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CSR in the digital age: a netnographic study

Research project
Inactive research
Project period
2014 - 2016
Project owner
Centre for Retailing, School of Business, Economics and Law

Centre for Retailings postdoc-stipendium

Short description

Digitalization and the development of the Internet society have changed the way CSR is communicated. Corporate websites, blogs, social media, and mobile applications (apps) are now commonly used to market CSR. In spite these dramatic changes to the media landscape, studies of how CSR is communicated and reproduced online are rare.

The aim of this project is to examine how CSR accounts are produced and reproduced online in/through the communicative practices of corporations and consumers. A two-part netnographic study is suggested to answer these questions. The first part examines how retailers market CSR through an array of digital devices, employing different communicative strategies and producing various CSR messages. The second part focuses instead on the online communicative practices of consumers and examines how consumers use digital devices to reproduce – in different ways – the CSR accounts created by retailers.

By conducting this study the ambition is to contribute to the research fields of Retail marketing, CSR and Digital marketing. Moreover, the study of expected to be relevant for retailers interested in designing or improving their online CSR communication by informing them on issues such as which digital channels to select when communicating CSR, what types of accounts to produce in order to construct value for consumers and how to manage and address CSR criticism online.

The project is run by Christian Fuentes. The project is funded by the Centre for Retailing, University of Gothenburg and is expected to run between 2014-2016.


• Fuentes C & Fuentes, M (2017) “Making a Market for Alternatives: Marketing devices and the qualification of a vegan milk substitute” Journal of Marketing Management, (33), 7-8, 529-555
• Fuentes, C. (2016) Play a Game, Save the Planet: Gamification as a way to promote green consumption. In Dymek, M & Zackariasson, P (Eds.) The Business of Gamification: A Critical Analysis. Routledge: New York and London (p 144-160)
• Sörum, N & Fuentes, C (2017) Write Something!: The shaping of ethical consumption on Facebook. In Cochoy, F., Hagberg, J., Petersson McIntyre, M., & Sörum, N (Eds.) Digitalizing Consumption: How Devices Shape Consumer Culture. Routledge: New York and London.