Enacting community engagement in consumer organisations : A study of Australian banks

Johnston, Kim A. (2013) Enacting community engagement in consumer organisations : A study of Australian banks. In (Ed.) Public Relations Institute of Australia Research Colloquium, 17 November 2013, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA. (Unpublished)

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The trend to a more socially-inclusive and responsive form of organisational decision-making reflects an increasing belief that engaging a community for specific programs can lead to better organisational and social outcomes (Adams & Hess, 2001; Bruning, McGrew, & Cooper, 2006; Everett, 2001). While community engagement efforts have strongly featured in government public relations and communication practice (Sheenan & Xavier, 2009), the embedding of community engagement in marketing and consumer driven organisations has emerged as a strategy in larger consumer oriented organisations. A recent trend noted in marketing communication practice is to incorporate the broader concept of social or community engagement as a key communication tactic and this represents a key challenge for public relations. This practice is muddied with concepts of corporate social responsibility, community relations and stakeholder management as organisations recognise the benefits of a more socially responsible and responsive form of organisational decision making. However, there is little evidence in the literature to provide clarity to this as a framework in the larger context of public relations. This study responds to this problem through first, reviewing the theoretical foundations of community engagement practice and proposes a new framework for community engagement in consumer organisations.

This study employed a historical and comparative perspective to analyse community engagement activities against theoretical frameworks. Findings showed a dominance of advocacy approaches related to promotion of good will activities, including investment in community resources or infrastructure such as sponsorships or donating funds for a social cause. There was no evidence of participation in decision making, however all banks showed collaboration with local community members on a continuum. The public opinion environment was found to directly influence the priority, framing and reporting of their engagement activities.

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ID Code: 64899
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Community engagement, CSR
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > MARKETING (150500)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 The Author
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2013 03:34
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2016 21:55

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