The term “social responsibility” bears different meanings among nations. Most studies on corporate social responsibility are conducted in Western countries, and literature shows a dearth of scientific research on the subject in developing countries. Meanwhile, the public sector, with its essential role in national development and social welfare, has been the focus of limited studies on social responsibility. In Iran, as a developing country, the concept of social responsibility has not yet found its rightful place inside organizations and companies. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to design a multi-level social responsibility model in the Iranian Social Security Organization (SSO), the largest public organization in the country.
In this paper, the thematic analysis was used along with interpretive structural modeling (ISM) to design a multi-level social responsibility model in a specific context. It was a field survey with 20 open interviews. The direct relationships between variables of different levels, identified via thematic analysis and ISM, were investigated in a study population of 510 SSO stakeholders using structural equation modeling (SEM).
In the designed model, service improvement and optional and voluntary activities variables were identified in the first level; economic and financial activities in the second level; political activities and education and research variables in the third level; and finally, laws and regulations, organizational components and organizational culture variables were identified in the fourth level. The results of SEM revealed the direct influence of all lower-level variables on their higher level counterparts, except the influence of laws and regulations on political activities. Based on the results, organizational components had direct effects on education and research (ß = 0.630), and political activities (ß = 0.341), the variable of organizational culture affected education and research (ß = 0.176) and political activities (ß = 0.613), the variable of political activities affected economic and financial activities (ß = 0.633), the variable of education and research affected economic and financial activities (ß = 0.381), the variable of economic and financial activities affected service improvement (ß = 0.925) and optional and voluntarily activities (ß = 0.877) and the variable of laws and regulations affected education and research (ß = 0.151).
The research results showed that social responsibility was a dynamic and context-based phenomenon, which should be used in accordance with the Iranian organizations and national conditions. According to the results, a qualitative research plan can give new insights into social responsibility through the phenomenological constructivism approach. Policymakers could perceive the subject better and take more effective actions by identifying the activities of social responsibility at the Iranian SSO from the perspective of key stakeholders and analyzing the interplay between them.
This model is the first designed and developed at the Iranian SSO by considering the expectations of major stakeholders affecting the SSO. Another advantage of this model is the use of qualitative approaches in model development, which increased integrity of the proposed model. Dimensions of the model showed the main bottlenecks hindering the realization of SSO responsibilities. Finally, this study recommends to the empirical researchers of social responsibility to consider the institutionalized conditions of every society in their work.
Damoori, D., Alhosseini Almodarresi, S. and Jafari, S. (2020), "Conceptualization of a multi-level social responsibility model in the public sector: A mixed-methods approach", Journal of Modelling in Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JM2-06-2019-0141Download as .RIS
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