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School of Business | Department of Communication | International Business Communication | 2013
Thesis number: 13371
Examining online CSR communication within the auditing and consulting industry: the big 4 companies
Author: Larnemaa, Anne
Title: Examining online CSR communication within the auditing and consulting industry: the big 4 companies
Year: 2013  Language: eng
Department: Department of Communication
Academic subject: International Business Communication
Index terms: yritysviestintä; business communication; kansainvälinen; international; yhteiskuntavastuu; corporate responsibility; tilintarkastus; auditing; asianajajat; lawyers; konsultointi; consulting; palvelut; service
Pages: 89
Key terms: CSR; CSR communication; international business communication; online CSR communication; Big 4 companies; auditing and consulting; professional services; stakeholders
Objectives of the Study

First, the purpose of this study was to examine the online CSR communication of the Finnish Big 4 companies, that is KPMG, PwC, Deloitte and Ernst & Young (EY). The aim was to identify what these companies understand as "CSR" and how they communicate about responsibility issues online. Second, this study examined the online CSR communication of Ernst & Young on a global level and found out what kind of a global CSR communication strategy Ernst & Young has developed. In the end, the aim was then to compare the results among the four companies and to identify whether the CSR communication strategies include similarities or differences.

Methodology and Theoretical Framework

The data for the thesis was gathered through conducting a case analysis on the CSR communication of the Big 4 operating in Finland as well as Ernst & Young Global. The case analysis consisted of a qualitative and a quantitative content analysis of the companies' online CSR information. The analysis was conducted according to the theoretical framework that included the following analytical sections: perspective, context, stakeholders, style and ambition.

Findings and Conclusions

The main findings indicated that the Finnish Big 4 companies are on rather different stages regarding online CSR communication. This outcome supported previous research, which has suggested that the online CSR communication of companies operating within the same industry do not necessarily demonstrate similar communication patterns. Overreaching factors among all four Finnish Big 4 companies included that the corporations elaborate most extensively on the Society and the least on the Profit -perspective of CSR. Additionally, all companies address employees as a specific stakeholder group, whereas customers receive less attention. Most significantly, clear differences were identified in the style of communication and the CSR ambition level. In addition, the outcomes indicated that on the global level, the focus of the CSR related information is more evenly divided among the different CSR perspectives. Also, the communication clearly targets employees as well as customers as key stakeholder groups, which is what previous research has suggested as necessary. The study also showed that when comparing Ernst & Young's global and local level online CSR communication, the most evident differences were identifiable when examining the style as well as the amount of in-depth information on all aspects of CSR. All in all, this thesis has contributed to generating new academic knowledge on how CSR is currently communicated online within the auditing and consulting industry. In addition, the findings will assist Ernst & Young in the development of the company's CSR communication in the future.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.