Corporate Responsibility Communication and Score Trends: A Buyer and Supplier Perspective

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International Journal of Production Economics


The growth of corporate responsibility initiatives continues as firms are facing increasing pressure from stakeholders. This study aims to analyze what factors in corporate responsibility communication impact the value creation for a focal buying firm. Monthly corporate responsibility reports and corporate responsibility scores were collected from twelve chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing firms active in sustainable procurement initiatives. Sentiment analysis was utilized via the Harvard General Inquirer lexicon that connects syntactic, practical, and semantic information to determine the sentiment polarity for the classification document. Topic classification through multiple supervised machine learning algorithms and comparisons was conducted for buyer and supplier dyads to determine topic classification alignment. Initial propositions are developed indicating the role of focal firm communication strategy as well as sentiment alignment between buyer and suppliers' corporate responsibility communications on a focal buying firm's corporate responsibility performance. We propose communication sentiment tends to follow the corporate responsibility score trends in firms. Additionally, buying firms with suppliers who also advocate positive sentiment toward corporate responsibility tend to have greater growth in corporate responsibility scores indicating the importance of positive consumer corporate responsibility communication. This study extends knowledge of corporate responsibility communication and proposes that alignment in sentiment between the buyer and supplier enhances corporate responsibility. We also propose alignment in corporate responsibility topics among buyer and supplier dyads do not necessarily influence performance in the same way as sentiment.


Management, Marketing, and Logistics

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