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Exploring the responsiveness of companies: corporate social responsibility to stakeholders

Katherine Trebeck (Research Fellow based at the Centre for Public Policy for Regions, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK)

Social Responsibility Journal

ISSN: 1747-1117

Article publication date: 1 August 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to highlight practical manifestations of CSR and limitations of company responsiveness following these realities.

Design/methodology/approach

Empirical research into responsiveness of miners to Australian Indigenous communities, alongside exploration of corporate history and composition. A range of sources was utilised, including participant interviews and quantitative data. The paper begins by discussing the primacy of commercial interest in CSR, then gives an example of responsiveness. It concludes with implications for those wanting to influence corporate behaviour.

Findings

Empirical evidence generated a definition of CSR as responsiveness. The case study illustrated how the more communities influence corporate operating parameters, the more potent their demands in the eyes of management. A link to the financial bottom line is needed. In corporate response to social expectations, three factors are relevant: expectations of corporate behaviour; a shift in how communities articulate their expectations; and increased stakeholder capacity to affect corporate operations. How a company responds is, in turn, determined by conditions including culture and market pressures.

Practical implications

Unless a business benefit from responsiveness is established, companies will deploy effort and resources elsewhere. Communities must maintain vigilance, so companies are compelled to consider communities – their ability to do so is contingent on leverage over the company.

Originality/value

Setting aside the normative debate over moral responsibilities that might be applied to companies, and adopting an understanding of CSR that reflects observed patterns of action and inaction, the paper highlights corporate motivations and predicts company actions, revealing crucial parameters and levers useful for those wanting to influence corporate behaviour.

Keywords

Citation

Trebeck, K. (2008), "Exploring the responsiveness of companies: corporate social responsibility to stakeholders", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 4 No. 3, pp. 349-365. https://doi.org/10.1108/17471110810892857

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited