Framing Non-Formal Education through CSR 2.0

Framing Non-Formal Education through CSR 2.0

Bogdan Pătruţ (Vasile Alecsandri University of Bacău, Romania), Monica Pătruţ (Vasile Alecsandri University of Bacău, Romania) and Camelia Cmeciu (Danubius University of Galati, Romania)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2851-9.ch006


Schools and universities are not the only providers of knowledge any longer. Other types of organizations have become aware that a solid public-serving reason should lie beyond the firm-serving motive. “Doing well by doing good” has been the syntagm that prevails nowadays in the organizational discourse focused on corporate social responsibility (CSR) campaigns. This chapter has a twofold aim: to highlight two paradigmatic shifts (CSR 1.0 --> CSR 2.0 & formal education --> non-formal education), and to provide an analysis of the Web 2.0 practices and items and of the verbal and visual framing devices used in a CSR 2.0 campaign on non-formal financial education. Social media have provided the applications to put into practice the concept of edutainment specific to non-formal education since educators get a multifold identity, being, at the same time, generators and receivers of knowledge.
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Organizations exist only in so far as their members create them through discourse. This is not to claim that organizations are ‘nothing but’ discourse, but rather that discourse is the principle means by which organization members create a coherent social reality that frames their sense of who they are. (Mumby & Clair, 1997, p. 181)

The mutual interdependence between organizations and their stakeholders provides a feeling of belongingness and it is essential in the process of building a twofold identity (Cornelissen, 2005, p. 69): on the one hand, the organization identity through deep-structure elements (mission statements, vision, history) and on the other hand, the corporate identity through surface-structure elements (products, services, communication campaigns, employee behavior). This identity shaping of an organization and implicitly of its stakeholders proves that organizations have turned into ”mechanisms that enable a direct valorization (...) of people’s ability to create trust, affect and shared meanings” (Arvidsson, 2005, p. 236). The process of sharing meanings lies on an invisible project, namely knowledge (Lester, 2005, p. 5). Nowadays knowledge and consequently education is not only associated with schools or/ and universities, it turns into “the invisible project” of organizations belonging to local communities. The permanent dialogue, achieved through educational campaigns, between organizations in a certain community proves that other types of organizations, such as banks, museums, theatres, “(…) have as much effectiveness in modernizing men as do schools” (Inkeles, 1983).

Since “learning would come about through the same processes of socialization”, A. Inkeles (1983) highlights that educational organizations bear a twofold activity: on the one hand, the formal, explicit, self-conscious pedagogic activity which is inherent in schools and universities as organizations and on the other hand, the informal, implicit, and often unconscious activity which is performed in collaboration with other organizations or by other organizations. Thus organizations of any kind should be focused on what Adam Arvidsson (2005, p. 237) labels as “an ethical surplus”, namely a social relationship, a shared meaning and an emotional involvement of the stakeholders. The performance of organizational actions connected to social, cultural, educational and environmental aspects bears an ethical and a responsible direction.

These implications of an ethical surplus have implied the (re)configuration of organization policies on openness, clarity and transparency (Garsten, de Montoya, 2008). These three attributes have two main outcomes:

  • The existence of an endless negotiated flow between what should be made visible and what should be hidden in organizational texts, the multiple communication channels playing an important part in this process of (non)making visible. CSR 2.0 is the conceptual embodiment of the postmodern organization which has been integrating Web 2.0 instruments in its discursive visibility strategies.

  • A social shift towards organizations’ legitimacy, accountability, credibility (Golob & Bartlett, 2007; Huang & Su, 2009) and responsibility (Oprea, 2005; Capriotti & Moreno, 2007; An & Gower, 2009) by performing actions connected to social, cultural, educational and environmental aspects.

Within the context of new technologies which have shaped new ways of learning, sharing and collaborative knowledge construction, organizations seem to experience a shift from “collection to connection” (Luke, 2003, p. 400): the emphasis does not lie any longer on the abundant production of organizational texts which, most of the times, do not reach the stakeholders and are not provided with any feed-back, but it lies on a co-creating of meaning since organizations and stakeholders are both discursive producers having digital literacy. The importance of social media within the organizational communication was also highlighted in the 2011 European Communication Monitor (Zerfass et al., 2011), the five most important issues for communication management (p. 78) until 2014 being: coping with the digital evolution and the social web (54.9%), linking business strategy and communication (44%), dealing with sustainable development and social responsibility (37.2%), dealing with the demand for more transparency and active audiences (35.1%), and building and maintaining trust (30.1%).

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