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B Corp and Benefit Corp - An Overview

Question:

How do B Corporation Australia and New Zealand Communicate their Social and Environmental responsibility through Social Media.”

This study will analyze the communication strategies used by the B corporations in Australia and New Zealand through the social media. Corporate social responsibility has been included in most of the organizations for a long time (Plerhoples, 2013). However, B corporations are organization, which are approving the corporate social responsibility and are certified by the  as an organization who has gone green and is making considerable amount of contribution to the corresponding environment and the society. The benefit corporations have been considered as a different form of organisation by various researcher and falls under category of gray sector organisation. These organizations are trying to enhance the corporate social responsibility aspect in the modern organization (Stecker, 2016).  This organisation are incorporating triple bottom line in to their business model and providing equal importance to corporate social responsibility as the first bottom line (Corkery, Mikalsen, & Allan, 2017). The primary interests of the organisation are to ensure profitability and fulfilling the objectives of the stakeholders (Yosifon, 2016). The inclusion of the corporate social responsibility in to the bottom line means that the organisation will use tools for measuring their impact on the society and the corresponding environment. The benefit Corporation and B corps have lot of similarities and they are similar to each other. However, there are some basic differences between Benefit corporations and certified B Corporations. The benefit corporation’s performances are self-reported whereas in case of B Corps they will have to achieve a verified score on impact assessment (Kwok & Yu, 2013).  The benefit corporations in the states of U.S. but the B Corps are available for all business organizations irrespective of the corporate structure of the organization. Moreover, the role of B Lab in the Benefit corps is minimal as they only develop models for the legislation and offers tool, which can be used for reporting purposes. However, the B Lab oversees all the B Corps by providing them with support with various services as portfolio management

The research aims to explore and analyze the methods used by the benefit corporations to communicate with the public through Facebook social media. The use of Facebook social media is necessary for the organizations as it facilitates in reaching more number of consumers. Moreover, promoting the corporate social responsibility of the organisation will improve the brand image and help in maximization of the revenue.

Importance of Social Media for Sustainability of Organizations

How do B Corporation Australia and New Zealand communicate their social and environmental responsibility trough social media? And what is the significance of social media in sustainability of the B Corporation? 

Social media is important for the sustainability of the organizations in the market and the companies will have to make use of it they want to gain competitive advantage in the market (Kumar & Greene, 2017).  The research questions are developed in accordance to the objective of the study and will facilitate in evaluation all the aspect of the research topic. The research questions will provide the different dimension to the study and will provide a wider view of the practices of the B Corporations in Australia and New Zealand. The first research question will identify the various platforms that are being used and the second question will identify the impact of the social media on these Gray Sector organizations.   

The Benefits Corporation belongs to a fourth sector, which is called the Gray Sector (André, 2012). These organizations have the characteristics of both the private and the public sector companies and have complex structures. These organizations have crossed the traditions borders to incorporate multiple bottom lines in to the organization (Steingard & Clark, 2016).  This has blurred the lines between the private and the public sectors, as these possess characteristics of both types of organization. These organizations follow all the rules and regulations of the government and board of directors of the organizations are hired by the government (André, 2015). These organizations have close relations with the government but consist of elements of the private organizations.

Social media has emerged as one of the platforms for promoting the organizational practices and interacting with the consumers in the market. The use of the social media is necessary for the gaining competitive advantage in the market (Hiller, 2013).  The organizations are promoting their products and the unique selling propositions to attract the consumers. Therefore, highlighting of the corporate social responsibility activities will provide the organization with a better image in the market. Thus, it is important for the organizations to communicate their corporate social responsibility activities (Stubbs, 2017). The negative aspects of an organization spreads faster than the positive ones so it is essential for the organization to give a push to their initiatives so that they can make use of this factors for gaining competitive advantage in the market (Loewenstein, 2016)

The Research Questions

The social media is a powerful medium and the organizations try to be bold about their activities and the good they are trying to bring in to the society and corresponding environment (Whelan, Moon & Grant, 2013). The managers of the organizations are being open about the policies and the activities in the organization. However, the traditional form of media is quite expensive so the companies use the online media platform for communicating their social and environmental responsibilities to the society (Whelan, Moon & Grant, 2013). The advent of web 2.0 has changed the overall scenario and people are easily connected to the different parts of the world. This provides the organizations with the opportunity of reaching wider range of consumers. The most popular social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The number of enrolments in Facebook is increasing rapidly and has the ability of reaching variety of people (Vogel, Rose, Okdie, Eckles & Franz, 2015). This helps to maintain transparency, which enables open criticism for the society to ensure that the organization can make better efforts. Moreover, it provides the opportunity of providing opinions and justification for their respective action so that the society can understand the perspective of the organization (Razmerita, Kirchner & Nabeth, 2014).  

Environmental and social sustainability issues are the major concerns for the organizations in the market. Thus, it has become necessary for the organizations to portray them as ethical organizations by providing evidence of their social and environmental concerns. These suggest that the organizations are making an effort in including triple bottom line in to the business model of the organization (Olorunnisola & Martin, 2013).  These has lead to the development t of organization which are of hybrid in nature which are suppose to focus on the benefit of the public by maintaining the goals and  objectives of the stakeholders in the market. Thus, it can be seen that there is change in the paradigm of most of the organization, which are adopting social and environmental factors into the main bottom line of the organization (Lyon & Montgomery, 2013).  Thus, the B lab, being nonprofit organization is provi8din g support to the Benefit Corporations and certifying the B corps for maintaining high standards in the field of environmental and social sustainability.

B corporations are the organizations who have orientation towards making success and their strategies are developed in order to meet that need.  The adaption of changing the organizational structure in being a B Corp is beneficial for all the companies in the market as they are able to develop a network very easily and helps in the improvement of the image of the organization (Nicholas & Sacco, 2016). This is because of the fact that there is consumers prefer organization who tries to give back something to the society and the corresponding environment.  Social media is a platform, which provides transparency, and majority of the consumers try to reach the companies regarding environmental and social issues (Cao, Gehman, & Grimes, 2017). The social media is used to reach moer number of consumers from different parts of the world as the same time. Thus, social media is used for providing better reach to the companies in the market where they aim to highlight all the bottom lines of the organization (Winkler & Portocarrero, 2017). However, it is essential to bridge, communicate and connect your impact with the consumers in the market and social media is an effective medium that can be used for fulfilling this purpose.  Initially the organizations will have to us eo the social media to bridge the gap between the consumers and the organization. The organization will have to communicate the impact of the organization on the society and the environment so that the awareness of the consumers can be elevated (Tkachenko, Wingate & Cahill, 2016).  Moreover, this will enable the organization to connect to more and more consumers in the market, which will be able to generate more impact on the corresponding society. The organizations are positioned in such a way so that there are able to excel in interaction with the society in an effective manner (Verbos & Black, 2017).

Impact and Significance of Social Media on B Corps


Moreover, it helps in effective cross-cultural promotion and the products used by the consumers are given feedbacks, which helped them to provide free publicity and advertisements for the organizations. The certification of being a B Corp gives credibility to the organization, which helps them to grab the attention of more number of consumers in the market (Bauer & Umlas, 2017).  Similarly, social media provides visibility to the organizations, which facilitates in improving the brand image of the organization. Social media is used for deepening of the impact of the social and environmental activities of the organization (Brewster & Cerdin, 2018). The dragon fly effect  is a phenomenon which helps to improve the impact of the social media by spreading the message in the effective way. The social media is used for developing the brand and spreading its name to all parts of the world. Thus, the organization can attract talented recruits who can improve the quality of the workforce (Elving et al., 2015). Thus, social media provides the organizations with competitive advantage in the market and the overall impact on the community is huge.

Research methodology is one of the most important parts of the study, as it will help to identify the factors that will be used for the development of the research method (Green & Thorogood, 2014). The various approaches and research methods will be discussed thoroughly to understand the plan of action. The methodology will consist of fixed set of paradigms, which will be used to conduct the study. The methodology of the research will be validated to analyze the precision and the accuracy of the study (Green & Thorogood, 2014; Taylor, Bogdan & DeVault, 2015). This is an exploratory study and is conducted to ensure a better understanding of the topic. The study will highlight the issues which have not been analyzed till now.

The research methodology will be use on this research is Collect the data from 20  the companies who are already member od B Corps trough  Facebook or Twitter stats social media positing by looking each company’s  posting that whether on  the 5 Categories of B corps which are Environment, Workers, Customers, Community and Governance.

The period of the data will be based on from 1/1/2017 to 31/10/2017. 

Each posting will be classifying into 5 element categories. Each posting will be looking on whether is on. The original post will be copy and paste on the paper to be shown where information came from and be used as reference. Moreover, the though each company will be counting how many each posting were talking on 5 categories then at end the total of posting counts for each company will be given.

Conclusion


The secondary analysis, which consist of creation of different themes, which will be used to analyze the different case studies. The findings from each of the case study will be analyzed to link with the objectives of the study so that the existing theories can be validated (Clarke & Braun, 2013). The secondary data will also consist of the research papers, journals and peer reviewed journals, which would be analyzed to identify the significance of social media in communicating their corporate social responsibilities (Vaismoradi et al., 2016). The secondary analysis will consist of only one method that is known as mono method. Qualitative analysis of the data will be used to identify the patterns within the data that will provide a different dimension to the study (Han, 2015). However, there are certain limitations to this study, as primary analysis of data is not conducted. The study consists of secondary analysis of data so no sampling methods will be used for the collection of the data. The reliability and validity of the study is important factor as helps to prove that the study is authentic and relevant. The same instruments can be used in multiple studies of similar types is known as the reliability of the data. When the degree of reliability is high in the data then it will provide positive results for the study (Bryman & Bell, 2015).  When all the research methods in the study are followed according to the planned way then it is called the validity. In this study, the validity and reliability of the study will be maintained so that the accurate findings can be generated. However, in the case of academic and the business journals ethical ground will have to be maintained. The data that will be kept confidential and will not be used in other study of similar types

Research plan

Main activities/ stages

Week1

Week2

Week3

Week4

Week 5

Week 6

Topic Selection

ü   

Data collection from secondary sources

ü   

ü   

Framing layout of the research

ü   

Literature review

ü   

ü   

ü   

Formation of the research Plan

ü   

ü   

Selection of the Appropriate Research Techniques

ü   

ü   

Primary data collection

ü   

ü   

Analysis & Interpretation of Data Collection

ü   

ü   

Conclusion of the Study

ü   

Formation of Rough Draft

ü   

Submission of Final Work

ü   

Conclusion

Therefore, throughout this study, a research will make sure that the relevant methods will be followed for the analysis of the study. The structure that has been established will have to be maintained to identify the significance of social on corporations.

References:

André, R. (2012). Assessing the accountability of the benefit corporation: Will this new gray sector organization enhance corporate social responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics, 110(1). Pp.133-150. https://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.flinders.edu.au/10.1007/s10551-012-1254-1

André, R. (2015). Benefit corporations at a crossroads: As lawyers weigh in, companies weigh their options. Business Horizons, 58(3). Pp.243-252. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bushor.2014.12.002

Bauer, J., & Umlas, E. (2017). Making Corporations Responsible: The Parallel Tracks of the B Corp Movement and the Business and Human Rights Movement. Business and Society Review, 122(3), 285-325.

Brewster, C., & Cerdin, J. L. (2018). The Management of People in Mission-Driven Organizations. In HRM in Mission Driven Organizations (pp. 1-13). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Bryman, A., & Bell, E. (2015). Business research methods. Oxford University Press, USA.

Cao, K., Gehman, J., & Grimes, M. G. (2017). Standing Out and Fitting In: Charting the Emergence of Certified B Corporations by Industry and Region.

Clarke, V., & Braun, V. (2013). Teaching thematic analysis: Overcoming challenges and developing strategies for effective learning. The psychologist, 26(2). Pp.120-123. https://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/21155/

Corkery, J., Mikalsen, M., & Allan, K. (2017). Corporate social responsibility: The good corporation. Centre for Commercial Law

Doi: https://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.flinders.edu.au/10.1007/s10551-013-1960-3

Elving, W. J., Golob, U., Podnar, K., Ellerup-Nielsen, A., & Thomson, C. (2015). The bad, the ugly and the good: new challenges for CSR communication. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 20(2), 118-127.

Green, J., & Throrogood, N. (2014). Qualitative methods for health research (3ed). SAGE. Retrieved from: https://books.google.com.au/books?id=CnNEAgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Qualitative+methods+for+health+research&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Qualitative%20methods%20for%20health%20research&f=false

Han, L. (2015). Introducing research methodology: A beginner's guide to doing a research project. Sage. Doi: 10.1111/j.1540-4781.2012.01382.x

Hiller, J. S. (2013). The Benefit Corporation and corporate social responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics, 118(2). Pp. 287-301.  https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.flinders.edu.au/docview/1460406876?accountid=10910

https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/qualitative-research/book245489%20

Kumar, V., Choi, J. B., & Greene, M. (2017). Synergistic effects of social media and traditional marketing on brand sales: capturing the time-varying effects. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 45(2). Pp. 268-288. https://doi-org.ezproxy.flinders.edu.au/10.1007/s11747-016-0484-7

Kwok, L., & Yu, B. (2013). Spreading social media messages on Facebook: An analysis of restaurant business-to-consumer communications. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, 54(1), 84-94.

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Lyon, T. P., & Montgomery, A. W. (2013). Tweetjacked: The impact of social media on corporate greenwash. Journal of business ethics, 118(4), 747-757.

Nicholas, A. J., & Sacco, S. (2016). People, Planet, Profit: Benefit and B Certified Corporations-Comprehension and Outlook of Business Students. Academy of Business Research Journal, 3, 18.

Olorunnisola, A. A., & Martin, B. L. (2013). Influences of media on social movements: Problematizing hyperbolic inferences about impacts. Telematics and Informatics, 30(3), 275-288.

Plerhoples, A. E. (2013). Delaware public benefit corporations 90 days out: Who's opting in. UC Davis Bus. LJ, 14(1). Pp. 1- 247. https://scholarship.law.georgetown.edu/facpub/1342

Razmerita, L., Kirchner, K., & Nabeth, T. (2014). Social media in organizations: leveraging personal and collective knowledge processes. Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce, 24(1). Pp. 74-93. https://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.flinders.edu.au/10.1080/10919392.2014.866504

Silverman, D. (Ed.). (2016). Qualitative research. Sage. Retrieved from:

Stecker, M. J. (2016). Awash in a Sea of Confusion: Benefit Corporations, Social Enterprise, and the Fear of “Greenwashing”. Journal of Economic Issues, 50(2). Pp. 373-381. https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00213624.2016.1176481

Steingard, D., & Clark, W. (2016). The Benefit Corporation as an Exemplar of Integrative Corporate Purpose (ICP): Delivering Maximal Social and Environmental Impact with a New Corporate Form. Business and Professional Ethics Journal, 35(1). Pp. 73-101. Doi: 10.5840/bpej201610645

Stubbs, W. (2017). Characterising B Corps as a sustainable business model: An exploratory study of B Corps in Australia. Journal of Cleaner Production, 144, 299-312.

Taylor, S. J., Bogdan, R., & DeVault, M. (2015). Introduction to qualitative research methods: A guidebook and resource. John Wiley & Sons. Retrieved from: https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=pONoCgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR11&dq=Introduction+to+qualitative+research+methods:+A+guidebook+and+resource.+John+Wiley+%26+SonsIntroduction+to+qualitative+research+methods:+A+guidebook+and+resource.+John+Wiley+%26+Sons&ots=QhsmaB5v3R&sig=Qz8j0yJWt2qYf3F9bKwSTIV1Gvc#v=onepage&q&f=false

Tkachenko, V., Wingate, N., & Cahill, E. (2016). Benefit Corporations and Certified B Corporations: Which is More Beneficial for a Socially Responsible Entrepreneur?.

Vaismoradi, M., Jones, J., Turunen, H., & Snelgrove, S. (2016). Theme development in qualitative content analysis and thematic analysis. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 6(5). Pp. 100-110. Doi:  10.5430/jnep.v6n5p100

Verbos, A. K., & Black, S. L. (2017). Benefit Corporations as a Distraction: An Overview and Critique. Business and Professional Ethics Journal, 36(2), 229-267.

Vogel, E. A., Rose, J. P., Okdie, B. M., Eckles, K., & Franz, B. (2015). Who compares and despairs? The effect of social comparison orientation on social media use and its outcomes. Personality and Individual Differences, 86(1). Pp. 249-256. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2015.06.026

Whelan, G., Moon, J., & Grant, B. (2013). Corporations and citizenship arenas in the age of social media. Journal of Business Ethics, 118(4). Pp. 777-790.

Winkler, A. L., & Portocarrero, F. (2017). People Management in Social Enterprises: B Corporations. In HRM in Mission Driven Organizations (pp. 221-235). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Yosifon, D. G. (2016). Opting Out of Shareholder Primacy: Is the Public Benefit Corporation Trivial? 41(2). Pp. 461-508. Retrieved from: https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.flinders.edu.au/docview/1876662215?accountid=10910

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