The purpose of this paper is to introduce the notion of social responsibility skepticism (SRS) and demonstrate its importance to the existing social responsibility literature. Stakeholder-emphasizing perspective (STEP) and shareholder-emphasizing perspective (SHEP) are tested as independent constructs that both serve to reduce skepticism. SHEP, STEP and SRS are shown to be interrelated but independent ideas.
The study is based on a primary questionnaire survey of managers. Multivariate regression analysis is used for analysis, level of management is a moderating variable and age and gender are control variables.
Managers who accept either the shareholder emphasis or the stakeholder emphasis have lower social responsibility skepticism. STEP and SHEP appear to be two independent constructs that both serve to reduce skepticism, although STEP is slightly more effective. The relationship is stronger for STEP managers and for higher level managers.
Findings may be influenced by the existing political or business milieu. Findings on the moderating effect of level of management and age may reflect generational differences. Changes in gender roles may also affect findings.
Acceptance of management theories oriented either toward a stakeholder perspective or a shareholder perspective is associated with less skepticism. The legitimacy and value of each perspective should be acknowledged.
Managers require support for decisions taking social responsibility into account. This study demonstrates that grounding in stakeholder theory or shareholder theory can reduce SRS.
This study introduces the new concept of SRS and provides a scale to measure this new variable. New scales are also provided for SHEP and STEP. Both perspectives negate tendencies toward SRS.
Paul, K., Elango, B. and Kundu, S. (2019), "Social responsibility skepticism: shareholder and stakeholder perspectives", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/SRJ-08-2018-0194Download as .RIS
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