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In the public debate, companies are confronted with conflicting expectations regarding their responsibility. An inconsistent understanding of the responsibility of…
In the public debate, companies are confronted with conflicting expectations regarding their responsibility. An inconsistent understanding of the responsibility of corporations may affect the acceptance of corporate actions. The purpose of this study is to take this observation as a starting point and to analyze corporate responsibility assessments of different actors.
In the course of two online surveys conducted by a polling institute at the end of January 2017, 1,003 German citizens were asked about their expectations concerning the responsibility of corporations. One survey was mainly focused on clothing manufacturers, the other one on banks. Moreover, a content analysis of nationwide German quality newspapers aims at showing the media perspective. By using an extensive combination of keywords, 1069 articles were analyzed for the period from 1 January to 31 December 2016. The coding revealed 345 relevant articles containing 717 responsibility-related judgments.
Overall, the systematic comparison of both perspectives show differences between societal perspectives and therefore presents an explanation for conflicting expectations concerning the responsibility of corporations.
The measurement of judgments on responsibility is a complex endeavor. Findings may be limited due to an extensive coding process and a restricted comparability of the two surveys and the content analysis. Moreover, findings are focused on clothing manufacturers and banks only.
A focus on responsibility assessments delivers a deeper understanding of different perspectives concerning the responsibility of corporations in the public debate.