The Atrium effect of website openness on the communication of corporate social responsibility

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28 Citations (Scopus)


This paper applies the image of a Roman atrium to disclosure of CSR activities on company websites, through an examination of the website content of 19 large companies operating in Portugal. The analysis reveals a CSR discourse targeting stakeholders. What is stated is carefully chosen in order to mitigate potential reactions from offended stakeholders, these coming mostly from those areas where their negative impact could be more visible. We conclude that comparison with Roman atria can be made to the extent that (a) websites allow companies to suggest positive images about themselves, (b) their openness forces companies to adopt bi-focal messages where the target does not always coincide with the message's subject and (c) their visibility and accessibility induce companies to take a position on external events and to seek greater alignment between disclosure and action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-51
Number of pages9
JournalCorporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008


  • Atrium
  • Communication
  • CSR
  • Ethics
  • Expressiveness
  • Identity
  • Internet
  • Stakeholder


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