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Article
Publication date: 22 March 2013

Giacomo Boesso, Kamalesh Kumar and Giovanna Michelon

The purpose of this study is to investigate whether the descriptive, instrumental, and strategic approaches to corporate social responsibility (CSR) are related to…

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5146

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate whether the descriptive, instrumental, and strategic approaches to corporate social responsibility (CSR) are related to corporate performance (CP) and to determine the nature of this relationship, if any.

Design/methodology/approach

Using data collected by KLD Research Analytics and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the study examines the association between companies' choice of approaches to the CSR and CSR‐CP relationship.

Findings

Results of this study indicate that each of the three approaches to CSR – descriptive, instrumental, and strategic – are associated with CP, but in different ways. While the instrumental approach to CSR has a positive association with short‐term measures of CP, the strategic approach is associated with short‐term and medium‐term measures of CP, and the descriptive approach has no definite association with CP at all.

Originality/value

This study integrates the prevailing justifications for CSR with the taxonomy of approaches to CSR – instrumental, descriptive and strategic – suggested in the literature. It has been argued that these frameworks influence managers' conception of what constitutes effective stakeholder management and make a difference in how decision makers in an organization think and act in crafting the company's social initiatives and in deciding what the company aims to achieve through these initiatives. By examining the association between companies' approaches to CSR and stakeholder management of the CSR‐CP relationship, the study offers another perspective of the ongoing debate in the social accounting literature about the accountability relationships between business and society.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 26 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 25 January 2019

Annamaria Tuan, Daniele Dalli, Alessandro Gandolfo and Anastasia Gravina

The authors have systematically reviewed 534 corporate social responsibility communication (CSRC) papers, updating the current debate about the ontological and…

Abstract

Purpose

The authors have systematically reviewed 534 corporate social responsibility communication (CSRC) papers, updating the current debate about the ontological and epistemological paradigms that characterize the field, and providing evidence of the interactions between these paradigms and the related methodological choices. The purpose of this paper is to provide theoretical and methodological implications for future research in the CSRC research domain.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors used the Scopus database to search for titles, abstracts and related keywords with two queries sets relating to corporate social responsibility (e.g. corporate ethical, corporate environmental, social responsibility, corporate accountability) and CSRC (e.g. reporting, disclosure, dialogue, sensemaking). The authors identified 534 empirical papers (2000–2016), which the authors coded manually to identify the research methods and research designs (Creswell, 2013). The authors then developed an ad hoc dictionary whose keywords relate to the three primary CSRC approaches (instrumental, normative and constitutive). Using the software Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count, the authors undertook an automated content analysis in order to measure these approaches’ relative popularity and compare the methods employed in empirical research.

Findings

The authors found that the instrumental approach, which belongs to the functionalist paradigm, dominates the CSRC literature with its relative weight being constant over time. The normative approach also belongs to the functionalist paradigm, but plays a minor yet enduring role. The constitutive approach belongs to the interpretive paradigm and grew slightly over time, but still remains largely beyond the instrumental approach. In the instrumental approach, many papers report on descriptive empirical analyses. In the constitutive approach, theory-method relationships are in line with the various paradigmatic traits, while the normative approach presents critical issues. Regarding methodology, according to the findings, the literature review underlines three major limitations that characterize the existing empirical evidence and provides avenues for future research. While multi-paradigmatic research is promoted in the CRSC literature (Crane and Glozer, 2016; Morsing, 2017; Schoeneborn and Trittin, 2013), the authors found no empirical evidence.

Originality/value

This is the first paper to systematically review empirical research in the CSRC field and is also the first to address the relationship between research paradigms, theoretical approaches, and methods. Further, the authors suggest a novel way to develop systematic reviews (i.e. via quantitative, automated content analysis), which can now also be applied in other literature streams and in other contexts.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

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Book part
Publication date: 15 June 2020

S. M. Ramya, Fong T. Keng-Highberger and Rupashree Baral

Business and society have been known to be interlinked by a thread called sustainability. However, over the years, this thread has lost its strength because of the…

Abstract

Business and society have been known to be interlinked by a thread called sustainability. However, over the years, this thread has lost its strength because of the dominance of an instrumental perspective towards corporate sustainability (CS). Literature shows that there are innumerable tensions around CS decisions and propose several reasons why decision-makers predominantly resort to the instrumental perspective (CS as a mean) rather than the intrinsic perspective (CS as an end) when addressing these tensions. In this chapter, the authors offer a novel solution to overcome this issue by adapting the existing definition of moral imagination (MI) from the business ethics domain to the CS domain with the help of climate science literacy and mental models of climate phenomena. The authors posit that practicing this adapted MI can facilitate decision-makers to move from the instrumental perspective to adopt an intrinsic perspective through integrative and paradox approaches when handling tensions in CS decisions. The authors contribute to the broad field of sustainability by proposing a conceptual framework that links MI to the intrinsic perspective of CS decisions. This chapter not only offers several theoretical contributions and future research directions but also posits that the empirical verification of this framework can offer much-needed insights to managers and policy-makers to combat one of the significant threats to the survival of our planet, climate crisis.

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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2017

Christiane Marie Høvring

The debate on corporate social responsibility (CSR) as shared value creation is trapped between management scholars and business ethics scholars, focusing merely on the…

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2494

Abstract

Purpose

The debate on corporate social responsibility (CSR) as shared value creation is trapped between management scholars and business ethics scholars, focusing merely on the distribution of values from an outcome-oriented perspective. The result is a juxtaposition of shared value from either a corporate or a societal perspective, providing only little attention to the actual communication processes supporting the creation of shared value. The purpose of this paper is to re-conceptualize shared value creation from a communicative approach as an alternative to the current situation caught between the management and societal perspectives.

Design/methodology/approach

Building upon recent constitutive models of CSR communication, this conceptual paper explores the potentials and implications of re-conceptualizing shared value creation as an alternative approach that recognizes the tensional interaction processes related to shared value creation.

Findings

The paper suggests a new conceptualization of shared value creation, which is sensitive to and able to advance the understanding of the tensional and conflictual interaction processes in which the continuous negotiation of corporate and stakeholder interests, values and agendas may facilitate a new understanding of shared value creation.

Practical implications

In order to succeed with the shared purpose of creating shared value (CSV), the company and the multiple stakeholders should neither disregard nor idealize the interaction processes related to shared value creation; rather, they should acknowledge that processes filled with tensions and conflicts are prerequisites for CSV.

Originality/value

A re-conceptualization of shared value creation that provides an alternative approach that is sensitive toward the tensions and conflicts occurring between corporate voice and multiple stakeholder voices.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

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Article
Publication date: 30 October 2018

Pradeep Kautish and Rajesh Sharma

The purpose of this paper is to study the underlying relationships among two distinct forms of consumer values, namely, instrumental and terminal values, fashion…

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4216

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study the underlying relationships among two distinct forms of consumer values, namely, instrumental and terminal values, fashion consciousness and behavioural intentions in the context of online fashion apparel retail sector.

Design/methodology/approach

A conceptual model and subsequent measurement scale were developed, grounded on in-depth review of the extensive literature and validated with customers engaged in online shopping of fashion apparels. The model was empirically examined, and a total of 395 responses were gathered from an online survey administered at a northeastern university in India. The model was validated using structural equation modelling, and a two-step approach suggested by Anderson and Gerbing (1988) was used to evaluate the measurement and structural models for the research.

Findings

The results of the study indicate that instrumental and terminal values significantly affect fashion consciousness, and fashion consciousness has a significant impact on behavioural intentions as well. The research brings out that fashion consciousness acts as a partial mediator between instrumental/terminal values and behavioural intentions. It is noteworthy that compared to terminal values instrumental values display a greater influence on both the variables fashion consciousness and behavioural intentions.

Research limitations/implications

The conclusion of present research will notably assist the fashion retailers, online marketing researchers and experts understand the importance of terminal and instrumental values in increasing fashion consciousness, leading to strategically design campaigns for promoting and instigate consumers’ positive behavioural intentions in the best interest of the online fashion retail sector.

Practical implications

The study results provide suggestions for competitive marketing strategies for online fashion companies operating in the emerging markets like India.

Originality/value

The present study is first of its kind attempt to use Rokeach’s (1973) two-dimensional measure of human values, in order to discover the terminal and instrumental values relationship and their influence on fashion consciousness and behavioural intentions in the online fashion retail industry.

Details

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 46 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-0552

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 29 December 2020

M. Karim Sorour, Philip J. Shrives, Ahmed Ayman El-Sakhawy and Teerooven Soobaroyen

This paper seeks to investigate to what extent (and why) CSR reporting in developing countries reflect instrumental and/or “political CSR” motivations and the types of…

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2156

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to investigate to what extent (and why) CSR reporting in developing countries reflect instrumental and/or “political CSR” motivations and the types of organisational legitimacy sought in these circumstances.

Design/methodology/approach

We adopt a theoretical framework based on neo-institutional theory, “political CSR” framework and types of organisational legitimacy. This interpretive research is set in the Egyptian context post-2011 revolution. We first carry out a content analysis of web disclosures for 40 banks in 2013 and 2016 to ascertain the nature of CSR activities and any changes over time. Second, we draw on 21 interviews to tease out the implications of the change in societal expectations due to the revolution and to deepen our understanding of the organisational motivations underlying CSR reporting.

Findings

Following the 2011 revolution, the banks’ CSR reporting practices have gradually shifted from a largely instrumental “business-case” perspective towards a more substantive recognition of a wider set of societal challenges consistent with a political CSR perspective. Overall, the maintaining/gaining of legitimacy is gradually bound to the communication of accounts about the multi-faceted socially valued consequences or structures performed by banks. Our interview data shows that participants reflected on the legitimation challenges brought by the revolution and the limits of transactional strategies involving traditional constituents, with a preference for pursuing consequential and structural forms of moral legitimacy.

Research limitations/implications

This study demonstrates a constructive shift by businesses towards engaging with the new social rules in response to sociopolitical changes and the need to achieve moral legitimacy. Hence, policymakers and stakeholders could consider engaging with different economic sectors to foster more transparent, accountable, and impactful CSR practices.

Originality/value

We highlight the implications of Scherer and Palazzo’s political CSR approach for accountability and CSR reporting. CSR reporting in some developing countries has typically been seen as peripheral or a symbolic exercise primarily concerned with placating stakeholders and/or promoting shareholders’ interests. We suggest that researchers need to be instead attuned to the possibility of a blend of instrumental and normative motivations.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 34 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 18 February 2019

Johanna Jauernig and Vladislav Valentinov

The theoretical understanding of CSR is caught on the horns of the dilemma between the ethical and instrumental approaches. The strategic turn in CSR has brought the…

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1694

Abstract

Purpose

The theoretical understanding of CSR is caught on the horns of the dilemma between the ethical and instrumental approaches. The strategic turn in CSR has brought the dilemma to a new head. The purpose of this paper is to develop a novel argumentative strategy to address the dilemma.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper weaves together the insights from the literatures on sociological institutionalism, organization theory, business ethics and institutional economics to elaborate the distinction between CSR communication and CSR action that is actually undertaken and visible to stakeholders. This distinction is at the core of the “hypocrisy avoidance” approach which puts the above dilemma in a new light.

Findings

According to the “hypocrisy avoidance” approach, the CSR communication constitutes a competitive arena where corporations are looking for reputational gains. Competitive pressures give rise to an inflationary dynamics of the CSR communication which consequently runs up against credibility problems. These problems are addressed by the real CSR policies which legitimate the corporate employment of the CSR communication as an instrument of competition.

Practical implications

The theoretical dilemma between the ethical and instrumental approaches manifests itself in the justification of skepticism toward CSR communication. This skepticism, which may be to the detriment of a corporation’s license to operate, may turn out to be a driving force of CSR action.

Social implications

Despite the charges of corporate hypocrisy, CSR communication may play a role in the alleviation of business-society tensions. This role is however subject to two limitations. First, if CSR communication is used as instrument of competition, it is unlikely to translate into CSR action perfectly. Second, corporations would likely prioritize more visible CSR actions over less visible ones.

Originality/value

The novel implication of the “hypocrisy avoidance” approach is that CSR actions present credible commitments or “hostages” enabling the productive interaction between corporations and their stakeholders. This implication integrates some of the components of the ethical and instrumental approaches, while drawing inspiration from the institutional economics and institutional ethics literatures.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Article
Publication date: 15 January 2020

Steffen Roth, Vladislav Valentinov and Lars Clausen

This paper aims to probe the limits of the empirical-normative divide as a conceptual framework in business ethics.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to probe the limits of the empirical-normative divide as a conceptual framework in business ethics.

Design/methodology/approach

A systems theory perspective debunks this divide as a false distinction that cannot do justice to the conceptual complexity of the field of corporate social responsibility (CSR) scholarship.

Findings

Drawing on the systems-theoretic ideas of Niklas Luhmann and the “Laws of Form” by George Spencer Brown, the paper shows that the divide may be dissected into a four-cell matrix constituted by two other distinctions-descriptive vs prescriptive and categorical vs hypothetical-the latter of which was seminally suggested by Donaldson and Preston (1995).

Practical implications

The emerging four-cell matrix is shown to centrally embrace the multiplicity of normative, empirical and instrumental approaches to CSR. This multiplicity is exemplified by the application of these approaches to the phenomenon of CSR communication.

Social implications

A more general implication of the proposed argument for the field of business ethics is in tracing the phenomena of moral diversity and moral ambivalence back to the regime of functional differentiation as the distinguishing feature of the modern society. This argument drives home the point that economic operations are as ethical or unethical as political operations, and that both economic and political perspectives on ethical issues are as important or unimportant as are religious, artistic, educational or scientific perspectives.

Originality/value

In contrast to the empirical-normative divide, the perspective is shown to centrally embrace the multiplicity of normative, empirical and instrumental approaches to CSR.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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Article
Publication date: 20 June 2008

Kosheek Sewchurran

The primary purpose of this paper is to present an alternative approach to educate information systems project practitioners. An alternative to the prescriptive, model…

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1034

Abstract

Purpose

The primary purpose of this paper is to present an alternative approach to educate information systems project practitioners. An alternative to the prescriptive, model based, instrumental approaches is sought. The alternative approach presented in this paper focuses largely on imparting a discourse to equip students with an understanding of how communication occurs, how competences are acquired, and how to understand the influences of power and agency on themselves and others in a typical information systems project context.

Design/methodology/approach

A conceptual approach is followed. First, Heidegger's ideas are used to demonstrate the flaws inherent in assumptions that claim we interact in project management contexts in rational, and instrumental ways. Second, the paper argues that Cockburn's concepts, which are traditionally used as a theoretical lens to understand agile software development practices, are a good approximate to Heidegger's concepts to impart reflexive learning skills. Finally, the concept of a discourse is used to package the instrumental tools, reflexive learning skills and related concepts to understand communication, and the acquisition of competence.

Findings

There are many parallels that can be drawn between the dilemmas, which face the project management community, and the ideological debates about agile versus monolithic approaches, for which the software development community is infamous. Additionally, Heidegger's motivation for defining the fundamental ontology of dasein is similar to the motivation given by the research community to understand actual project experiences.

Research limitations/implications

This approach has only been tried at one institution thus far; hence, there are only two semesters of teaching experiences at one institution on which to reflect.

Practical implications

The paper advances the dilemma related to project practitioner education to a point where action can be taken. Educators can use the ideas presented in this paper to revive undergraduate project management education programs both in information systems and other disciplines.

Originality/value

The original value is two‐fold. First, there is a presentation of an alternative approach to educate information systems project practitioners that holds the promise of making the experience more true to life; thereby, rendering the experience more fulfilling for the practitioner. Second, the paper uses Heidegger's fundamental ontology to show the consequence of imparting the ideals of instrumentality rationality in a true to life manner. This discussion highlights some of the effects contemporary educational approaches have on retarding competence and competency development.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 1 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Book part
Publication date: 1 December 2009

Lorne Cummings and Chris Patel

This chapter examines the literature surrounding stakeholder theory. Section 2.2 outlines the nature of what is a stakeholder, whereas Section 2.3 overviews the literature…

Abstract

This chapter examines the literature surrounding stakeholder theory. Section 2.2 outlines the nature of what is a stakeholder, whereas Section 2.3 overviews the literature on social accounting and reporting and details how it served as an antecedent to the specific literature on stakeholder management. Section 2.4 covers the mainstream literature on stakeholder management by examining the three distinct categories of stakeholder literature as outlined by Donaldson and Preston (1995): (1) descriptive; (2) instrumental; and (3) normative. The normative category includes a discussion on how the theory's fundamental aspects have been rejected outright by some authors, as a basis for a theory of the firm, due to the perceived paradox in relation to the firm's multi-fiduciary duty beyond the shareholder. Section 2.5 summarises the literature to date and outlines its main limitations, including the primary emphasis on seeking to normatively ground the theory. Section 2.6 then provides the conclusions with a table summarising the research objectives and outcomes.

Details

Managerial Attitudes toward a Stakeholder Prominence within a Southeast Asia Context
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-255-5

1 – 10 of over 26000