Communicating Social Responsibility in Professional American Motorsports

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0045536/00001

Material Information

Title: Communicating Social Responsibility in Professional American Motorsports An Analysis of Organization Generated Content
Physical Description: 1 online resource (94 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Churchill, Daniel P
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2013


Subjects / Keywords: communication -- mass -- media -- motorcycle -- motorsport -- professional -- race -- racing -- responsibility -- social -- sport
Journalism and Communications -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Mass Communication thesis, M.A.M.C.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: In the United States stakeholders expect the organizations they interact with to conduct themselves responsibly. Often called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the idea extends beyond for-profit businesses to nonprofit firms as well, as a means of accounting for the economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic behaviors of an organization. CSR, present in varying degrees in professional sport, has received some scholarly attention, though the sub-category of professional motorsports has received very little. Sport’s power to affect change and improve society make it important to analyze how and what sport organizations communicate with regard to CSR, motorsports among them. This study explored the CSR communications of the largest motorsports organizations operating in the United States in an effort to identify similar themes among organizations. Data were collected over a seven-week period in which the organizations were inactive (i.e., no races), analyzing website home pages, e-newsletters and social networks to determine how often, and to what extent, the organizations communicated CSR according to Archie Carroll’s CSR pyramid. Findings indicate the motorsports organizations communicate the four CSR dimensions to varying degrees: philanthropy and ethics being dominant, the economic and legal dimensions found least often. These findings agree with previous study, although CSR in motorsports was found much less often than other sports. Two-way communication (i.e., comments) was not found to effect message frequency, regardless of tone. Ultimately, this study provides usable information for public relations practitioners in sport as well as scholars looking to advance sport CSR scholarship.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Daniel P Churchill.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.M.C.)--University of Florida, 2013.
Local: Adviser: Kelly, Kathleen S.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2013
System ID: UFE0045536:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0045536/00001

Material Information

Title: Communicating Social Responsibility in Professional American Motorsports An Analysis of Organization Generated Content
Physical Description: 1 online resource (94 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Churchill, Daniel P
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2013


Subjects / Keywords: communication -- mass -- media -- motorcycle -- motorsport -- professional -- race -- racing -- responsibility -- social -- sport
Journalism and Communications -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Mass Communication thesis, M.A.M.C.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: In the United States stakeholders expect the organizations they interact with to conduct themselves responsibly. Often called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the idea extends beyond for-profit businesses to nonprofit firms as well, as a means of accounting for the economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic behaviors of an organization. CSR, present in varying degrees in professional sport, has received some scholarly attention, though the sub-category of professional motorsports has received very little. Sport’s power to affect change and improve society make it important to analyze how and what sport organizations communicate with regard to CSR, motorsports among them. This study explored the CSR communications of the largest motorsports organizations operating in the United States in an effort to identify similar themes among organizations. Data were collected over a seven-week period in which the organizations were inactive (i.e., no races), analyzing website home pages, e-newsletters and social networks to determine how often, and to what extent, the organizations communicated CSR according to Archie Carroll’s CSR pyramid. Findings indicate the motorsports organizations communicate the four CSR dimensions to varying degrees: philanthropy and ethics being dominant, the economic and legal dimensions found least often. These findings agree with previous study, although CSR in motorsports was found much less often than other sports. Two-way communication (i.e., comments) was not found to effect message frequency, regardless of tone. Ultimately, this study provides usable information for public relations practitioners in sport as well as scholars looking to advance sport CSR scholarship.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Daniel P Churchill.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.M.C.)--University of Florida, 2013.
Local: Adviser: Kelly, Kathleen S.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2013
System ID: UFE0045536:00001

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2 2013 Dan Churchill


3 To the best friend an d companion a guy could ask for, my beautiful wife


4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my wife for her unwavering support, my committee for guiding me on this journey, and my family for always being there. My wife, Stacey Churchill, deserves the most si ncere and heartfelt thank you I can muster; so, THANK YOU! When I decided to leave the military and pursue graduate school while still deployed, full well knowing that the Fall term would begin four weeks after I returned from my year your encouragement never wavered or faltered. As I buried myself in journal articles and sustained myself with energy drinks way. You are an amazing partner, my best friend, and I am forever thankful to have you in my life. Dr. Kathleen Kelly you are a most diligent taskmaster, and I would not have it any other way. Thank you for your candor attention to detail, and expertize Dr. Mary Ann Ferguson, your expertise in the fields of CSR and research was pushed to its limit as I stumbled through this process. Thank you for guiding me towards the answer to e as a practitioner proved invaluable and I am truly grateful. Thank you for your honest and thoughtful insights. Last but not least, I must express my gratitude towards: my parents, Brett and Kathy Churchill; my in laws, Mark and Gail Weston; my immediat e and extended families ; completion of this thesis as well as my life in general; thank you.


5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ............................ 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 7 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ .............................. 10 The Case for Corporate Social Responsibility in Motorsports ........................... 11 Moral and Ethical Issues ................................ ................................ ................... 1 2 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ .................... 16 Corporate Social Responsibility ................................ ................................ ........ 16 Corporate Social Responsibility Defined ................................ ........................... 18 Theories of CSR ................................ ................................ ............................... 21 Stockholder Value Theory ................................ ................................ .......... 22 Stakeholder Theory ................................ ................................ .................... 23 Corporate Social Performance ................................ ................................ ... 24 Corporate Citizenship ................................ ................................ ................. 25 Sport ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 26 Stakeholder Theory and the Sports Fan ................................ ..................... 26 Motorsports and Motorsports Fans ................................ ............................. 28 Corporate Social Responsibility in Sport ................................ .................... 32 Hypotheses and Research Questions ................................ .............................. 38 3 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ............................. 44 Communication Channels ................................ ................................ ................. 44 Organizations Selected for Study ................................ ................................ ..... 46 Operational Definitions ................................ ................................ ...................... 47 Coding ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 48 Data Reliability ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 52 4 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 55 An Overview of Org anizational Communication ................................ ................ 55 Dominance of the Philanthropic Dimension ................................ ...................... 57 Ethical Messages of Sustainability and Environmental Protection .................... 58 Comparisons to Similar Study ................................ ................................ ........... 58 Two Way Communication Timing and Tonality ................................ ................. 60 Other Results ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 61


6 5 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 65 Discussion of Results ................................ ................................ ........................ 65 What Motorsports Organizations Communicate Regarding CSR ............... 66 Philanthropic CSR ................................ ................................ ................ 66 Economic and legal CSR ................................ ................................ ..... 69 Ethical CSR ................................ ................................ .......................... 71 How Motorsports Organizations Communicate CSR ................................ .. 74 Social network communication ................................ ............................. 74 Web page usage to communicate CSR ................................ ............... 76 Stakeholder implications ................................ ................................ ...... 78 Limitations and Future Research ................................ ................................ ...... 79 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 82 APP ENDIX CODING SHEET OF DOCUMENTED CSR MESSAGES .................... 83 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ......................... 84 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ...................... 94


7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3 1 Sources of organizational messages ................................ ............................ 54 4 1 Messages and CSR message counts by organization and channel ............. 63 4 2 CSR dimension breakdown by channel ................................ ........................ 63 4 3 Cross Tabulations of CSR mentions by Channel and Organization ............. 64 4 4 Social network CSR messages as a frequency of messages per week ....... 64 4 5 Tonality of Social Network Feedback ................................ ........................... 64


8 Abstract of Thesi s Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Master of Arts in Mass Communication COMMUNICATING SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IN PROFESSIONAL AMERICAN MOTORSPORTS: AN ANALYSIS O F ORGANIZATION GENERATED CONTENT By Dan Churchill May 2013 Chair: Kathleen Kelly Major: Mass Communication In the United States stakeholders expect the organizations they interact with to conduct themselves responsibly. Often called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the idea extends beyond for profit businesses to nonprofit firms as well, as a means of accounting for the economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic behaviors of an orga nization. CSR, present in varying degrees in professional sport, has received s ome scholarly attention, though the sub category of profe ssional motorsports has received very little. power to affect change and improve society make it important to an alyze how and what sport organizations communicate with regard to CSR motorsports among them This study explored the CSR communications of the largest motorsports organizations operating in the United States in an effort to identify similar themes among organizations Data were collected over a seven week period in which the organizations were inactive (i.e., no races) analyzing w ebsite home pages, e newsletter s and social networks to determine how often and to what extent the organizations communicate


9 Findings indicate the motorsports organizations communicate the four CSR dimensions to varying degrees : philanthropy and ethics being dominant, the economic and legal dimensions found least often. These fin dings agree with previous study, although CSR in motorspo rts was found much less often than other sports. Two way communication (i.e., comments) was not found to effect message frequency, regardless of tone. Ultimately, t his study provides usable information for public relations practitioners in sport as wel l as scholars looking to advance sport CSR scholarship.


10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is increasingly prominent in modern society. Whether in the boardroom or th e locker room, the idea that organizations have both academia and practice. Just as quickly as the idea grows, so too do the number of attempts to define terms, theori es and models, labels often created based on the efforts definitions routinely encompass ideas such as diversity and sustainability, ethical and moral dilemmas, along with a host of other issues. The power of sport to affect change has also recently been discussed at a growing rate. Whether at the community level or on a global scale, sport provides the means for social interaction as either participant or spectator (Smith & Westerbeek, 2007). Indeed, many social and political statements have been made during high profile events. Numerous non governmental organizations have attempted to use sport to porate social responsibility through sport offers substantial potential....More than any other potential vehicle, [sport] contains qualities that make it a powerful force in effecting While the literature of CSR in sport is continuing to build, research on social responsibility within American motorsports lags behind other areas. Because sport wields such power (Smith & Westerbeek, 2007) and current research suggests that CSR is necessary as a strategic function in sport (Sheth & Babiak, 2010; Walker, Kent, & Vincent, 2010), it is important to broaden the horizons of CSR sport research to


11 include motorsports. This quantitative study of organizational communication will review common definitio ns and theories of CSR, delve into existing issues with CSR in sport, and examine the ways in which CSR is communicated by professional motorsports organizations. It seeks to use established definitions and theory to build on the quantity and quality of CS R communications knowledge in professional sport, namely, professional American motorsports. The Case for Corporate Social Responsibility in Motorsports The motorsports industry has grown into big business, with the potential to help or harm a large and growing number of stakeholders. There is no shortage of justification when it comes to the discussion of responsible action in sport. Inherent danger in sport runs the gambit from soccer to drag racing, dangerous for spectators as well as participants. Que stions regarding how dangers are mitigated and how risk reduction measures are communicated must be asked. Are these communications happening in a manner consistent with all stakeholders: fans, spectators, owners and participants? Outside of motorsports, c oncerns for safety are certainly high. Major League Baseball (MLB) has endured several controversies regarding steroid use, even though an abundance of information exists regarding the perils. Why there are so many cases of performance enhancing drug use i n baseball, and sport in general, is beyond reason and brain disease from traumatic brain injury have led the NFL to pledge money for research and enact new rules, but a t what cost (Wong, 2012)? There are brutal fights in these sports and others, including the National Hockey and Basketball Leagues (NHL ;


12 NBA; Associated Press, 2004; Buccigross, 2007), that detract from the game and jeopardize the safety of spectators. Moral and Ethical Issues Moral and ethical dilemmas in professional sport are perhaps the most prevalent reasons for the necessity of CSR. At the professional level for instance, the NFL has had several headline grabbing issues in the last few years that i the bounty scandal, while college football has endured the Penn State scandal and an unending flood of recruiting violations. These examples pale in comparison to the amount of poor personal choices made by professional athletes that consistently appear in the media (Smith and Westerbeek, 2007). Within motorsports the risks only increase, as death and other concerns are very real issues for those in the racing profession. Deanna Boyd (2011), sportswriter for the Star Telegram, was t here the day freestyle motorcross racer Jim McNeil was killed, when his dirtbike failed to travel the necessary distance to safely land a jump during practice. Was this a problem of bravado by the rider or a failure of the governing body, FreestyleMX, to e nsure safety through responsible course design? Motorcycle road racer Marco Simoncelli died after losing control of his high performance motorcycle during a race, swerving into the path of other riders. Could this tragedy have been prevented by the Fdrat ion Internationale de Motorcyclisme (FIM) through restricted motorcycle capabilities and relentlessly conducted safety checks? Reporter James Brant (2012) detailed the day prof essional race car driver Dan Wheldon was killed, when during a crash his head came into contact with the fence


13 separating the racing surface from spectators. Catch fences have seemed to lag behind in terms of updating, despite improvements in other aspects of safety, but that appears to be a part of the allure: Racing's inherent danger whether we admit it or not has always been a part of its attraction, regardless of the series, track or era. Professional drivers know what they face when they strap on a hel met. (Brant, 2012, p.1) These are but a few of the professional racing fatalities that speak to the necessity of CSR and CSR communication in motorsports. Spectators, too, have been the victims of tragedy at motorsports events. In 2009, three fans were kil led when debris from a crash entered the stands (Associated Press, 2009a). Another fan was killed recently when he was struck by lightning, raising concerns about the communication failure by officials to warn spectators of impending inclement weather (New ton, 2012). Safety, however, is far from the only concern. The environmental impacts of just one National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR ) season are staggering, considering dozens of race cars traveling hundreds of miles per race, with singl e digit fuel consumption per gallon and no Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. Emission of carbon dioxide measures hundreds of thousands of pounds per race and millions annually, and these statistics refer to just the race cars themselves (F rankel, 2012). Teams generally have multiple vehicles, including tractor trailer trucks, running all weekend long and from race to race and event to event. These practices are unlikely sustainable and surely not environmentally friendly, and they are just a fraction of the overall motorsports picture. Fortunately though, CSR in professional sport is not just about irresponsibility, death, and environmental damage. Sport inherently is social, a way for people from different walks of life to come together (S mith & Westerbeek, 2007). Positive change


14 can and is happening. Philanthropy abounds in the larger leagues, such as the NFL, NBA and MLB. Each has a dedicated foundation and partners with nonprofit organizations to positively impact the environment, the co mmunity, and society (Ratten & Babiak, 2010). Even though NASCAR is occasionally criticized in the media for inequality in the promotion and marketing of minorities (Tabor, 2012), it is just as often commended for its Drive for Diversity program. Many f eel NASCAR is taking important steps to ensure diversity within the ranks by providing opportunities for minorities and creating awareness of diversity issues (Newton, 2009). Some, such as the president of one of the most distinguished racetracks in the U nited States, are pleased with the NASCAR diversity program and see the disparity in demographics changing. A diverse workforce can often bring new perspectives and ideas, such as environmental initiatives like recycling, which can create more return on investment (Associated Press, 2012b). Diversity can also assist in expanding the reach of products and communications to a more diverse group of stakeholders driving awareness, sensing trends, and improving the accuracy of targeted marketing (Vega, 2012). Advancing technology has certainly impacted professional motorsports, as driver safety continues to improve with the research and development of safer restraints, barrier materials, and roll cages that have increased survivability (Larson, 2012). The Nat ional Hot Rod Association (NHRA ) has made numerous improvements to its cars and tracks after two prominent drivers were killed (Associated Press, 2009b). IndyCar officials have made rules changes and mandated redesigning their race cars after Dan Wheldon was killed. Officials in that league are now placing a much greater emphasis


15 on the safety of their drivers; no topic is off limits (Associated Press, 2011; Associated Press, 2012a). Progress is also underway in sustainability, as several companies are c urrently p. 1). Electric cars and motorcycles are starting to make their way into international eek, 2012b). These and other advancements are important for the long term success of motorsports from a CSR perspective. The preceding examples, good and bad, point to an obvious need for understanding CSR communication in motorsports. In order to succeed in that task, it is therefore important to discuss the disparate origins, theories, and definitions of CSR in context. These concepts, in conjunction with current literature on CSR communication in sport, will be investigated further in C hapter 2


16 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW CSR is defined as many things by many people in many disciplines. The fact that multiple definitions and theories exist, which are highly and often debatable, highlights the growing consensus that more research is needed in an effort t o avoid ambiguity. Furthermore, challenges, such as ethics violations, diversity, and safety concerns, all fall under the CSR umbrella. Do charitable giving and philanthropy offset the potential for misdeeds, permanent disability, or even death? In Chapte r 2 these topics will provide a base of academic research on which further study will be conducted. The literature is organized in a way that first discusses the history and early examples of CSR, then works into some of the current attempts to define it. Next, the study will delve into some of the most cited and well known, relevant theories of CSR: (a) Stockholder Value Theory (SVT), (b) Stakeholder Theory (ST), (c) Corporate Social Performance (CSP), and (d) Corporate Citizenship (CC). Finally, the revi ew will explore stakeholder management in sport, to include unique stakeholder groups, and delve into current sport CSR literature, finishing in a proposed hypothesis and research questions. Corporate Social Responsibility The concept of social responsibi lity is more than a century old. Some argue that it is much older, even though it was not defined as such. Early CSR was not thought of individuals who owned compani es or started charitable foundations. These individuals, the wealthiest of the late 1800s, would start companies and foundations with charitable motives in mind, founding such organizations as universities, libraries and museums.


17 George Peabody was one of the first men to be credited with doing so at the time, followed by the likes of Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford around the turn of the 20 th century (Americas Library, 2012; Carroll, 2008; Peabody Library, 2012; Sheth & Babiak, 2010). Other than philanthrop dollar a day workday is often seen as the early beginnings of CSR, having direct impact on employees in a manner that today could easily be considered strategic (Carroll, 2008; Ford Motor Company, 1914). CSR continued in this form into the mid 1900s when economist Howard Bowen labeled the idea of putting corporate resources behind social programs as social responsibility in his book Social Responsibilities of the Businessman (Alniacik, 2011; Carroll, 2008). CSR remained as a topic of little attention for nearly two decades until, in the 1970s, the conversation about CSR segmented into those wanting to dissect it into specific sub disciplines and those arguing that profit was the only real social responsibility (Mel, 2008). Economist Milton Friedman (1970) was the champion of the latter movement, argued tha t social responsibilities do not lie with corporations but with individuals, who are capable of making their own choices about how to spend their earnings. He proposed that just as employees are paid a wage for their time, so too should shareholders be loo ked after responsibly through the organizations efforts to maximize return on investment. The two decidedly different points of view continue to be debated, but profit maximization has endured visible crises in the last two decades that require


18 the attenti on of crisis communicators and have caused many to question its credibility (Spears, 2012). Corporate Social Responsibility Defined I n terms o f attempts to define CSR, modeling and theoretical concepts have increased dramatically in the 1970s. 1970) diatribe regarding profit maximization may have created this unintended consequence but it is also possibly due to a combination of increased globalization, social movements of the era, and corporate misdeeds (Carroll, 2008). Carroll (1979) provided what many consider to be a Dimensional responsibility literature to date, outlined the questions a firm must ask to determine its position, and provided a model of the four social responsibilities that businesses should practice. dimensional model accounted f or major CSR themes in research such as going above and bey ond the legal and monetary obligations of business, the voluntary nature of social responsibility, and the idea that social challenges are emerging and ambiguous. CSR practice is often dependent on the situation as each organization has unique circumstance s. Carroll (1979) determined that based on the incongruent nature of the varying definitions of CSR it can be hard to categorize. This is often due to both stakeholders and variables being either too broad or too numerous for specific accounting. He devel oped four categories of social responsibility: (a) economic, goods and services desired by society so that the organization is profitable and can remain in operation; (b) legal, complying with regulation and policies; (c) ethical, meeting societal expectat ion;


19 and (d) discretionary, voluntary and philanthropic choices. From these categories, legal, ethical, and discretionary expectations that society has of organizations at a given The three beyond economic and legal concerns? What are the social areas in which we have a roll, 1979, p. 499). Responses to social issues fall in the three dimensional space, giving managers at the very least awareness of their own responses to social issues, and perhaps a training tool and behavioral predictor. Carroll (1991) updated his mode l considerably since first envisioning it in 1979. The older model was changed in favor of a pyramid, the visual representation of building skyward from a solid economic responsibility base, up through legal and ethical responsibilities, to what is now phi lanthropic responsibility instead of discretionary. According to Carroll (1991), the pyramid is not meant to prioritize CSR efforts or to suggest a sequential order of the categories, but rather to graphically depict the reminder that each category of responsibility must be present, and CSR is incomplete without all four categories. As Carroll summarized, corporate citizen" (p. 292). Furt her, Carroll (1991) chose to adopt the CSR title as opposed to another because he believed it more embodied the four components of CSR and might help to eliminate confusion regarding CSR in general.


20 propose that while developing models for conducting CSR makes sense, practice should dictate how social responsibility is categorized. Common example s of the recommended categories responsible practices fall into are environment, diversity, c ommunity and employee relations; those to which organizations tend to gravitate (Hou & Reber, 2011). Most authors first attempt to quantify the proliferation of CSR definitions before offering their own opinion, perhaps none more thorough ly (2 008) endeavor to catalog and analyze 37 different definitions. Throughout the varying descriptions, five traits were found most often, with many occurring in every characterization of CSR: (a) environment, (b) society, (c) economic, (d) stakeholders, and ( e) volunteerism. Moreover, academic, professional, and governmental definitions were integrated into the study, providing a well rounded explanation of the current views regarding CSR. With a single definition of CSR still not agreed upon, the problem ex ists that organizations may shy away from it, seeing the concept as too confusing or complex, and waiting to fully participate until less subjectivity is present. Scholars argue that CSR to accurately explore a broader conceptualization (Crane, McWilliams, Matten, Moon, & Siegel, 2008). Carroll (1999) obliged, offering a more generic definition of CSR as the act of committing resources of the organization towards a balanced, positive outc ome for all involved stakeholders. This view works well in most situations, especially considering of the same conclusions Carroll (1979) did almost 30 years before. Wh ile Dahlsrud


21 (2008) cited Archie Carroll as a highly regarded academic with regards to CSR, none of actually seems to increase the credibility of his argument and strengthens the bridge between CSR and stakeholder theory. Further, CSR, CSR communications, and public relations are tightly nested with stakeholder theory in that CSR often falls under the purview of the public relations practitioner and is communication s driven. Carroll (1979) indicates social involvement management is really a bout maintaining relationships with the key groups inside and outside the organization in order to meet business objectives (Kelly, 1998; Mckee & Lamb, 2009). Identifying stakeholder theory as a theory of CSR, with the focus of building and maintaining rel ationships with key groups while creating positive outcomes for them (Carroll, 1991) almost automatically places accountability with a public relations practitioner inside the organization Additionally, Carroll mentions several stakeholder groups to which public relations managers must account for according to responsibilities, eno ugh so that practitioners need a thorough understanding of it (CSR). Theories of CSR The four prominent theories of CSR, Stockholder Value Theory, Stakeholder Theory, Corporate Social Performance, and Corporate Citizenship are normative in nature; they att empt to explain the way things should be (Becker & Vlad, 2009). Each outlines the affected parties and objectives based on the choices an organization makes


22 when conducting business. In general terms, the theories represent philosophies of how organization s are to conduct business in a morally and ethically correct sense (Hasnas, Stockholde r Value Theory Stockholder Value Theory (SVT), often referred to as Shareholder Theory (Hasnas, 1998), was popularized by the afore mentioned Milton Friedman (1970) when he argued that the only social responsibly of a corporation was to maximize profits (M el, 2008). When this statement is referred to as a stand alone argument, it is often taken out of context, as Friedman (1970) further stated: In a free enterprise, private property system, a corporate executive is an employee of the owners of the business He has direct responsibility to his employers. That responsibility is to conduct the business in accordance with their desires, which generally will be to make as much money as possible while conforming to their basic rules of the society, both those emb odied in law and those embodied in ethical custom. (p. 2) by the interests of shareholders as agents, whatever those interests might be. Both Mel (2008) and Freidman (1970) are right in arguing that there may be a strategic value to CSR, but thorough analysis must be done to first identify costs and benefits. An example of attempting to maximize profit and social responsibility simultaneously is socially responsible investing, (S RI) a burgeoning category of financial investments (Crane, McWilliams, Matten, Moon, & Siegel, 2008). This general idea of profit maximization was illustrated long before Freidman loy still more men, to spread the benefits of this industrial system to the greatest possible


23 number, to help them build up their lives and their homes. To do this, we are putting d, 1917, p. 12). The Dodge brothers, heavily invested in Ford Motor Company at the time, were not keen on this plan and took Mr. Ford to court, arguing that dividends were required in favor of reinvestment or social good. The brothers won the suit, forcing Ford Motor should be noted that Ford was not without his own contentious issues as, suffice to say, his social responsibility certainly seemed to have limits (Iacocca, 1 998). Stakeholder Theory Conversely, stakeholder theory posits that organizations have an obligation to actions are good or bad and the results are favorable or unfavorab le. Stakeholder may organization, but identifying stakeholders can be difficult. Often the size of an organization, the industry the organization is in, and the location of the organization can all affect the size and shape of the stakeholder group (Mel, 2008; Reed, 1999). identifying to whom a He indicated representation possibly creating better accountability, saying : With these perspectives in mind, let us think of stakeholder management as a process by which managers reconcile their own objectives with the claims and expectations being m ade on them by various stakeholder groups. The challenge of stakeholder management is to ensure that the firm's primary stakeholders achieve their objectives while other stakeholders are also ible, it does represent a legitimate and desirable goal for management to pursue to protect its long term interests. (p. 43)


24 Stakeholder theory began as a critical management concept, but the normative its adaption in communication and CSR research. For this reason, stakeholder theory is often valued for its ties to managerial decision making and applicability (Mel, 2008). The proposal will discuss stakeholder theory in more detail when explaining research methods, but it is important to note that the industry of sport is unique with regards to certain stakeholders. In sport, fans are perhaps the most unique stakeholder, and along with corporate partners and sponsors (Sheth & Babia k, 2010) are rarely found outside the sport and entertainment industries. Conversely, stockholders in sport are quite rare due to a lack of publicly traded organizations, and often purchasing equity as a novelty, memorabilia, or a show of support to the or ganization, not for the purpose of investment. Stockholders do exist in some forms, but are mostly a by product of the fan phenomenon; legal and other issues often prevent the sale of stock in sports franchises (Dicker, 2011; Stroz, 2001). Corporate Social Performance Corporate Social Performance (CSP) is the idea that a business is responsible for cleaning up the mistakes it makes or social problems it creates (Mel 2008). CSP is somewhat based on the idea that as an organization exists, it has certain effects on society and, thus, is responsible even beyond economic and legal liability. CSP and stakeholder theory are closely related through a responsibility to stak eholders, although CSP somewhat downplays the fiduciary responsibilities of the organization in favor of social progress.


25 Since CSP is well defined conceptually with levels, processes and predictive outcomes, ideally the goal is to reduce the damage an or ganization does while increasing the amount of good works. However, CSP fails to completely articulate the role of ethics in CSR, as well as economic determinants, leaving room for improvement (Mel, 2008). Corporate Citizenship Corporate citizenship is a lso derived from a stakeholder and CSR perspective with the main difference being the degree to which CSR is emphasized (Mel, 2008). Typically, the motivation of corporate citizenship is to do the most good as an actor in the global economy, with no tangi ble account for economic factors. This idea is only that corporate citizenship is more aligned with the maximization of social outcomes. In practice and academia, the many concepts and theories of CSR have started to become interchangeable, the lines between them often misunderstood or misidentified (Carroll, 1991). Attention shifts back and forth between proactive and reactive, the economic and the ethical. CSP allow s the smallest of shifts towards performance, or economic activities while a broad CSR label puts the onus of businesses on responsibility, or ethical activities. The blending of the ideas and surrounding confusion can be summed up by Carroll (1991), as he chosen to adhere to the CSR terminology for our present discussion. With just a slight change of focus, however, we could easily be discussing a CSP rather than a CSR


26 Sport As previously discussed, sport organizations al so have stakeholders and accompanying CSR initiatives. Different organizations in sport practice CSR in their own way, not to mention stakeholders can vary in their interests from organization to organization, between governing bodies, and from team to tea m. Stakeholder management in sport has also been shown to be beneficial, necessary and strategic (Sheth & Babiak, 2010). Fans, corporate partners, and sponsors make it very important to clearly understand the interactions between stakeholders and CSR init iatives due to the public nature of the activity (Sheth & Babiak, 2010). Existing literature regarding CSR in sport is lean, but building (Sheth and Babiak, 2010; Smith and Westerbeek, 2007; Walker et al., 2010) and CSR research in motorsports is even more sparse, dominated by case study and market research. Stakeholder Theory and the Sports Fan Sport shares stakeholders with other industries that are both internal and external, such as employees, executives, customers, suppliers, community, and media, but several unique stakeholders also exist, such as corporate sponsors and partners, athletes, and fans. The concept of a fan is not to be confused with customers or consumers because often fans do not have financial ties to an organization and quantifying te levision viewing habits can be difficult (Sheth & Babiak, 2010). Fans may consume information regarding a team or league, watch events or games on television, and even participate in the public discourse while never contributing monetarily. In sport, the term fan is often used interchangeably with spectators, customers, television viewers, memorabilia enthusiasts or others that could just as easily be a


27 season ticket holder as someone having only an innate emotional connection to the organizations or sport (Jacobson, 2003; Sheth & Babiak, 2010; Waters, Burke, Jackson & Buning, 2010) A definition from The Online Journal of Sport Psychology states: as an individual posse 2003, p. 6). Some studies have equated fans to spectators, customers and consumers at the event, attempting to determine the degree of identification and reasons for following a team closely One study in particular allowed subjects to determine their own definition executives found several generic references to both community and fans, the latter being so to a large cluster of stakeholders when needed. It seems prudent that fan, before being referenced, should first be qualified. ter m welfare and have shown to be brand loyal in terms of both persistence in involvement and resistance to attitude change. Bauer, Sauer, and Exier (2008) referred to this as the attitude of fan loyalty that works in sync with the behavioral loyalty of fans. The behavior component is said to provide the entertainment value and social interactions among other benefits from events, and even act as informal spokespersons when repe ating pertinent information. Fans seek out information from organizational sources with which they align


28 uncommon in other industries and view the organization as trustworthy and credible (Waters et al., 2010). over the years, maintaining both product and non product related allegiances (Bauer et al., 2008; Melnick & Wann, 2011). Fans are in most ways believed to be the most dedicated stakeholders of any industry (Waters et al., 2010). Motorsports and Motorsports Fans Motorsports fans take the idea of fandom to the next level, sometimes passionate beyond reason in support of their favorite leagues, teams, and races. While different sports such as baseball, basketball or socc across several of the largest motorsports (Amato, Peters, & Shao, 2005; Bernthal & Regan, 2001; Lapio & Speter, 2000). A num ber of characteristics found in motorsports fans, such as involvement and freedom, are present across these large motorsports organizations of NASCAR NHRA IndyCar and the AMA (Amato et al., 2005; Dees, Bennett, & Ferreira, 2010). For this reason, thes e organizations are included for further study and short descriptions of each are necessary to enhance understanding. Each of the leagues operates in a accumulating points and awards. The United States based American Motorcycling Association, among its other functions, began the sanctioning of motorcycle racing as the governing body after being created in 1924. From on road to off road races, and everything in between, the AMA


29 AMA races feature upgraded mass produced motorcycles that are configured to enhance competition. Riders qualify through rounds in order to reach a final race at each of the events and are challenged by a variety of terrain changes through the varying road courses of the circuit. The AMA Pro Road Racing season begins in March and concludes in September (AMA Pro Racing, 2012). IndyCar racing is a privately owned race league wherein open wheeled race cars qualify and compete on a variety of tracks predominate ly around the United States. IndyCars have a distinctive open cockpit, open wheel design that set them apart in appearance from other race cars. Indy cars race on both oval speedways and the more technical road courses. The IndyCar racing season begins in March and concludes in October (IndyCar 2012). The N ational Hot Rod Association is a nonprofit league governing drag racing in the United States. Responsible for more than 20 classes of race cars and almost two dozen races per season, alcohol fueled 7,0 00 horsepower dragsters power down a quarter mile of asphalt in a series of elimination races at speeds of over 300 miles per hour. The NHRA is one of the largest auto racing organizations in the world in terms of membership, with more than 40,000 license d drivers. NHRA racing season begins in February and concludes in November (NHRA 2012). NASCAR is a privately owned company rooted in moonshine running during prohibition in the United States. Moonshine runners began testing their skills against one an other until NASCAR was formed as a governing, for profit organization in the


30 both ovals and road courses that are hundreds of miles long at speeds of more than 200 mi les per hour. The NASCAR racing season begins in February and concludes in November (NASCAR 2012). Both nonprofit and for profit organizations manage stakeholders and relationships while conducting CSR. The costs associated with attracting new stakehol ders, whether they be donors or customers, is often considerably more than the costs to keep existing stakeholders (Kelly, 2001). The problem then becomes one of understanding the traits and motivations of multiple stakeholder groups, across motorsports, i n order to find the most efficient and effective way to communicate with them. NASCAR fans perhaps best demonstrate these traits as most academic study seems to have focused on consumer behavior and insight within the organization. For example, recent med ia attention might suggest that NASCAR is in somewhat of a slump due to a lagging economy (Stynes, 2012), but scholars have been under the impression that NASCAR fans emanate enthusiasm and even when NASCAR fans have perceived a lack of relationship management by the league, they still profess to being dedicated and attracted to racing (Bernthal & Regan, 2001). This is not to say that other motorsports do not rec eive the same amount of allegiance from their fans; it merely illustrates the lack of scholarship with regard to other motorsports and the abundance of it regarding NASCAR This might, in and of itself, further indicate intense fandom.


31 Lapio and Speter ( 2000) noted that media rights deals with NASCAR were approaching NFL levels, drivers were earning tens of millions of dollars, and the breaking of attendance records were signs of a growing motorsports dominance. A dozen years ago, the organization could not add capacity to its locations fast enough. league itself, boasting that two thirds of fans purchase the products of sponsors. This should be re stated for emphasis : Two out of three NASCAR fans support their favorite drivers and teams by purchasing sponsor products (Lapio & Speter, 2000). Moreover, two of five fans indicated they would switch brands to that of a new official sponsor (Amato et al., 2005). Only a sma ll step further and one might postulate that NASCAR fans believe they can help their driver win by contributing to the effort monetarily. NASCAR cultivates an intense loyalty in fans by integrating various marketing strategies, offering a diverse range o f products, and selling the family experience (Lapio & Speter, 2000; Amato et al., 2005). Research suggests that NASCAR motorspo rts fan. They spend hours per week following the sport, hundreds of dollars per year on merchandise, and attend races on occasion. They look for a sense of belonging in the NASCAR culture to identify with others: NASCAR fan camaraderie stems from common n orms, values, and beliefs. community; however, other values central to the NASCAR culture include individualism, freedom, mobility, courage, and fair play. (Amato et al., 2005, p.73) Furth ermore, hardcore NASCAR fandom has been indicative of being a race fan in general, enjoying several disciplines of racing outside of stock cars such as the


32 NHRA IndyCar and sportbike motorcycle racing. NASCAR fans watch races that might not even feat ure their favorite driver (Amato et al., 2005) just as NFL fans watch football games not featuring their favorite teams. Other motorsports share similar levels of fandom as the result of creating interactions and removing barriers between the sport and the spectator. The NHRA for instance, drives interaction between competitors and customers by focusing on the fan experience just as much as race team and organizational economics (Chabot, 2007). Motorcycle attendance has been shown to be tolerant of pri ce fluct uation (Lewis, 2010), and worldwide, open wheeled racing is a major spectator sport, with fans looking for entertainment and excitement by the millions (Karlsen, 2011). Fan commitment being what it is, the opportunity for sport organizations to ntegrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their capitalize on the strategic nature and maximize effects of CSR is ripe. The que stion is, do fans care? Corporate Social Responsibility in Sport (2009) study in which they surveyed NFL fans at games. They found that fans appreciate CSR efforts and may even use the information to form positive opinions about the organization. CSR initiatives potentially affect product choices and the re transmittal of organizational information through informal and word of mouth communication. Brandish and Cronin (2009) bega date. They noted the work


33 CSR activity (Babiak & Wolfe, 2009) a nd how sport affects the larger community around it. These findings, as with many others, support the conclusion that due to the influential nature of sport, CSR has been shown to be extremely effective and valuable, representing social change for the bett er (Brandish & Cronin, 2009). Smith and Westerbeek (2007) outlined seven features of sport that make CSR important: (a) the public and influential nature of sport, (b) sports attractiveness to youth, (c) the lifestyle benefits of sport, (d) the social natu re of sport, (e) the role in sport, (f) the opportunities to foster diversity in sport, and (g) the avenues for corporate participation in sport. In short, societal benef its from participation in sport range from interpersonal development to economic and philanthropic community enhancement. CSR through sport has the potential for positive social change on a global scale (Smith & Westerbeek, 2007). Walters (2009) tested Smi th and previously mentioned ideas including the influential nature sport and its lifestyle benefits. CSR has also been found to be a central component of senior official pl anning because of its strategic nature (Walters & Tacon, 2010). structured nature and the very visible role model it provides. This becomes evident when scandal erupts, causing blowback. Further, he argued that the organization has a large role in sending messages to society in terms of self regulation and personal responsibility. He contended that organizations should exhibit qualities that benefit


34 ntial nature and that the normative nature of sport can lend itself to improved conditions all around. In simpler terms, sport is good for CSR and CSR is good for sport. Organizations should consider their responsibilities to all stakeholders in a growing culture of winning at all costs (Godfrey, 2009). Just as in other industries, questions inevitably arise as to the financial aspects of CSR in sport found an overall neutra l effect of CSR on financial performance, but also a small negative correlation between CSR and financials with regard to individual teams and leagues (Inoue, Kent, & Lee, 2011). If research regarding CSR in sport in general is considered sparse, then res earch regarding CSR in motorsports is practically nonexistent. The scholarly literature that does exist consists mostly of case studies and single domains of CSR, such as environmental issues or diversity. Those studies in existence are helpful, however, i n providing context for the definition of motorsports and some enlightenment as far as CSR in motorsports. For example, Kravchenko and Nosov (2011) provided a definition of motorsports: C ompetitive racing by equivalent machines on a frequent basis, on de motocross, karts, historic cars, drag, open wheel, single seat, sports, GT, Formula Ford, touring cars, rallying, sports compact, CART, IRL and Formula One. (p. 6) This study focuses on the four largest governing bodies of motorcycle (AMA), stock car (NASCAR ), drag (NHRA ) and open wheeled (IRL) racing in the United States. Of the scant amount of research regarding CSR in motorsports, international leagues have fared the best with focuses wheeled Formula One and MotoGP (Fairley, Tyler, Kellett, & Elia, 2011; Lewis, 2010; Karlsen, 2011).


35 Domestically, CSR in motorsports research has largely been relegated to NASCAR and the economic impacts of sport and its venu es on the community (Bodie, 2011; Thompson, Freudenburg, & Heller, 2007; Upright, Smith, Larson, & Gibson, 2011). Lewis (2010) recently discussed the challenges and opportunities in international sport tourism, arguing that growth has led MotoGP to a poin t of great influence, establishing the conditions for the league to lead by example. Particularly of note with regard to CSR, MotoGP is introducing electric motorcycles in the upcoming season in order to improve environmental technology and sustainability. Further, e vehicles can somewhat offset the environmental issues caused by the races themselves. Formula One open wheeled racing is also very popular worldwide. A similar discipline to IndyCar communi cate their CSR efforts as attempts to better the environment and society through innovation. The league has improved fuel efficiency, reduced noise, and introduced e vehicles to improve sustainability (Karlsen, 2011). Fairley et al. (2011) social and environmental impacts of racing are not always positive. Stakeholders must be a consideration of the organization at all times and communicated with regularly if the desire is to focus on improving the triple bottom line. Environmental concerns are a reoccurring theme in motorsports CSR literature. becomes. Certain emission, fossil fuel and l and abuse issues cannot be overcome. At the same time, considerations must be made to innovate so that environmental impacts can be minimized and sustainability attempted (Kravchenko & Nosov, 2011).


36 Pfahl (2010) offered a framework for developing sustaina bility in sport organizations, arguing that individuals must take responsibility for environmental issues as part of the larger concern for stakeholders, creating partnerships when necessary. These and other models are suggested to help improve the overall impacts of sport on the community at large. Domestically, NASCAR is often targeted due to environmental and sustainability issues (Bodie, 2011), along with localized economic impacts (Bernthal & Regan, 2001). Critics argue that while some organizations i nternalize sustainability as a core value, NASCAR does not. It often fights reforms and allows money to dictate social policies well past the change in public opin ion. An example of NASCAR comba ting change would be their implementation of more environmen tally friendly fuels. While 2008 saw NASCAR only then switched to the more environmentally friendly fuels that IndyCar had already been using for more than 30 years. The c p.522). theory, and research seems to support that NASCAR can have a positive effect on a local economy (Upright et al., 2011). Organizations can and often do use this information when planning expansion (Bernthal & Regan, 2001). Racing facilities in general seem to infuse money into local economies (Thompson et al., 2007), although careful attention should be paid to how and who funds such studies. Alternative research has been known to shown no, or even a negative impact on local economies


37 (Coates & Humphreys, 2000). How CSR issues are communicated by motorspor ts organizations provides the basis for hypothesis and research questions. The NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB are a predominate favorite of study by researchers (Babiak & Wolfe, 2009; Inoue et al., 2011; Sheth and Babiak, 2010; Walker & Kent, 2009; Walker et al ., 2010), with stakeholder management as the prevailing theory. With regard to CSR and sport, stakeholder management fits research well as the theoretical framework, considering some of the unique stakeholders in sport (Carroll, 1979; Sheth & Babiak, 2010; Smith & Westerbeek, 2007; Walker et al., 2010). Also, the literature of CSR in sport as a whole supports the claim that CSR is a strategic benefit based on popularity, visibility, and fan culture. CSR is often focused on philanthropy at the team level in the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB due to community impacts (Sheth & Babiak, 2010; Walker et al., 2010). In motorsports, fans are arguably the most fervent of any, and the benefits of CSR are in line with the criteria outlined by Smith and Westerbeek (2007). Furt her, the economic dimension of CSR, along with the concepts of environmental protection and sustainability seem to be the most discussed topics of CSR in motorsports (Bernthal & Regan, 2001; Bodie, 2011; Fairley et al., 2011). Applying these common themes to studies regarding the perceptions and communication of CSR (Sheth & Babiak, 2010; Walker et al., 2010) should provide a multi sided approach to understanding how CSR is communicated in motorsport and identify areas that may be under studied. Walker et al. (2010) analyzed communications in e newsletters for CSR messages from a random sample of teams in the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB, finding six categories of CSR communicated by these professional teams: (a) monetary charitable


38 events (i.e., donations of mon ey), (b) non monetary charitable events (i.e., donations other than money), (c) volunteerism (i.e., time & effort), (d) recognition events (i.e., honoring outstanding achievement), (e) community appreciation (i.e., events to honor community), and (f) socia l awareness promotion (i.e., raising awareness for social, environmental, or health causes). Sheth and Babiak (2010) used content analysis to ascertain perceptions of CSR held by team owners and community relations directors, also in the NFL, NBA, NHL an d MLB. They found that sport executives believed philanthropic efforts were most indicative of CSR activities, with economic activities least related to CSR. Acting ethically and within legal boundaries were indicated as relevant to CSR, but not to a large extent. In fact, when asked to rank CSR activities while economic considerations were found least important (Sheth & Babiak, 2010). Internally, the executives studied subs tantiated the external communication findings that within the NFL, NHL NBA and MLB, philanthropy and charitable acts were the most demonstrated form of CSR (Sheth & Babiak, 2010; Walker et al., 2010). Hypotheses and Research Questions This section presen ts one hypothesis and ten research questions that were drawn from the CSR literature review and the themes that emerged. They have been formulated to guide this study concerning motorsports governing bodies. Fans of sport appreciate the perceived transpar ency and increased responsibilities that stem from the public scrutiny of their sport organizations (Sheth & Babiak, 2010). They also follow their favorite organizations at the league and team level closely. This devotion can potentially be leveraged with regards to communication and may enhance CSR message reach and effectiveness.


39 ed across the board, from the trust and credibility perspective. It was also found that message impact can be affected by the level of interaction subjects desired to have with the organization. No such study was found with regards to CSR messages targetin g motorsports fans, so a logical first step of gathering a range of communications from racing organizations seems prudent. Evidence suggests that stakeholders use internet searches to gather information about their interests, including CSR. These searches often lead to organizational websites and increasingly to organizational social networks (Ciletti, Lanasa, Ramos, methods of CSR communication (Walker et al., 2010 ) that allow them to seek the information when necessary or convenient. Similar to the question Ciletti et al. (2010) attempted to answer regarding the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB based on observed messages, this study seeks to know: RQ1A : What emphasis do motorsports organizations place on CSR communication as opposed to all other observed messages through e newsletters, websites and social networks? RQ1B : To what extent do professional motorsports organizations communicate CSR message s through e newsletters, websites and social networks? Many teams in the largest sports leagues in America draw the majority of their support locally and regionally, enabling the CSR dimensions of philanthropic activities and economic initiatives to work i n concert providing community based effects (Sheth & Babiak, 2010). In the leagues previously studied, philanthropy has been found to be the most demonstrated form of CSR, allowing for the hypothesis:


40 H1: The communication of philanthropic initiatives by motorsports organizations will comprise the highest number of social responsibility communications. The issue remains, however, that the focus of academic literature regarding motorsports CSR centers on sustainability, quite different from that found regar ding teams in the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB. These leagues see philanthropy as the most visible dimension of CSR (Sheth & Babiak, 2010), so the dimension must be further sub categorized in order to compare the findings with related studies. Therefore, in con junction with the formulated hypothesis, it is important to answer the following research questions: RQ2: What portion of CSR messages identified as belonging in the philanthropic dimension is related to charitable, monetary donation? RQ3: What portion of CSR messages identified as belonging in the philanthropic dimension is related to charitable, non monetary donation? RQ4: What portion of CSR messages identified as belonging in the philanthropic dimension is related to charitable, volunteerism? The disti nctions between RQs 2, 3, and 4 are in the type of philanthropy in which the organization participates and communicates. A monetary donation involves the organization giving money or raising money, while a non monetary donation involves the organization ma king gifts of property, including products. Volunteerism refers to a proactive commitment of time and effort by members of the organization (Wilson, 2000), such as the staff, front office, or players. Additionally, the organization plays a large role in c ommunicating a need for volunteers to stakeholders who can then donate their time as a volunteer. Often, as previous studies have shown (Walker et al., 2010), sport organizations will partner with one or more charities in order to mutually support each oth


41 motorsports organizations will help to further compare motorsports to other sport organizations, if the philanthropic dimension is indeed the most often communicated. Reviewed li terature further indicated that sustainability and environmental issues were topics of academic research in motorsports (Bernthal & Regan, 2001; Bodie, 2011; Fairley et al., 2011; Global Sports Alliance, 2006), making it possible that the ethical dimension is the dominant CSR dimension in motorsports. For this reason more targeted research questions were formed: RQ5: To what extent do motorsports organizations produce CSR messages that indicate improving sustainability? RQ6: To what extent do motorsports organizations produce CSR messages that indicate environmental protection? Sustainability and environmental protection are very similar concepts and are both likely to be found in a single CSR message. They are not exactly the same, however, as sustainabil indirect stakeholders [e .g.] shareholders, employees, clients, pressure groups, communities etc, without compromising its ability to meet the needs of future environment; but it is also much more than that, accounting for economic and social balances as well. Examples of these include a paper company making sure it does not contribute to deforestation, a retail chain ensuring profits are not at the expense of the local economy, or a firearms manufacturer producing weapons with safety features that prevent accidental discharge. Closely r elated is the i dea of environmental protection or restore the quality of environmental media through preventing the emission of


42 (OECD, 2012, p. 1). The similarities between sustainability and environmental protection are self evident, as are the issues in motorsports related to both, such as pollution, emissions, and renewable energy. The difference lies in environmental protection being eco cent ric versus attempts to handle the more broad CSR topics. Regardless, both notions are integral to motorsports, as well as having their place in academic literature. The disparity in research between American motorsports organizations and other sports leag ues such as MLB or the NBA make it necessary to directly question what similarities and differences might be found between the studies. Motorsport literature concerning CSR, academic and professional, continually reference s ethical issues such as sustainab ility and diversity. The major dimension of CSR found in most previous studies of non motorsports has been philanthropy (Walker et al., 2010). All are common CSR concerns according to Carroll (1979, 1991, 1999). Therefore, the following question is needed: RQ7: What similarities and differences exist between professional motorsports organizations and the results found in previous study of other professional sports organizations such as the NFL, NBA, NHL or MLB in the communication of CSR? Finally, com munication in sport has grown more participatory than ever and the ability to affect change cannot be overstated. Social networks and media have no doubt facilitated that growth, now in need of study. Within motorsports, the ability of fans to participate is compounded in large part due to the passion demonstrated by stakeholders and the nature of professional sport. When sport organizations communicate with stakeholders, they are likely to facilitate loyalty that can lead to visible


43 support. That support t ypically comes in the form of fan advocacy for the sport, or as a monetary commitment of some sort. One example of the power of two way communication through social networks is the use of Twitter during a sport event. During the 2012 Daytona 500, a crash o ccurred that stopped the race. A driver near the wreckage tweeted a photo from the track of the fire, and in the span of 24 hours his Twitter followers increased from 60,000 to more than 200,000 (Bernstein, 2012). This kind of in the moment interaction may create ardent support and ensuing brand loyalty, and studies have shown that when consumers are partial to specific brands, they choose and even seek out communications about it (Walker et al., 2010). Relevant to the two way dialogue created by social net works are the final research questions: RQ8A : Does participation by motorsports organizations in two way communication with Facebook fans and Twitter followers regarding CSR increase the frequency of organizational CSR communication? RQ8B : What is the t one of feedback regarding CSR messages through the organizational social networking sites Twitter and Facebook ?


44 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY The study was conducted using quantitative content analysis with stakeholder theory providing the theoretical framework, similar to the study by Walker et al. (2010) Content analysis is a scientific method that provides a high degree of objectivity, is replicable, and systematic (Berelson, 1952). Further, a structured content analysis identifies data to be analyzed, applie s operational definitions, considers the population and context of the study, sets limits on generalization, and takes into account the objective and outcomes of a study (Krippendorff, 1980; Stemler, 2001). Communication Channels Walker et al. (2010) samp led e newsletters of the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB to determine CSR messaging through a particular stakeholder communication channel. CSR promotion by organizations has been found to create skepticism when not correctly executed, and several scholars have i necessary. Such methods enable stakeholders to find the information they seek at their leisure, attempting to keep themselves from being inundated with messages that do not concern them. E mail and social network posts wi th links to stories or e newsletters and websites with detailed reports are examples of these less aggressive tactics and techniques (Brown, 2003; Morsing and Schultz, 2006; Walker et al., 2010). E mail and e newsletters also serve as an effective means for targeting, customizing and distributing information (Walker et al., 2010). Additionally, Walker et al. recommended social network analysis be incorporated in further studies, presumably due to the one way communication aspect of e mail and causes stakeholders difficulty in beginning a dialogue. Social networks ease the


45 path to two way dialogue including analysis of the social networks Twitter and Facebook in the study served to quantify CSR communication efforts through new and emerging channels. Social networks provide effective avenues for enacting two way communications. Providing the ability to immediately comment on a shared story through a social network is fundamental in fosterin g relationships with stakeholders (Walker et al., 2010). Social networks can be a tool for organizational communication in sport and other industries for their relationship building and interactive natures (Waters et al., 2010). The two way communication a spect of social networks allow unfiltered and unprecedented access for fans in sport, an industry commonly seen as restricted (L. Grunig, J. Grunig, & Dozier, 2002; Wallace, Wilson, & Miloch, 2011). For this reason, on the recommendation of Walker et al. ( 2010), Facebook and Twitter, two of the largest social networks, were included for data collection and analysis. Organizationally, websites are an important tool for the dissemination of CSR related communications. Sport organizations use websites to keep stakeholders informed as well as create a location for fan interaction and relationship management (Walker et al., 2010; Waters et al., 2010). Additionally, research indicates that organizational websites allow stakeholders to feel empowered when t hey trust the source of the information. Sport, through fandom, is able to maintain a high degree of credibility with stakeholders, websites being an important communication channel for sport governing bodies in terms of reputation and image management ove r the long term (Ciletti et al., 2010).


46 Organizations Selected for Study This study sought to collect data regarding these various channels of sport communication from four different professional motorsports race organizations, each with a distinct set of stakeholders, to create a baseline for research of CSR communication in motorsports. These four organizations are NASCAR IndyCar the NHRA and the AMA, all of which are based in the United States and operate primarily in North America. When discussin are considered synonymous. communication channels, e newsletter, website, Facebook and Twitter which were dimensions, economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic, presented the best opportunity to collect and analyze data regarding motorsports organizations. Addit ionally, the dimensions of CSR fit with the findings of Walker et al. (2010) philanthropic and community based efforts as the predominant dimension s of CSR in sport to date. The population was chosen on the presupposition that while much of CSR is volunt ary, governing bodies in sport generally set the precedent for participating teams and athletes through examples and policies (Natural Resources Defense Council, 2012). The league can also offer larger, coordinated programs that gain national attention and fit the wide ranging definitions of CSR. These programs are often heavily communicated by organizations for their marketability, image building properties, or as a defense of reputation if their image is questioned (Walker et al., 2010).


47 Operational Definitions operational definitions. The universe is defined as all the messages created by an organization through official organizational websites, e newsletters, Twitter account s, and Facebook organizational tweet, post, or story, such as a web article or the beginning of an article which is initially found in an e potentia lly continued in another section of the website. The total number of messages distributed each day was collected, and CSR related messages were assigned more than one of Car annotated as present and the message count remained unaffected to preserve the total number of CSR messages. To collect data, the researcher selected official websites, Facebook pages, and next higher organizational level that represented that series. Furthermore, the researcher signed up for e the Facebook Location information regarding each of these channels can be found in Table 3 1. where messages were found is necessary. First, the home pages were reviewed in order to locate areas in which new messages were commonly aggregated. Then, the specific areas where new messages were routinely found on each of the specific sites


48 were analyzed for new messages, CSR and non CSR messages alike. These areas are: (a) NHRA News, an area of new, revolving feature stories on the home page. (b) IndyCar homepage with headlines as well as full video cli ps with featured stories. Thumbnails and captions provided the CSR indicators in the case of multimedia. (c) NASCAR Headlines, Features, and multimedia, sections designed to update fans on important news within the organization. (d) AMA Pro Racing Lat est News & Series Updates, prominent areas on the Finally, these areas were scrutinized for messages indicating organizational CSR o prominently displayed within the identified area). Data collection occurred over a seven week period from December 1, 2012 to J anuary 18, 2013, encompassing daily visits websites, Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as coll ection of e newsletters through e mail checks Coding Coding is important in content analysis and a detailed coding sheet is necessary to ensure both reliability and validity (Krippendorff, 1980). Coding examples were drawn from previous research regardin g CSR both in sport and out, providing as comprehensive a list of terms as possible (Ameer & Othman, 2012; Sheth & Babiak, however, they first were categorized according to their origin by both communication channel and organization. For example, if a message first appeared through an


49 network site and links to its website, it w as categorized as a social network message, Twitter or Facebook and by organ ization. Messages were then examined whenever possible in a dichotomous or trichotomous manner as to whether or not CSR was present, if the message was complete, when interaction was identified with regard to social networks, and for overall tonality of s takeholder interaction. Dichotomous and trichotomous coding were used in an attempt to create exhaustive categories (Wimmer & Dominick, 2011), meaning, for example, if no mention of CSR, the message required no additional data collection. If CSR was mentio ned the process was continued until all options were exhausted. Interaction applied to the two way dialogue offered through social networks (Waters et al., 2010), as in when stakeholders such as fans comment on Facebook posts or respond or retweet organi zational tweets through Twitter. The measurement of tonality was limited to social network messages due to lack of access to e newsletter responses by the researcher. E mail responses and messages sent to organizations from fans are not publicly available making analysis of two way communication prohibitively difficult. In order to study the freq uency of CSR communication (RQ8A ), and whether or not approval of these messages by stakeholders leads to an increase of them, the date and time of organizational Facebook and Twitter posts were collected and measured. For example, as messages related to CSR were documented, so too were the frequency and tonality of the messages and subsequent feedback. If two way dialogue had taken place (i.e. a fan had commente d or replied), the researcher assumed the time period between messages would decrease as the organization concluded that fans


50 found the topic to be important, interesting or otherwise newsworthy enough to respond. Collecting data in this way provided evide nce of whether or not organizations increase or decrease CSR messages based on stakeholder interest. Further, measuring the tonality of feedback was important to determine if any effect on the frequency of messages could be found. To discern the tonality o f fan feedback (RQ8B ), any response to an organizational social network post was recorded as: (a) positive, (b) neutral, or (c) negative (Scheafer, 2007). For example, if NASCAR posted a Facebook comment regarding the restriction of emissions beyond curr ent legal requirements, 30 the post and no fans reacted to the message in the form of a text reply to the post, the post was considered posit ive. However, if five fans replied to the post in a neg ative tone, and one fan responded in a positive tone, the overall tone was assigned a value of negative. Likes and comments, along with replies and retweets, could not be compared as they are not equal. C urrent academic research has not addressed the issue. Non organizational comments wer e only collected as feedback of social network activity and remarking that NASCAR do es nothing but pollute the environment, but the tweet did not originate as a response to an official organizational post, that message was not coded. Additionally, prominence was documented, referring to the location of information on an organizational website and how it was displayed. Generally, information the organization deems important


51 and ultimately aid the organization in communicating significant information (Ciletti et al., 2010). All of the leagues were static du ring the data collection period, meaning none of the four organizations were conducting races during that time. This inactivity was thought to create an opportunity for additional CSR messages to fill the void of race results and event related information. executives as being most associated with CSR, ethical and philanthropic (Sheth & Babiak, 2010) Therefore, additional sub cataloging took place when either of these two dimensions was present. If the ethical dimension was applied during coding, two additional questions were asked: Is the message associated with environmental protection, or does the message relate to sustainability? If the philanthropic dimension was present, messages were further assessed as to whether or not the more specific theme was monetary donation, non monetary donation, or a form of volunteerism Walker et al. (2010) used six categories to measure CSR ; (a) mo netary charitable events (i.e., donations of money), (b) non monetary charitable events (i.e., donations other than money), (c) volunteerism (i.e., time & effort), (d) recognition events (i.e., honoring outstanding achievement), (e) community appreciation (i.e., events to honor community), and (f) social awareness promotion (i.e., raising awareness for social, environmental, or health causes). For the purpose of this study, the first three categories, (a), (b), and (c) were adapted defi nition of p hilanthropy, while (d) to (f) would seem to collapse into the ethical


52 dimension (i.e., going above and beyond the legal requirement to raise awareness for social, environmental, or health causes). urther reported the economic and legal dimensions as least associated with CSR ; therefore, this study was unlikely to obtain enough results on these two dimensions to analyze any sub trends. The economic dimension, however, has been shown to be important f or communities and the sport organizations within them. Generally, sport organizations have a large impact on the community financially, making the economic dimension of CSR relevant to this study and necessary for inclusion The complete coding sheet can found in the Appendix Data R eliability Finally, data reliability was ensured through a second coder analyzing 10% of the dimension: (a) Economic, (b) Legal, (c) Ethical, an d (d) Philanthropic, as influenced by the independent variables of (a) Organization and (b) Channel, were thoroughly explained to the second coder in a training process complete with definitions, examples, and thematic elements. Communications regarding t he economic dimension of CSR were explained as those having a long term positive financial effect on the organization, typically found as an organizational strategic partnership or sponsorship. CSR communications identified as legal were related to governa nce issues, eithe r meeting a legal requirement or implementing policies an d procedures that meet a legal requirement. An example of this type of CSR would be the organization communicating that emission s standards were met. Ethical messages were those found to go above legal requirements and promoted


53 ideas and initiatives such as safety, diversity, and sustainability. Finally, the philanthropic dimension was explained as charitable giving with examples related to monetary, no n monetary, and volunteerism. Intercoder reliability was found to be 99 % with a 10% random sample (n = 120) of organizational messages. The data collection period closed after seven weeks (49 days), cataloguing a total of 1,186 unique messages generated b y the four organizations through website, social networks and e newsletters. It should be noted that halfway through data collection (January 3, 2013), NASCAR www.NASCAR.com Th e change did not affect data collection.


54 Table 3 1. Sources of organizational messages Organization AMA IndyCar NASCAR NHRA Facebook www.facebook.com/AMAPr oRoadRacing?ref=ts&frf=ts www.facebook.com/ i ndycar?ref=stream www.facebook.com/ NASCAR www.facebook.com/ N HRA?ref=stream Newsletter AMA Newsletter IndyCar Email Pace Lap Nitro News Twitter @AMAProSBK @IndyCar @NASCAR @NHRA Website www.amapro racing.com www.indycar.com www.nascar.com www.nhra.com


55 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS This chapter presents the results of the study as they relate to the research questions and hypothesis, as well as highlights additional findings that may warra nt discussion in C hapter 5 It will first report a descriptive statistical overview, followed by data related to the hypothesis and research questions. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPS S, version 21) was used for data analysis. When possible descriptive tables and cross such as chi square and ANOVA to determine statistically significant relationships between variables. An Overview of Organizational Communication Research question 1 a asked what emphasis motorsports organizations placed on CSR communication as opposed to other observed messages. In answer to RQ1A t he m otorsports organizations studied place little emphasis on CSR communicat ions as they accounted for less than 5% of al l observed messages. In total, 1,186 messages were ana lyzed o ver the seven week study and 56 were found to contain dimensions of CSR. CSR messages accounted for 4.7 % of the 1,186 messages generated by motorsports o rganizations. As shown in Table 4 1, the channel used most frequently was Twitter comprising the largest perce ntage of messages at 42.9 % (n = 509), followed by Facebook posts accounting for 26.8 and multimedia generated 24.9 % (n = 295) of the rem aining organizational communication, and e newsletters returned the fewest messages, with 5.4% (n = 64) of the total.


56 Cross tabulation s of channel by organization found statistical significance between the variables ( 143.512, 9 df, p < .0 1). Further cross tabulations of CSR mentions by channel and organization identified significance of AMA Road Racing (p < .00), IndyCar (p < .03 ), and the NHRA (p < .02 ). All but NASCAR (p > .06 ) were significant based on Chi Square results (See Table 4 3) Research q uestion 1b asked to what extent professional motorsports organizations communicated CSR through e newsletters, websites, and social networks. In answer to RQ1B m otorsports organizations generated the major ity of their CSR messages, 53.6 % (n = 30), through websi tes. Twitter accounted for 23.2% (n = 13) of CSR messages and Fac ebook provided 21.4 % (n = 12) E new sletters accounted for only 1.8 % (n = 1) of all CSR messages. The social networks of Twitter and Facebo ok combined to account for 44.6 % (n = 25). T able 4 2 presents these statistics. By organization, IndyCar contributed the largest percentage o f CSR messages, generating 32.1 % (n = 18) of the 56 CSR messages, or 4.1 438 messages. NASCAR generated 31.3 % (n = 18) of all CSR messages, 4. 9 % of the generated 30 .4 % (n = 17) of CSR d AMA Road Racing generated 5.4% (n = 3) of CSR messages, 1.9 % of their 159 messages. No statistical signific ance was found between CSR mentions and the four channels studied. The sample messages with CSR mentions (56) proved too small to determine the statistical significance of organization by channels.


57 Dominance of the Philanthropic Dimension This study hypothesized that the communication of philanthropic initiatives by motorsports organizations would comprise the highest number of social responsibility communications. The collected data supported the hypothesis, as the majorit y of CSR related messages, 5 3.6 % (n = 30 of 56), involved the mention of philanthropy. Philanthropic messages were found more often than all other CSR dimensions combined. Philanthropy was further divided into three sub categories in order to answer additional research questions; w hat portions of CSR messages identified as belonging in the philanthropic dimension are related to charitable monetary donation, non monetary donation, and volunteerism specifically? In answer to RQs three through five, v olunteerism accounted for 63.3 % (n = 19) of the philanthropic messages, the greatest portion of the three sub categories M essages regarding monetary contribution accounted for the second highest number of philanthropic messages, 23.3 % (n = 7). CSR messages related to non monetary con tri butions accounted for just 13.4 % (n = 4), fewest of the philanthropic messages. In other words, the majority of CSR messages belonging to the philanthropic dimension deal with volunteerism and the minority deal with donations, whether monetary or non monet ary. Of the 56 total CSR messages, volunteerism made up 33.9% (n = 19 of 56), the largest amount of any CSR sub category. M onetary contribution messages made up 12.5% (n = 7 of 56) of CSR messages and non monetary contribution messages accounted for 7.1 % (n = 4 of 56).


58 Ethical Messages of Sustainability and Environmental Protection Research questions five and six centered on the ethical dimension of CSR, asking to what extent motorsports organizations produce CSR messages that indicate improving sustainab ility or environmental protection In answer to RQs five and six, t he ethic al dimension accounted for 33.9 % (n = 19) of all CSR rel ated messages, or the second highest of the four CSR dimensions, but very few sustainability and environmental protection me ssages. Sustainability and environmental protection were mentioned only once each by motorsports organizations, 10.5% of ethical messages or 5.3 % (n = 1) each. Messages categorized as sustainability or environmental protection were not found to the extent originally assumed. Further, when taking into account all messages collected, sustainability and environmental protection made up less than .1 % ( n = 1 of 1,186) of all messages. These dimensions often make up some of the more contentious is sues in motorsp orts and w ill be discussed thoroughly in Chapter 5 Messages identified as ethical messages were primarily focused on topics such as safety and diversity. Comparisons to Similar Study Research question seven asks what similarities and differences exist bet ween professional motorsports organizations and the results found in previous study of other professional sports organizations such as the NFL, NBA, NHL or MLB in the communication of CSR? To answer research question seven both this study and Walker et a l. (2010) found sport o rganizations do communicate CSR and that philanthropy i s the most dominant form of communicated CSR. The studies differed slightly in design, as previously mentioned, and in the results of sub categories of philanthropy. Walker et al ( 2010) found monetary charitable events to be the most


59 dominant form of philanthropy, 40.3% of all CSR mentions, while this stud y found volunteerism to be 63.3 % of the CSR messages related to philanthropy Fur thermore, Walker et al. found non monetary ch aritable donation as the second most dominant philanthropic category, occurring 14.3% of the time, and volunteerism occurring third most, 12.6% of the time. This study found monetary charitable donation the second most favored form of philanthropy, occurri ng 23.3 % of the time and non monetar y donation occurring least, 13. 3% of the time. Over the three month period Walker et al. (2010) spent cataloging messages from various teams in professional baseball, football, hockey, and basketball, 231 articles with in e newsletters were identified as CSR related. The number of CSR articles differ greatly from the number of CSR messages identified in this study, which was less than one quarter of the number articles returned a 29% rate of CSR me 4.7 % of messages mentioning CSR. Additionally, the study by Walker et al. ( 2010) identified ethical concerns deemed (1991) ethical dimension. Both of these dimensions, ethical and philanthropic, make up the overwhelming majority of CSR being 87.5% (n = 49) of the total compared to 100% of Walker et al. (2010). Finally, this study included the economic and legal dimensi pyramid. The p revious study did not measure these dimensions. The similarities and differences will be discussed in greater detail in Chapter 5


60 Two Way Communicat ion Timing and Tonality Research question 8a inquired as to whether or not participation by motorsports organizations in two way communication with Facebook fans and Twitter followers regarding CSR increased the frequency of organizational CSR communicati on In answer to research question 8a, when analyzed by week, two way communication did not seem to affect the frequency of CSR messages, regardless of tonality. Statistical analysis, however, was not possible due to sample size. The four motorsports organ izations generated 827 messages via the social networks of Fac ebook and Twitter, of which 3 % (n = 25) were CSR in nature with no discernable frequency patterns Across organizations from weeks one through seven, the following CSR related messages per wee k were found: (a) week one, seven; (b) week two, six; (c) week three, three; (d) week four, one; (e) week five, zero; (f) week six, four; and (g) week seven, four, for a total of 25 CSR messages. In other words, there was less than one CSR message, per org anization, per week. Frequencies of CSR related messages as a proportion of all messages per week were: (a) one in 25, (b) one in 24, (c) one in 34, (d) one in 64, (e) zero in 76, (f) one in 33, and (g) one in 42. In other words, from weeks one to two, an increase of CSR messages was identified, followed by decreases in weeks three and four, to zero messages in week five, and an increase in messages in week six followed by a decrease in the final week of data collection. These results are summarized in Ta ble 4 4 and indicate that two way communication does not affect the frequency of organizational CSR communication. All but one social network message (a NASCAR


61 message via Twitter) had some form of two way communication during the time data were collected By organization, NASCAR and the NHRA both generated an average of one CSR related message per week using social networks, or, seven messages over seven weeks. IndyCar generated slightly more than one CS R related message per week (1.3 ). AMA Road Racing generated less than one CSR message p er week (an average of .3 ). Research question 8b further delves into the two way communication process by asking about the tone of feedback regarding CSR messages through the organizational social networking sites of Twitter and Facebook In answer to research questions 8b, o f the 25 CSR related messages found through social network analysis 76% (n = 19) generated comments that were positive and 16% (n = 4) were neutral. Of the remainin g 8 %, 4%, or one comment feedback was negative and 4%, one CSR message, was categorized as having no feedback. Table 4 5 includes data related to the tonality of social network feedback. Other Results Though not directly represented by research questions, the economic and legal dimensions of CSR were also found in the communications of motorsports organizations. Economic mes sages accounted for 10.7% (n = 6 ) of CSR messages and .5% of all messages, while legal messages were 1.8% (n = 1) of CSR messages and .1% of all messages. Ec onomic messages were produced by three of the four organizations, IndyCar NASCAR and the NHRA each generating two messages. AMA Pro Road Racing, having generated the fewest CSR messages, did not produce any messages


62 considered economic in nature. Pri marily, economic messages referred to sponsor and partnerships at the league level, indicatin g long term financial stability. Examples of such messages include sponsorship of the NHRA s extended agreement with Feath erLite inc., or Fu sponsorship of IndyCar The legal dimension of CSR was hardly mentioned, with one NASCAR message collected from the website indicating the enforcement of trademark and copyright infringement during the previous racing season. One way anal ysis of variance (ANOVA) performed on the frequency of CSR messages by orga nization was not significant ( 3 df, F = 2.19, p = .142). Additional coded messages referencing CSR would increase the amount of data for specific ethical dimensions, potentially cre a ting more significant results.


63 Table 4 1 Message s and CSR message counts by organization and channel Organization E Newsletter Facebook Twitter Website Totals AMA 3/0 72/1 55/1 29/1 159/3 % AMA 1.9% 45.3% 34.6% 18.2% 100% IndyCar 51/1 96/4 212/5 79/8 438/18 % IndyCar 11.7% 21.9% 48.4% 18.0% 100% NASCAR 0/0 66/2 174/5 131/11 371/18 % NASCAR 0% 17.8% 46.9% 35.3% 100% NHRA 10/0 84/5 68/2 56/10 218/17 % NHRA 4.6% 38.5% 31.2% 25.7% 100% Total 64/1 318/12 509/13 295/30 1,186/56 Table 4 2. CSR dimension breakdown by channel Dimension E Newsletter Facebook Twitter Website Totals Economic 0 1 2 3 6 % 0% 8.3% 15.4% 10% 10.7% Legal 0 0 0 1 1 % 0% 0% 0% 3.3% 1.8% Ethical 0 4 5 10 19 % 0% 33.3% 38.5% 33.3% 33.9% Philanthropic 1 7 6 16 30 % 100% 58.4% 46.1% 53.4% 53.6% Total 1 1 2 13 30 56 % 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%


64 Table 4 3 Cross Tabulation s of CSR mentions by Channel and Organization Organization E news Facebook Twitter Website Totals p AMA 3 72 55 29 159 > .00 Std. Residual 1.9 4.5 1.6 1.7 % Channel 4.7% 22.6% 10.8% 10.0% 13.4% IndyCar 51 96 212 79 438 .02 Std. Residual 5.6 2.0 1.8 2.9 % Channel 79.7% 30.2% 41.6% 27.0% 36.9% NASCAR 0 66 174 131 371 .06 Std. Residual 4.5 3.4 1.2 4.0 % Channel 0% 20.8% 34.2% 44.0% 31.3% NHRA 10 84 68 56 218 .01 Std. Residual .5 3.3 2.6 .5 % Channel 15.6% 26.4% 13.4% 19.0% 18.4% Total 64 318 509 295 1,186 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% Table 4 4 Social network CSR m essages as a frequency of messages per week Week AMA IndyCar NASCAR NHRA Mean 1 0 in 15 1 in 14.8 1 in 61 1 in 22 1 in 25 2 0 in 22 0 in 46 1 in 28 1 in 3.75 1 in 24 3 0 in 19 1 in 23 0 in 17 1 in 16 1 in 34 4 0 in 11 0 in 22 0 in 12 1 in 15 1 in 64 5 0 in 13 0 in 24 0 in 20 0 in 14 0 in 76 6 1 in 12.5 1 in 20 0 in 33 0 in 28 1 in 33 7 0 in 22 0 in 56 1 in 10.25 0 in 42 1 in 42 Table 4 5 Tonality of Social Network Feedback Frequency Valid % Cumulative % Positive 19 73.0% 73.0% Neutral 5 19.0% 92 .0% Negative 1 4.0% 96 .0% None 1 4.0% 100.0% Total 26 100.0%


65 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION This study was designed as an exploration of the communication of corporate social responsibility in professional sport through owned and social networks It used the theoretical framework of stakeholder theory to explore the idea of fandom, examining how a diverse group of motorsports organizations communicate their CSR activities across a variety of organizational platforms. Its findings are relevant to the body of public relations knowledge, public relations practitioners, and communicators in professional motorsports. The final chapter of this study dis cusses the results reported in Chapter 4 to analyze the findings and apply them to previous research and to practice. The analysis includes conclusions and recommendations for the practice, ultimately leading to a discussion of the limitations of the study and opportunities for future research. Discussion of Results First and foremost, the motorsports org anizations studied, at the pinnacles of their respective racing disciplines, are not communicating CSR initiatives at a volume that would suggest they are of great importance to sport executives or senior managers. The deeper reasoning for the lack of CSR communication may stem from the presumption by senior managers, as Sheth and Babiak (2010) outlined that sport executives find it difficult to define CSR and implement its communication. That ambiguity seems to be evident as a lack of CSR communications, possible disregard of and a lack of response by the organizations to fan comments Furthermore, m otorsports organizations often scrutinized for a lack of responsiveness to environmental issues (


66 While a first step for the U.S. race leagues may be the implementation of CSR programs focused on environmental issues to lessen the scrutiny, the second step would need to be the communication of s uch efforts. The organizations, however, must convey that CSR related initiatives will not be at the further expense of loyal fans (Bernthal & Regan, 2001) while accomplishing these environmentally related objectives Nationally and globally these organiza tions seem to continue on a course that is slow to change, lagging behind other professional sport organizations. What Motorsports Organizations Communicate Regarding CSR Findings suggest that CSR does have some place in professional motorsports, as evidenced by the messages found throughout the seven week study. Similar to the study by Walker et al. ( 2010), messages regarding philanthropy made up the greatest portion of CSR related commun ication. Philanthropic CSR The dimension of philanthropy was sub categorized into three types, monetary, non monetary, and volunteerism. These types of philanthropy differed from the findings of the previous study in that volunteerism was found most often and not charitable monetary donation. IndyCar (2013) led the race for philanthropy, generating half of the philanthropic messages found and using three of the four channels to communicate them. Many of the messages f ocused on volunteerism with regards to drivers visiting children in the hospital or assisting charitable or ganizations during the holidays. O thers indicated charitable donations from events or calendar proceeds. eerism, wherein race car


67 drivers such as Charlie Kimball and Graham Rahal donated their time at a food bank to fill backpacks with food for children. However, other philanthropic messages, such as the example indicating a calendar would be sold for charit y by IndyCar were not as well received by fans. Facebook calendar The NHRA (2013) and NASCAR (2013) also generated several messages of philanthropy, though not as many as IndyCar combined. Both organizations stakeholders worked prominently in their off seasons, volunteering with the USO and military to take drivers outside the U.S. to meet troops whi le deployed. Similarly, NASCAR and NHRA drivers visited children in hospitals as another form of philanthropic volunteerism in addition to generating messages reg arding charitable monetary donations. AMA Pro Road Racing (2013) generated a single message coded as philanthropic when communicating with regard to an athlete taking passengers on It is possible these results are due to the timing of this study in that each of the organi and that athletes and race teams were looking for ways to continue to interact with their fans in the absence of competition. Motors ports athletes are well connected with their fans, and race teams generally provide as many opportunities for interaction during a season as possible. During motorsport events, for example, fans are allowed into the team paddock areas wher e athletes and cr ews are set up. While there, fans can watch practices and maintenance, and even meet and talk


68 with the athletes. As previously discussed, certain fans even feel that they can impact ., 2005). This is often not so during events in MLB, the NFL, the NHL or the NBA, as fans are separated from the athletes and contact is strictly scrutinized. Motorsport fans are given l of interaction then spill s over during volunteer events with motorsport athletes to not only provide more fan engagement but also increase the potency of volunteerism efforts. Social networks can further improve this interaction, regardless of the sport in that they break down many of the barriers to communication between fans and athletes ( may help increase the philanthropy efforts of the organization. Whether i t be philanthropic volunteerism or philanthropic charitable donation, athletes can drive fan participation during these initiatives simply by being involved with the efforts and using social networks to inform fans and solicit participation. One recommendation, therefore, would be to enc ourage athletes participating in CSR events to connect with the organization via social networks whenever the opportunity to garner volunteers and bolster support presents itself. Philanthropy has been shown to be the largest of sport CSR initiatives communicated not only in studies using content analysis, but also in studies using other research methods, such as the mixed method survey. Sheth & Babiak (2010) surveyed executives working in professional baseba ll, football, and others sports and found t hat sport executives rated philanthropy highest among CSR initiatives: This could be explained by the connection of the sport team to the community, and its reliance on fans to attend games and otherwise support the team. Thus, reaching out to a community through philanthropic efforts generates interest in a team and builds a fan base. These fans, in turn, may


69 be more likely to follow the team and become life long fans, which may affec t purchasing decisions. (p. 442) Further, these executives believed in th e strategic nature of CSR: executives. Respondents stated that there was a need to strategically use organizational funds and resources to help the community in which they operate d and that CSR could be used to advance business interests (Sheth & Babiak, 2 010, p. 445) showed that the philanthrop ic dimension was the largest topic of sport CSR communication complemented findings of these previous works. Bas ed on all findings, it should be considered a strong hypothesis that organizations in professional sport participate in and communicate about philanthropy as their predominant CSR dimension. It is not a stretch of the imagination to hypothesize that sport executives believe economic and legal activities do not fall under the dimensions of CSR, and that philanthropy and ethics do (Sheth & Babiak, 2010). These beliefs could be the reason philanthropy, and behind it ethics, are heavily communicated in terms of CSR, and why the economic and legal dimensions are not. Economic and legal CSR This study found little communication regarding economics and legal issues, further support of a hypothesis regarding the economic and legal dimensions of CSR. In fact, only one message in the entire data set was legal in nature, NASCAR enforcing copyright and trademark infringement (NASCAR 2013) A second recommendation, therefore, is to provide training on the various theories related to CSR for communication practitioner s in sport and motorsports in order to improve their understanding of the subject.


70 Training will allow sport executives to improve communication of the economic and legal dimensions of CSR as well as garner support for philanthropic and ethical initiative s. Training must include instruction on topics such as subjects of emphasis, timing of the communication, and the contextualization of potentially contentious issues. There may be certain times for organizations to focus on the communication of some dimens ions of CSR over others. Further, the determination must also be made as to which channel is used. Leagues might prefer to emphasize their work in and around the community instead of economic prosperity, in order to strengthen local support and avoid pote ntially sensitive subjects. For example, an organization may operate in an economically depressed neighborhood or city, making discussion of financial prosperity in sports a contentious topic. It is possible that communication of the economic dimension may in fact create hostility toward the organization if this is the case. Governing bodies are oft en regional or national in size and less likely to be affected in this case. Individual teams, however, are often locally supported and would do well to heed thi s example. It is also feasible that certain stakeholder groups prefer tailored messages that are possible through e newsletters and e mail, as opposed to the indiscriminate methods of social networks. While every message sent by an organization should be c onsidered public, contextualizing the dimensions of CSR and choosing the delivery method may help to mitigate potential conflict in order to facilitate a balance between stakeholders, Thorough planning and


71 The belief that economic and legal initiatives are not CSR might also be held by researchers, as Walker et al. (2010) (199 1) pyramid. This study found at least some mention of economic and legal CSR, on sponsorship at both the team and league levels. This study found the majority of econom ic messages to be related to new and renewed sponsor partnerships, ensuring at least a degree of financial security through the immediate future. The sole mention of copyrighted mate (NASCAR 2013) CSR, but not why executives believe economic and legal dimensions have little to do with CSR. Since CSR is still a concept without clarity, it more than likely has to do with misconceptions regarding CSR and a lack of CSR education in the field. Communicating an economic benefit to the community, or a long term partnership, could certainly help generate additional c ommunity support, as other groups may be encouraged to join in an effort in which other, successful entities are already participating. Scholars and practitioners generally agree that CSR is necessary and useful, yet they have very different definition s of what CSR is and how it should be done (Sheth & Babiak, 2010). Ethical CSR Diversity, for example, meets both a business need and has ethical implications. There is great potential for motorsports to benefit from diversity, even in the most basic of busin ess cases. The most obvious of which is by allowing diversity initiatives to open the organization to new and untapped markets. NASCAR is the only organization of


72 the four motorsports organizations that appears to have diversity issues (Sartore Baldwin & Walker, 2011). The NHRA has long supported women and minority drivers while the AMA teams employ a variety of international riders and crew. IndyCar shares many of its best with the international league Formula 1 and is well known abroad. Perhaps even m ore importantly, sports themselves have been shown to be inseparable from their fans in character (Sartore Baldwin & Walker, 2011) and have seven features of sport specificall y include the opportunity to foster diversity. Regardless of how diverse an organization becomes, race teams and leagues are still traveling around the world, using resources that could be allocated elsewhere (Lewis, 2010). D iversity must be balanced with other ethical issues and within the larger context o f CSR. discuss environmental concerns, such as sustainability or environmental protection in a manner consistent with h ow contentious the topics are. The ethical dimension of CSR ranked second behind philanthropy, in large part due to the communication of safety and diversity issues. Organizations like NASCAR for instance, championed their 2013). produced several messages fitting within the ethical dimension. One in particular, the B.R.A.K.E.S. teen safe driving school stood out having a closely related mission with the NHRA The program, started by an NHRA driver after his two sons were killed in an auto accident,


73 uses NHRA facilities to train and educate teens about safe and responsible driving. Big names in the motorsports industry from a variety of different organizations instruct teenage drivers on a closed course, helping them to avoid hazards and reduce distracted driving beyond traditional driving schools (BRAKES, 2013). The NHRA prominently displayed the B.R.A.K.E.S. acronym at the top of their home page, tee n safe made its third visit of the year to Fairplex at Pomoa home of Auto Club Raceway at Pomona Dec. 15 16 to conduct it s free Teen Pro Active Driving School; 160 teens got behind the wheel for hands on training 2012). Save the lone ethical message of sustainability by NASCAR wherein the organization included a small graphic proclaiming the use of a more environmentally friendly fuel (NASCAR 2012), no other mention of sustainability or environmental protection was found. A lack of environmental communication could be evidence that motorsports organizations attempt to downplay certain a spect s of CSR since they may be the closest thi ng to a lose lose situation the organizations face. In other words, the organizations would not communicate ethical CSR initiatives if they had few initiatives to communicate. Some in the environmental indust ry believe sport helps steward environmental issues into the public purview and allows fans to play an active part in improving the environment (Zaleski, 2012). Further, Bradley Short (2011) argues that NASCAR can improve responses to sustainability effor ts through correct framing, discussing what is to gain, and not what is to change. These journalists and others believe race organizations should do more in terms of environmental protection, even though NASCAR as an


74 example, is doing some work to improv e the environment. NASCAR leads recycling efforts and oil clean up, but has done little besides implementing a slightly improved fuel as far as efficiency and emissions are concerned (Guevarra, 2011). Another recommendation, therefore, is to follow previo us successful models and advocate the benefits of sustainability in order to build trust with fans. Championing the benefits of a sustainable organization may help to move the program through the stage of awareness, to acceptance and possibly attitude chan ge. Further, those communications should occur across communication channels such as those studied: websites, Facebook Twitter, and e newsletters. How Motorsports Organizations Communicate CSR With regard to how the organizations communicated CSR, the re sults were largely expected, but not assumed. Twitter generated the most messages in aggregate, which is logical considering the brevity of messages due to size restriction. Facebook was also strongly active in comparison to the more one way communication channels of websites and e newsletters. Social network communication The two way communications methods of Facebook and Twitter allow fans to respond, enabling a public conversation that provides additional stakeholders the opportunity to join in the dialogue. These interactions have the potential to work either in favor of the organization or against it, depending on how the organization fr ames and communicates the topic. Take for example the AMA Pro Road Racing (2013) Facebook post concerning


75 likes, the message gave the organization the opportunity to continue the dialogue by beyond legal requirements, displays a well received ethical dimension of CSR and correspon ding two way communication. The AMA Road Racing (2013) case is heavily contrasted by one in which NASCAR (2013) attempted to start a dialogue regarding diversity by using Facebook rs with ties to the best (Mingus, 2013). Of course those were not the only comments; there were more than 70 garnered for that post, and almost 1,000 likes were also collected, indicating that opinions might be split on the subject. The heterogeneous responses speak to a certain diversity that is already present I never thought a sport like NASCAR would give way to this diversity crap convey that perhaps NASCAR did not correctly judge its stakeholders relationships or commitments to the Drive for negative feedback, perhaps by putting the dive rsity subject in a more passive


76 communication status (i.e. not using social networks). Diversity is a necessary and worthwhile issue, chiefly in NASCAR wherein diversity has been by and large non existent (Sartore Baldwin & Walker, 2011) NASCAR execut ives need to develop through communication plans for a topic such as this, and just as importantly address concerns when they arise. ( Sheth & Babiak, 2010). It is important to note that in the NASCAR diversity example, this study found no organizational response addressed fans comments. If NASCAR had provided the aforementioned contexts of business case for diversity, or the moral and ethical obligations of creating opportunities for minorities, the organization might have changed many of the attitudes of fans. Future uses of social networks should evaluate the effectiveness of two way communication, monitoring and continuing to participate as necessary. Web page usage to communicate CSR Home pages were found to have the largest numb er of CSR messages. But, regardless of whether messages were found though e newsletters, social networks, or home pages, more than 80% of CSR messages found included links to the the complete story. Two of the motorsports organizations, NASCAR and the NHRA appeared to place their CSR information in dedicated areas. Furthermore, they used home pages and other website resources to communicate their CSR programs such as NASCAR Gree n, NHRA in the community, and the aforementioned NASCAR Drive for Diversity. NASCAR and the NHRA have designed areas of their website to aggregate CSR content, while using home page links, social networks, and e newsletters to generate awareness of thos e stories and give fans the opportunity to follow links to


77 additional content. IndyCar and AMA Pro Racing did not appear to have CSR web pages or links to charitable organizations for example the Indy Family Foundation, even though they did communicate va rious dimensions of CSR. Although not in the purview of this study, organizational fan base, at least those fans with access to social networks, may be an indicator of how sophisticated program is. NASCAR and the NHRA maintain the largest numbers of Fans & Followers, far surpassing IndyCar and AMA Pro Road Racing. Similarly, NASCAR and the NHRA generated the highest percentages of CSR messages. NASCAR enjoys ten times the Fans & Followers of the NHRA which has more than double the amount of fans IndyCar and AMA Pro Road Racing possess. It is reasonable to believe that organizations such as IndyCar and AMA Pro Road Racing are interested in growing their brands to compete with that of NASCAR and to a lesser extent the NHRA management, albeit with additional research, is a plausible first step for the smaller organizations of IndyCar AMA Pro Road Racing, and to some extent the N HRA Therefore, a fourth recommendation is that motorsports organizations use linked messages over various channels to an aggregating web page designed for CSR stakeholders is possible if market research is not thorough or if senior leadership does not believe in the merits of the communicated program.


78 Communication of positive CSR efforts generally have a correspondingly positive effect on stakeholder intentions toward the organization (Alniacik et al., 2010). Failure to c onduct CSR activities and communicate CSR efforts however, can lead to unnecessary risk and exposure to crisis situations (Kim, 2011), opening an organization up to activism or protest (Birth, Illia, Lurati, & Zamparini, 2006). It is therefore restated tha t motorsports organizations should train executives on the potential strategic merits of CSR, and develop their communications resources, making CSR information searchable, easily accessible, and aggregating. Findings indicate at least an attempt to use or ganizational channels to support CSR related communications. Stakeholder implications Ultimately, CSR efforts and the communications of them are driven by stakeholder support at all levels. Regardless of how CSR is defined or what traits might be relevant to many of the definitions, it is important to understand the desired results of effectively communicating CSR activities. CSR communications affect multiple stakeholders. These programs require the commitment of top management, motorsports athletes, fans, race team owners, and a host of other stakeholder groups in order to be successful. In that way, communicated CSR efforts that meet the expectations of those stakeholder groups can assist in attracting and retaining employees (Glavas & Piderit, 2009), dra wing potential new race team owners ( 2007), and in reputation management (Birth et al., 2006; Clark, 2000). Sport is somewhat unique in that organizations and teams often share revenue, but players are often held accountabl e for their own actions both on and off the field. CSR activities can therefore act as reputation management when players


79 Once more, CSR is strategic. From a public relations perspective, stewardship (Kelly, 2001) can se rve to strengthen fan loyalty and identity, which might then be used to create awareness for CSR initiatives. At the very least, organizations should use their social networks to participate in the dialogues they create, addressing fan concerns and strengt hening relationships. Practitioners should use corresponding fan identity to turn awareness into acceptance and eventually into attitude and behavioral change. Limitations and Future Research may seem straightforward, the operational definitions of CSR dimensions and tonality remain subjective in nature (Wimmer & Dominick, 2011), even if thoroughly researched and assessed by a second coder. There will always exist some amount of interpretation Along those lines, what constitutes a message itself is somewhat arbitrary. With new media such as Facebook and Twitter it is fairly simple to identify individual organizational messages, but the task becomes more difficult when viewing the more dynamic and complex home pages of popular sport organizations. Choices made as to the timing of the study and the organizations that were studied may have also affected results. The timing of the study seemed to be opportune in investigating whether or not CSR is even a topic of conversation for motorsports organizations, based on league dormancy. However, an alternative time period may produce different results. During the fall, each of the leagues is finishing its season and potentially generating additional o rganizational communication. E newsletters provide an example of the potential amount of reduced communication in the winter, while the leagues were inactive. Few e newsletters were received from the organizations, of which many more are likely to be gener ated when race results are discussed. In


80 communicators look to balance the conversation of racing with messages of ethical and philanthropic endeavors. Sample size might also hav e been a limitation of this study, as more powerful statistical analysis was not possible given the small percentage of CSR related results. It was a goal of this study to determine what portion of organizational communications are dedicated to CSR, which was accomplished, but more CSR related results might have increased statistical significance. Finally, this study adjusted the model provided by Walker et al. (2010) to account ating the original study focused on race teams, instead of race organizations, may have changed the results of the study. Similarly, using the six categories of CSR developed by Walker et al. may also affect results though those results may not have the t heoretical cornerstone provided by Carroll (1991) (1991) pyramid to survey CSR in sports in order to create a benchmark of study with which to compare longitudinal results. As often the case in academic re search, this researcher sees how the limitations of his own study may create opportunities for others. Since an exploratory study such as this creates multiple opportunities for future research, a logical next step is to design a qualitative study guided b they are. Additional ly, other qualitative research might survey fans of motorsports as to studies on this study as a foundation for motorsports research in CSR would give


81 practitioners insight into not only how and why motorsports organizations communicate, but how fans feel about the topics organizations choose to highlight Throughout this study it has become mor e apparent that each of the dimensions of CSR are inter related, perhaps one reason Carroll (1991) argued that the CSR pyramid is not meant as a hierarchy. Future research examining the idea that the dimensions of CSR are inter related would add to the CSR body of knowledge as a whole, building theory for later scholars and practitioners. By presupposing that e ach of the CSR dimensions support one another, researchers could study how the dimensions act in unison to improve and strengthen the organization, the industry, and society as a whole. Legal enforcement of licensing agreements effects economic stability; help to stabilize the eco nomic bottom line. Essentially, one could work towards support of the statement that all other CSR dimensions tie back into the economic dimension, the econo mic dimension feeding into the others. Whether support comes from compliance with safety standards (legal), looking to improve diversity (ethical), or strengthening awareness and fandom through volunteerism (philanthropic), all four dimensions are connected. Still another avenue for future research would be remaining with quantitative methods, perhaps r epeating this study but more closely following the team level approach in gathering organizational messages and operational definitions of CSR found in Walker et al. (2010) Further, t his study could easily be expanded to incorporate other leagues and asso ciations (Major League Soccer, Major League Lacrosse, the Professional Bull Riders Association, and Ultimate Fighting


82 Championships), or shifted to different social networking sites su ch as Instagram and Pinterest. Additionally, a s previously mentioned, sc holars could change the time period in which they collect data to compare differences. There are few directions in which this line of research cannot go. Conclusion In conclusion, this study helps to expand the knowledge of sports communication and provide s evidence as to how motorsports organization communicate CSR to stakeholders through a variety of channels. Findings show that philanthropy and ethical initiatives are communicated more often than economic and legal initiatives in motorsports, indicating commonality across sport in general. Stakeho lders within sport can range wi d e ly in their opinions, however, particularly the ambiguous group known as fans. Fans are quick to use two way communication channels to criticize the organization when the message fit is not appropriate, and just as quick to applaud behavior they see as worthwhile. While CSR is thought to be absolutely good from a moral and ethical perspective, the strategic impacts should always be considered. Managers, as the agents of stakeholde rs, must consider all stakeholder groups and balance performance with responsibility, the economic with the philanthropic; profit and nonprofit alike. CSR is an essential component of business and communication strategy which must be well researched and we ll implemented by trained communications practitioners.




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94 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Dan Churchill is a product of Southern Californi a, graduating from California State University serving as a Public A ffairs Officer in the U.S. Army he chose to pursue an advanced degree in public relations with the hopes of finding gainf ul employment afterward. His interests include sports and corporate communication, travel and tourism, as well as hand to hand origami.