Semester of Graduation

Spring 2020

Degree

Master of Mass Communication (MMC)

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

In today’s society, businesses are tasked with fulfilling their corporate objectives while acting responsibly on behalf of the communities where they operate. This is often achieved through the implementation of corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices, which includes community relations. This qualitative study examines the extent that the chemical industry in south Louisiana executes community relations among the residents living in the shadows of its facilities. Perspectives from area residents of the chemical industry and its community relations practices are also analyzed to provide insight from the stakeholder view. Specific focus is given to companies found within Louisiana’s industrial corridor, also colloquially referred to as Cancer Alley.

This study uses social responsibility and stakeholder theories, as well as the situational theory of publics as a framework to analyze research findings. Data suggests that companies’ community relations practices, which range from philanthropic endeavors to employee volunteerism, are not universally accepted by local community stakeholders. Specifically, the perceived health and environmental impacts of plant emissions have fostered negative attitudes and opinions of the chemical industry’s practices. Based on these findings, the study culminates with a list of recommendations for PR practitioners to engage in effective community relations that support stakeholders’ needs.

Committee Chair

Broussard, Jinx C.

Available for download on Wednesday, March 31, 2021

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