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Common Values? Fifty-Two Cases of Value Semantics Copying on Corporate Websites

Steffen Roth

Rennes School of Business

December 13, 2013

Human Systems Management, Vol. 32 No. 4, pp. 249-265

The present article claims that value communication literally goes without saying. Research in organizational value communication as in corporate image documents is therefore assumed to have nothing to do with the analysis of explicit value semantics. This system-theoretical claim is supported by an analysis of corporate value semantics, which is particularly focused on the copying of value semantics from one corporate website to another. As a result, we present a list of 52 companies that have copied value statements from corporate websites of RobecoSAM sector leaders listed in the DJSI. In referring to these examples, we demonstrate that the copying of value semantics makes the best case for exercising caution when it comes to the idea that value semantics promote organizational goals. Finally, we suggest that the value copying affects corporate value communication in a same vein as spam impairs the use of email and argue for an analytical turn from research in communication on values to research in value communication, which opens up new spaces for a management through allusion and, in doing so, could complement the more popular approaches to a management by value metaphors.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 20

Keywords: organizational values, value semantics, value communication, information ethics, corporate websites, plagiarism, social systems

JEL Classification: M14

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Date posted: December 18, 2013 ; Last revised: August 13, 2015

Suggested Citation

Roth, Steffen, Common Values? Fifty-Two Cases of Value Semantics Copying on Corporate Websites (December 13, 2013). Human Systems Management, Vol. 32 No. 4, pp. 249-265. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2368340

Contact Information

Steffen Roth (Contact Author)
Rennes School of Business ( email )
Rue Robert d'arbrissel, 2
Rennes, 35000
HOME PAGE: http://steffen-roth.ch
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