Understanding the motivations for CSR is the focus of this week’s articles.
Unpacking the drivers of CSR
The question of what drives corporate social performance (CSP) has become a vital concern for many managers and researchers of large corporations. This study addresses this question by adopting a multilevel, multistakeholder, and multimethod approach to theorise and estimate the relative influence of macro (national business system and country), meso (industry), and micro (firm-level) factors on CSP.
Applying three different methods of variance decomposition analysis to an international sample of 2060 large public companies over a time span of 5 years, the results show that firm-level factors explain the largest proportion of variance in aggregate CSP as well as CSP oriented toward communities, the natural environment, and employees. These results support the hypotheses, according to which CSP is not primarily driven by macrolevel or mesolevel factors, except for shareholder-oriented CSP, which is relatively more influenced by country-level factors.
As a whole, these findings also point to the value of subdividing CSP into its stakeholder-specific components as this disaggregation allows for a more careful examination of distinct drivers of distinct aspects of CSP.
Marc Orlitzky, Céline Louche, Jean-Pascal Gond and Wendy Chapple (2017). Unpacking the Drivers of Corporate Social Performance: A Multilevel, Multistakeholder, and Multimethod Analysis.
Journal of Business Ethics, 144(1), 21–40.
Towards understanding stakeholder partnership in CSR
Management and business literature affirm the role played by stakeholders in corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices as crucial, but what constitutes a true business–society partnership remains relatively unexplored.
This paper aims to improve scholarly and management understanding beyond the usual managers’ perceptions on salience attributes, to include how stakeholders can acquire missing attributes to inform a meaningful partnership. In doing this, a model is proposed which conceptualises CSR practices and outcomes within the frameworks of stakeholder salience via empowerment, sustainable corporate social performances and partnership quality.
A holistic discussion leads to generation of propositions on stakeholder salience management, corporate social performance, corporate–community partnership systems and CSR practices, which have both academic and management implications.
Michael O. Erdiaw-Kwasie, ￼Khorshed Alam and Md. Shahiduzzaman (2017). Towards Understanding Stakeholder Salience Transition and Relational Approach to ‘Better’ Corporate Social Responsibility: A Case for a Proposed Model in Practice.
Journal of Business Ethics, 144(1), 85–101.
Strategic outcomes in voluntary CSR
Although existing research evaluates the growth and motivations behind global corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity, there is little understanding whether these growing commitments generate strategic benefits to their adherents.
In this article, the authors analyse the organisational attributes that underlie the firm’s ability to generate competitive advantage from the adoption of a global CSR framework. Authors Arevalo and Aravind develop hypotheses on economic and reputational benefits and test whether firm performance, organisational resources, and access to business and CSR networks determine these benefits in CSR frameworks.
Results from a survey of 213 Spanish global compact business participants strongly support the authors’ arguments.
Jorge A. Arevalo and Deepa Aravind (2017). Strategic Outcomes in Voluntary CSR: Reporting Economic and Reputational Benefits in Principles-Based Initiatives.
Journal of Business Ethics, 144(1), 201–217.
Do customers prefer companies that split donations equally between domestic and foreign recipients or donate only at home or abroad?
In our globalised and interconnected world, companies are increasingly donating substantial amounts to good causes around the globe. Many companies choose to donate “at home” while others give to causes in faraway places where recipients are in dire need of support.
Interestingly, past research on corporate donations has neglected the question of whether consumers differentially reward companies for geographically varying allocations of donation budgets. Through a mixed methods approach, this paper remedies this gap by developing and empirically testing a conceptual framework of consumers’ preferences for geographically varying allocations of corporate donation budgets.
In a first step, two preliminary field studies (N1 = 76; N2 = 80) involving real donations explored customers’ preferences for donation allocations varying in geographical focus. A qualitative focus group study then investigated underlying rationales to inform the research and led to the development of hypotheses. Subsequently a large-scale between-subjects scenario experiment (N = 5770) tested the predictions.
Overall, results indicate that, in contrast with current managerial practice, customers prefer companies that split donations equally between domestic and foreign recipients or even donate only abroad.
Laura Marie Schons, John Cadogan and Roumpini Tsakona. (2017). Should Charity Begin at Home? An Empirical Investigation of Consumers’ Responses to Companies’ Varying Geographic Allocations of Donation Budgets.
Journal of Business Ethics, 144(3), 559–576.
Does CEO power affect environmental sustainability?
Authors Walls and Berrone theoretically discuss and empirically show how CEO power based on environmental expertise and formal influence over executives and directors, in the absence and presence of shareholder activism, spurs firms toward greener strategies.
Results support the idea that CEOs with informal power, grounded in expertise, reduce corporate environmental impact and this relationship is amplified when the CEO also enjoys formal power over the board of directors.
Additionally, the authors found that any source of CEO power, whether informal or formal, is a good catalyst for transforming shareholder activism into corporate greening. However, in the absence of such activism, only CEOs’ informal environmental expert power acts as a determinant of firm environmental performance.
Judith L. Walls and Pascual Berrone. 2017. The Power of One to Make a Difference: How Informal and Formal CEO Power Affect Environmental Sustainability.
Journal of Business Ethics, 145(2), 293–308.
What drives sustainable supply chain management practices and does it drive performance?
Many researchers believe the tremendous industrial development over the past two centuries is unsustainable because it has led to unintended ecological deterioration. Despite the ever-growing attention sustainable supply-chain management (SSCM) has received, most SSCM research and models look at the consequences, rather than the antecedents or motives of such responsible practices.
The few studies that explore corporate motives have remained largely qualitative, and large-scale empirical analyses are scarce. Drawing on multiple theories and combining supply-chain and business ethics literature, Antony Paulraj and his team purport that instrumental, relational, and moral motives are behind a firm’s engagement in SSCM practices.
Specifically, the researchers examine the links between corporate motives, SSCM practices, and firm performance. Using a sample of 259 supply-chain firms in Germany, they empirically test five hypothesised relationships.
Results reveal that relational and moral motives are key drivers, and that firms exhibiting high levels of moral obligations tend to outperform those primarily driven by amoral considerations. Findings of this study contribute to multiple literatures espousing sustainability management and can help policy makers, stakeholder groups, and scholars develop more robust strategies for encouraging firms to practice SSCM.
Antony Paulraj, Injazz J. Chen, and Constantin Blome. (2017). Motives and Performance Outcomes of Sustainable Supply Chain Management Practices: A Multi-theoretical Perspective.
Journal of Business Ethics, 145(2), 239–258.
Toward moral responsibility theories of corporate sustainability and sustainable supply chain
In the quest to build truly sustainable corporations and supply chains, Jung Ha-Brookshire proposes (a) the moral responsibility theory of corporate sustainability and (b) the moral responsibility theory of sustainable supply chain.
Built from morality literature in philosophy, the view of corporations as moral agents in law, and analyses of corporate hypocrisy and its role in an organisation’s and its members’ behaviours, these theories show how a truly sustainable corporation and its external supply chain could emerge. At the core, the author believes that without a sense of moral responsibility businesses throughout the supply chain will not be truly sustainable.
In today’s highly globalised and fragmented business environments, corporations do businesses with external supply chain partners, and without the truly sustainable supply chain partners, they may not be able to achieve sustainability goals. Moreover, for such a supply chain to be truly sustainable, each member of the supply chain must also be truly sustainable. For each member of the supply chain to be truly sustainable, the individuals who work in a corporation must be truly sustainable as well. That is, a truly sustainable supply chain cannot be established without its member corporations’ and employees’ commitment to and successes in sustainability.
This paper shows how business moral responsibility and corporate sustainability are closely intertwined. How these theories could be applied in the corporate and supply chain settings are discussed, and future research opportunities are presented.
Jung Ha-Brookshire. (2017). Toward Moral Responsibility Theories of Corporate Sustainability and Sustainable Supply Chain.
Journal of Business Ethics, 145(2), 227–237.