Mapping corporate social responsibility research in communication: A network and bibliometric analysis

Yi Grace Ji, Weiting Tao, Hyejoon Rim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Corporate social responsibility (CSR) exhibits irrefutable practical and theoretical importance to the field of communication. However, limited efforts have been made by communication scholars to review the progression of knowledge construction and project prospects for theory development in this area. Informed by the social construction of knowledge and invisible college frameworks, this study conducts co-authorship and co-citation network analyses on CSR literature in communication. The sample included 290 peer-reviewed articles published between 1980 and 2018 across 61 communication journals. The 9,288 foundation publications and 4,596 unique publication sources referenced by these articles were also analyzed. Results of this study reveal limited collaborations among researchers with expertise in and outside the communication discipline or across different communication sub-disciplines. The results also show a substantial influence from management and marketing perspectives on the invisible college of CSR research in communication. Moreover, the results of three longitudinal network models display the patterns of structural evolution of the scholarly collaboration and foundation literature networks, showing a maturing process of CSR knowledge construction in communication. Taken together, this study stimulates future CSR research in that it helps locate the knowledge base that may inspire new research fronts and the areas of vacancies that serve as promising venues for the discovery of CSR knowledge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101963
JournalPublic Relations Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.


  • Bibliometric analysis
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Invisible college
  • Knowledge diffusion
  • Network analysis


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