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Corporate social responsibility: developing an implicit / explicit framework and concept of personal definition

Corporate social responsibility: developing an implicit / explicit framework and concept of personal definition
Corporate social responsibility: developing an implicit / explicit framework and concept of personal definition
Corporate Social Responsibility is an important part of a modern organisation. The definition of CSR can be seen to play an important role in understanding and engagement by organisational stakeholders. There are a numerous definitions and frameworks in the field of CSR and different organisational stakeholders may hold different views in respect of strategic priorities. The research explores three questions: firstly, what is the respondents’ personal definition of CSR? Secondly, how does the concept of implicit / explicit CSR fit within an organisational context? And finally and to a much lesser extent, are there any variant CSR themes within the island of Jersey compared to, for example, the UK?

A multiple case study methodology was adopted, which supported the exploration of CSR policy and activity from the perspective of organisational members. Semi-structured interviews were used along with critical incident technique to explore the definitions, beliefs and values of a range of organisational stakeholders. Empirically based findings support the general definition of the respondents’ personal definition of CSR and also an augmented implicit / explicit framework of CSR which is based on Matten and Moon’s paper (2008). In respect of a personal definition of CSR, 21 respondents were interviewed across 11 organisations and a general, personal definition was found. Generally, respondents defined CSR at an explicit level as being about philanthropy, role in society and engagement. Implicitly, respondents generally defined CSR in terms of ethical, legal and economic interests. People tend to define CSR at an explicit level as ‘fundraising’ and ‘philanthropy’ and at a more implicit level about ‘social good’ and ‘doing the right thing’. An electronic survey showed that respondents from one of the researched organisations prioritised organisational responsibility in the following order: legal, ethical, economic and philanthropic.

The exploration of the implicit / explicit framework of CSR revealed the advantage of utilising a relational perspective which integrates perspectives rather than frames them as a paradox (although this is a perspective adopted by the researcher which is likely to invoke debate rather than be universally accepted). A series of diagnostic dimensions were defined which was used to place the 1,315 respondent meaning units into the framework, resulting a balance of implicit and explicit influences on the organisational framework. The meaning units derived from the implicit / explicit model tended to mirror the respondents’ personal definition of CSR.

There are several areas of recommended research, including an opening of dialogue regarding paradoxical / complementary perspectives of CSR versus organisational responsibility. Recommended research also is how CSR knowledge is transferred from the individual stakeholder to the institution within which she sits and vice versa.
University of Southampton
Grady, David
0f1113e0-f110-40e7-a16a-6bbdc205b8b3
Grady, David
0f1113e0-f110-40e7-a16a-6bbdc205b8b3
Baden, Denise
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Grady, David (2017) Corporate social responsibility: developing an implicit / explicit framework and concept of personal definition. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 204pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Corporate Social Responsibility is an important part of a modern organisation. The definition of CSR can be seen to play an important role in understanding and engagement by organisational stakeholders. There are a numerous definitions and frameworks in the field of CSR and different organisational stakeholders may hold different views in respect of strategic priorities. The research explores three questions: firstly, what is the respondents’ personal definition of CSR? Secondly, how does the concept of implicit / explicit CSR fit within an organisational context? And finally and to a much lesser extent, are there any variant CSR themes within the island of Jersey compared to, for example, the UK?

A multiple case study methodology was adopted, which supported the exploration of CSR policy and activity from the perspective of organisational members. Semi-structured interviews were used along with critical incident technique to explore the definitions, beliefs and values of a range of organisational stakeholders. Empirically based findings support the general definition of the respondents’ personal definition of CSR and also an augmented implicit / explicit framework of CSR which is based on Matten and Moon’s paper (2008). In respect of a personal definition of CSR, 21 respondents were interviewed across 11 organisations and a general, personal definition was found. Generally, respondents defined CSR at an explicit level as being about philanthropy, role in society and engagement. Implicitly, respondents generally defined CSR in terms of ethical, legal and economic interests. People tend to define CSR at an explicit level as ‘fundraising’ and ‘philanthropy’ and at a more implicit level about ‘social good’ and ‘doing the right thing’. An electronic survey showed that respondents from one of the researched organisations prioritised organisational responsibility in the following order: legal, ethical, economic and philanthropic.

The exploration of the implicit / explicit framework of CSR revealed the advantage of utilising a relational perspective which integrates perspectives rather than frames them as a paradox (although this is a perspective adopted by the researcher which is likely to invoke debate rather than be universally accepted). A series of diagnostic dimensions were defined which was used to place the 1,315 respondent meaning units into the framework, resulting a balance of implicit and explicit influences on the organisational framework. The meaning units derived from the implicit / explicit model tended to mirror the respondents’ personal definition of CSR.

There are several areas of recommended research, including an opening of dialogue regarding paradoxical / complementary perspectives of CSR versus organisational responsibility. Recommended research also is how CSR knowledge is transferred from the individual stakeholder to the institution within which she sits and vice versa.

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Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.
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Published date: December 2017

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 420764
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/420764
PURE UUID: 35f36090-fba2-4754-b2d4-e1140cbc8032
ORCID for Denise Baden: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2736-4483

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 15 May 2018 16:30
Last modified: 30 Jul 2019 00:38

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