Rethinking Communication in Social Business
Craig E. Mattson
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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft
Social entrepreneurship increasingly assumes a position of strength in the dynamic milieu of late-modern democratic societies. A plethora of companies have now arisen—everything from mighty social enterprises like Warby Parker and TOMS to tiny outfits like Clean Slate and Bright Endeavors—whose business-focused approach to social problems is not merely additive but integral to their missions. These companies respond not only to a felt proliferation of humanitarian and environmental predicaments, but also to enormous shifts in in public feelings and technological sensibilities. These predicaments and make social entrepreneurships urgently needed and remarkably complicated. But if social entrepreneurs deal with that complexity with a business-as-usual approach to making the world better—imitating, for example, corporate social responsibility initiatives by transnational companies—they will lose their vital distinctiveness and efficacy. Drawing on a transdisciplinary perspective, close rhetorical analysis, and qualitative interviews with social entrepreneurs, this book argues that one good way to keep social business disruptive is to rethink how organizations model their communication. Instead of assuming a conventional theory of communication, neatly organized around the relations of senders and receivers, social entrepreneurship should enact a performative model of communication in which messaging and action are affectively woven. This book offers suggestions for making this performative model sustainably disruptive in relation to questions that pester social entrepreneurs: how to tell the company story, how to raise awareness, how to address complex audiences, and how to solve problems.