INSEAD Working Paper 2011/59/TOM/ISIC revised version of 2009/62/TOM/ISIC
This article considers how “stakeholder media” – media produced and controlled by stakeholders with the purpose of affecting public opinion or attitudes of other actors towards issues or organisations – can exert a powerful influence on firms by setting the public agenda and framing a company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in ways desirable for those stakeholders. We observe that research on agenda-setting, which is largely based on studies of traditional news media, generally ignores the increasingly powerful reach and impact of media controlled by stakeholders. Hence, based on a case study of BP’s CSR campaign “Beyond Petroleum”, we propose a new model that addresses agenda-setting by stakeholder media. The model captures distinct agenda-setting as well as framing techniques used by stakeholder media to put pressure on BP’s “Beyond Petroleum” rebranding campaign. We thus aim to advance extant agenda-setting concepts by demonstrating how stakeholder media ultimately exert different, and in some ways stronger, influences on firms than traditional news media.