pilonato , & Federica Ricceri
    (2015) “CSR reporting practices and the quality of disclosure: An empirical analysis.” Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Vol.33 (December), 59–78. doi: 10.1016/j.cpa.2014.10.003
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpa.2014.10.003 [Google Scholar]
  11. Palmieri, Rudi
    (2014) Corporate argumentation in takeover bids. Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/aic.8
    https://doi.org/10.1075/aic.8 [Google Scholar]
  12. Perelman, Chaïm , & Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca
    1958 (1969)The New Rhetoric. A treatise on argumentation, translation. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Tench, Ralph , William Sun , & Brian Jones
    (eds) (2014) Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility: Perspectives and Practice, “Critical Studies on Corporate Responsibility, Governance and Sustainability” Series, Vol.6. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing. doi: 10.1108/S2043‑9059(2014)0000006037
    https://doi.org/10.1108/S2043-9059(2014)0000006037 [Google Scholar]
  14. van Eemeren, Frans H.
    (2010) Strategic Maneuvering in Argumentative Discourse. Extending the Pragma-dialectical Theory of Argumentation. Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/aic.2
    https://doi.org/10.1075/aic.2 [Google Scholar]
  15. (2013a) “Fallacies as derailments of argumentative discourse: Acceptance based on understanding and critical assessment.” Journal of Pragmatics59, 141–152. doi: 10.1016/j.pragma.2013.06.006
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2013.06.006 [Google Scholar]
  16. (2013b) “In What Sense Do Modern Argumentation Theories Relate to Aristotle? The Case of Pragma-Dialectics.” Argumentation27, 49–70. doi: 10.1007/s10503‑012‑9277‑4
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10503-012-9277-4 [Google Scholar]
  17. van Eemeren, Frans H. , & Rob Grootendorst
    (1984) Speech Acts in Argumentative Discussions. A theoretical model for the analysis of discussions directed towards solving conflicts of opinion. Berlin: de Gruyter. doi: 10.1515/9783110846089
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110846089 [Google Scholar]
  18. (1992) Argumentation, Communication and Fallacies. A Pragma-dialectical Perspective. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. (2004) A Systematic Theory of Argumentation: The pragma-dialectical approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. van Eemeren, Frans H. , Rob Grootendorst , Sally Jackson & Scott Jacobs
    (1993) Reconstructing Argumentative Discourse. Tuscaloosa/London: The University of Alabama Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. van Eemeren, Frans H. , Peter Houtlosser & A. Francisca Snoeck Henkemans
    (2007) Dialectical profiles and indicators of argument moves. In H. V. Hansen et. al. (Eds.), Dissensus and the Search for Common Ground, CD-ROM (pp.1–17). Windsor, ON: OSSA.
  22. van Eemeren, Frans H. , & Peter Houtlosser
    (2002) “Strategic Maneuvering in Argumentative Discourse: Maintaining a delicate balance.” InDialectic and Rhetoric: The warp and woof of argumentation analysis, ed. by Frans H. van Eemeren , & Peter Houtlosser , 131–159. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic. doi: 10.1007/978‑94‑015‑9948‑1_10
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-015-9948-1_10 [Google Scholar]
  23. (2009) “Strategic Maneuvering. Examining Argumentation in Context.” InExamining Argumentation in Context, ed. by Frans H. van Eemeren , 1–22. doi: 10.1075/aic.1.02eem
    https://doi.org/10.1075/aic.1.02eem [Google Scholar]
  24. van Rees, M. Agnes , & Eddo Rigotti
    (2011) “The analysis of the strategic function of presentational techniques.” InKeeping in touch with Pragma-Dialectics. In honor of Frans H. van Eemeren , ed. by Eveline T. Feteris , Bart Garssen , & A. Francisca Snoeck Henkemans , 207–220. Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. doi: 10.1075/z.163.14ree
    https://doi.org/10.1075/z.163.14ree [Google Scholar]
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error