Emotional framing of NGO press releases: Reformative versus radical NGOs

Tulin Dzhengiz, Ralf Barkemeyer, Giulio Napolitano

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Drawing on the literature on framing, we explore the emotional framing differences in radical and reformative NGOs over time. We analyse the sentiment of a sample of 5880 press releases issued by five NGOs positioned differently on the reformative-radical spectrum and examine how they address large companies. Our findings reveal an increasing polarisation of sentiment in these NGOs' framing, with individual NGOs gravitating towards ideal-type radical or reformative positions, respectively. In alignment with the differences in their framing, we observe differences in their approaches to cross-sector partnerships. Policymakers need to note the implications of the observed polarisation for the effectiveness and credibility of cross-sector partnerships and multi-stakeholder initiatives more generally, given the risk of co-optation (for reformative NGOs) as well as the risk of foregoing significant funding and governance opportunities (for radical NGOs).
Original languageEnglish
JournalBusiness Strategy and the Environment
Early online date2 Mar 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Mar 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • cross‐sector partnerships
  • framing
  • NGO‐business relationships
  • radical NGOs
  • reformative NGOs
  • sentiment analysis


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