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Understanding banks' CSR engagement in times of crisis - A multi-method approach to the strategies of Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank

Wegener, Christoph LU (2016) SKPM08 20161
Department of Strategic Communication
Abstract
The financial crisis of 2007 and the subsequent global recession have caused stakeholders, governments and the public to criticise the amorality of the financial sector. For banks, being in the center of critique, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is argued as a promising concept to regain legitimacy. Despite broad engagements highlighting responsibility, distrust towards banks still remains high. Taking the cases of Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank, German’s largest commercial banks both being affected by the crisis, the thesis aims to understand the banks’ CSR strategies and to explore the legitimation promise of CSR. As a multi-method approach the study (1) examines legitimation strategies and tactics within the banks’ CSR reports... (More)
The financial crisis of 2007 and the subsequent global recession have caused stakeholders, governments and the public to criticise the amorality of the financial sector. For banks, being in the center of critique, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is argued as a promising concept to regain legitimacy. Despite broad engagements highlighting responsibility, distrust towards banks still remains high. Taking the cases of Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank, German’s largest commercial banks both being affected by the crisis, the thesis aims to understand the banks’ CSR strategies and to explore the legitimation promise of CSR. As a multi-method approach the study (1) examines legitimation strategies and tactics within the banks’ CSR reports published from 2007 to 2015, (2) analyses the framing of the banks’ engagement in selected articles of the German press, and (3) reflects the findings in interviews with representatives of the CSR departments of each bank, NGOs, sustainability rating agencies, banking associations and business journalists. The revealed changes in CSR can be linked to the individual crisis context of the banks. However, banks’ representatives deny the existence of CSR strategy or CSR reports mirroring such. Identified un-strategic CSR approaches and defensive communication in a complex information environment skeptic of banks’ efforts show to limit the legitimation potential of CSR. (Less)
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author
Wegener, Christoph LU
supervisor
organization
course
SKPM08 20161
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
CSR, legitimacy, financial crisis, banks, qualitative content analysis, framing
language
English
id
8881448
date added to LUP
2016-12-06 15:52:52
date last changed
2016-12-06 15:52:52
@misc{8881448,
  abstract     = {The financial crisis of 2007 and the subsequent global recession have caused stakeholders, governments and the public to criticise the amorality of the financial sector. For banks, being in the center of critique, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is argued as a promising concept to regain legitimacy. Despite broad engagements highlighting responsibility, distrust towards banks still remains high. Taking the cases of Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank, German’s largest commercial banks both being affected by the crisis, the thesis aims to understand the banks’ CSR strategies and to explore the legitimation promise of CSR. As a multi-method approach the study (1) examines legitimation strategies and tactics within the banks’ CSR reports published from 2007 to 2015, (2) analyses the framing of the banks’ engagement in selected articles of the German press, and (3) reflects the findings in interviews with representatives of the CSR departments of each bank, NGOs, sustainability rating agencies, banking associations and business journalists. The revealed changes in CSR can be linked to the individual crisis context of the banks. However, banks’ representatives deny the existence of CSR strategy or CSR reports mirroring such. Identified un-strategic CSR approaches and defensive communication in a complex information environment skeptic of banks’ efforts show to limit the legitimation potential of CSR.},
  author       = {Wegener, Christoph},
  keyword      = {CSR,legitimacy,financial crisis,banks,qualitative content analysis,framing},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Understanding banks' CSR engagement in times of crisis - A multi-method approach to the strategies of Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank},
  year         = {2016},
}