Public Relations for Social Responsibility: Affirming DEI Commitment with Action
Pompper, D. (Ed.) (2021). Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Communicating Responsible Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion series.

This edited collection will bring together leading scholars of public relations, communication management, (corporate) social responsibility, sustainability, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to offer critique and map new overlapping arenas for discovery. It will set the tone for Emerald Group Publishing’s new Communicating Responsible Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion series that will advance a collective goal of eliminating bias/discrimination from organizations and other public spaces and amplifying the virtues of equality and respect among humans and for all species as a responsibility of public relations when enacting the insider activist role.

The time is right for this book and series. Globally, macroaggressions and hate crimes persist, as violence against immigrants, girls, women, African Americans, Muslims, Jews, and LGBTQ community members have risen significantly in the U.S. in recent months (Southern Poverty Law Center, 2017). The U.S. is not alone in this failure to authentically and fully embrace respect diversity, equity, and inclusion. According to The Business Roundtable, a group of CEOs of nearly 200 major U.S.-based corporations, the “purpose of a corporation” has shifted. Where once “shareholder profit” ruled, now “investing in employees, delivering value to customers, dealing ethically with suppliers and supporting outside communities” are the drivers of American business goals (Fitzgerald, 2019). Moreover, nonprofit organizations dedicated to DEI recognize the delicate balance of accepting corporate funding without compromise.

As the first in the new series, this book will add a much-needed contribution to global understanding of intersections among DEI with social responsibility to enable public relations practitioners and organizations (corporations and nonprofits) to take lip service to the next level. Specific and detailed recommendations for praxis have been missing among most social responsibility and DEI research. To be authentic, DEI must be a component of social responsibility and sustainability. It must lead to positive change. The public relations practitioner, as insider-activist and ethics guardian, is the logical point person to infuse DEI-thinking in policies, decision making, and everyday life throughout organizations.

Abstract proposals should address an important themed area such as:

  • Legal and Economic Frameworks Thwarting Authentic Social Responsibility and DEI – This unit will include chapters that offer critique and tangible examples of ways that legal structures and Capitalism support hegemony which prevents an authentic embrace of DEI and action to reverse decades of organizational homophily.
  • Unique Social Responsibility Style of Women and People of Color Managing Organizations – This unit will include chapters that offer successful outcomes of social responsibility and public relations interplay as evidenced by social identity dimension intersections among organizational leadership.
  • Expanding Social Responsibility Critique to Include Non-Human Stakeholders and the Natural Environment When Considering DEI – This unit will include chapters that reconceptualize “social responsibility” beyond stakeholder groups traditionally addressed by public relations theorists. Authors will interrogate DEI to include “animal” rights issues and environmental risk aversion.
  • Increasing and Improving Public Relations Skill Sets Necessary for Marshalling Authentic DEI as Social Responsibility in Organizations – This unit will include chapters that offer new theory and case studies for paths to help public relations practitioners move forward in authentically navigating organizations toward DEI. These are skill sets required for public relations practitioners to take action as insider activists.
  • Step 1: Submit 250-word abstracts for chapter proposals. In addition to the abstract, please include a brief statement of qualifications (just a paragraph, please). Abstracts are due by September 1, 2020. Email to with subject: <PR for Social Responsibility>.
  • Step 2: Authors of selected proposals will be notified October 1, 2020 and invited to send a full chapter for review (word count TBA). Chapter drafts due January 1, 2021. Step 3: Authors of chapters selected for inclusion will be notified by April 1, 2021 with feedback for revision. Final chapter drafts are due by July 1, 2021.
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