Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Studies (Communication)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Don W. Stacks - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Donn James Tilson - Committee Member

Third Committee Member

Diane M. Millette - Committee Member


Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has grown rapidly during the past 50 years both in academia and industry. Corporate social responsibilities initiatives are composed of economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic responsibilities, such as producing quality products, treating employees fairly, and involving in local community. Corporate philanthropic disaster response is a common form of CSR practice and its communication to the public is normally achieved by public relations function. This study focused on how local Chinese and multinational companies in China communicated their disaster relief initiatives after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Quantitative and qualitative content analysis was conducted of sampled press releases regarding the Sichuan earthquake on corporate websites in terms of their communication techniques and corporate philanthropic disaster response presented. Comparisons were made between local Chinese and multinational companies operating in China and it was concluded that local Chinese and multinational companies presented more differences than similarities in the purpose of press releases, type of disaster relief efforts, partnership with outside organizations, multimedia elements, and supplementary information. By understanding these differences in corporate philanthropic disaster response presented online, this study had implications for governments and non-profit organizations to better motivate businesses to participate in the disaster relief efforts. Limitations of the study and recommendations for future research were included.


Corporate Disaster Response; Corporate Social Responsibility; Online Communication