Posted October 5, 2018
By Ashley Busnuk
Dr. Denise Bortree was the guest presenter to the September Research Roundtable at
the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
An associate professor of communications at Penn State University and director of
the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication, she discussed corporate
social responsibility and corporate advocacy as they relate to sustainability and
Bortree's presentation explored research funded by the Center and looked at the questions
it raised on corporate social advocacy, including factors that drive companies to
take stands on societal issues. She discussed the difference between social responsibility
Corporate social responsibility is simply the idea that corporations have a responsibility
to the groups and individuals that they affect — stakeholders and society at large.
They often take responsibility for their actions and minimize any negative effects
they, or their products, have on those who use it.
Corporate advocacy is when businesses help craft compelling public messages that reform
policies, influence legislation, educate the public and help get people to take action
on an important cause.
Some examples Bortree discussed were the messages large companies like Papa John’s
made on the Affordable Care Act, the ads Target created for same-sex marriage, and
most recently, Nike’s ad featuring Colin Kaepernick.
Research Bortree presented mentioned how millennials have pushed for companies to
speak out, why CEO’s of these companies actually do speak out, activism and advocacy’s
wide range of definitions and applications, and how we can move forward in this area
Dr. Robert McKeever, an associate professor in the SJMC said the Research Roundtable,
“... was a great discussion of advocacy and the future direction we might want to
go toward for research advocacy and what it means.”
The monthly Research Roundtable provide students and faculty an opportunity to be
exposed to emerging research in the communications field from the school’s own colleagues
and other outside researchers like Bortree.
The Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication is a research center
focused on the study and advancement of ethics and responsibility in corporate communication
and other forms of public communication.
Ashley Busnuk is a first-year graduate M.M.C. student in the School of Journalism
and Mass Communications. She is a graduate assistant in the communications office
and a journalism teaching assistant. Busnuk is working towards a career in marketing
and creative advertising in the tourism industry.