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Fernanda de Paiva Duarte

Autoethnography is a constructivist approach through which the researcher studies her or his own experience alongside that of participants. In this chapter, I demonstrate the value of autoethnography in research projects on corporate social responsibility (CSR). In such projects, there is often a possibility that the investigator may become part of the research as they interact with the participants. In the case reported here, I became an ‘audience’ for the ‘corporate performances’ organized by the employees of a large mining company in Brazil. I use a vignette based on my personal reflections to demonstrate the benefits of the autoethnographic method in this CSR research project.

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Esther Ortiz and José G. Clavel

Today global capital markets require international consensus about disclosure requirements and other barriers to globalization. Business reporting has improved over the years and we are witnessing a wide range of disclosures of non-financial information. Research methods used in corporate social responsibility (CSR) are conditioned by the characteristics of this information. It is necessary to use appropriate methods to develop conclusions in this field. Here we have used ‘correspondence analysis’ to examine Annual Reports and Forms 20-F according to different Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). We examined 84 Annual Reports and Forms 20-F prepared before the harmonization of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) (for 1998 and 1999 of Spanish, German, and British companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)). Correspondence analysis has been useful in determining whether human resources disclosure policy depends on factors like the country of the firm, size, industry, listing status, or the audit company. The results show that there was a wide variety of disclosure and that country, size, industry, and listing status shaped this policy, with the most important difference being the type of report. This is just one clear example of the kind of research that can be applied to CSR when new statistical tools allow new approaches.

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Christopher Boachie and George K Amoako

Statistics represents that body of methods by which characteristics of a population are inferred through observations made in a representative sample from that population. Since corporate social responsibility researchers rarely observe entire populations, sampling and statistical inference are essential. Data analysis is a process used to transform, remodel, and revise certain information with a view to reaching a certain conclusion for a given situation or problem. The analysis can be carried out by different methods as according to the needs and requirements of different domains in corporate social responsibility. This chapter reviews the current status of statistical methods and their influences on financial corporate social responsibility research. Secondary data on statistical research methods were employed together with a survey of published articles on corporate social responsibility. The implication of the conclusion is that the insights gained from this chapter serve as genuine sources of knowledge for researchers in the field of CSR.

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Christopher Boachie

This chapter provides guidelines for the design and execution of survey research in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The specific requirements of survey research aimed at gathering and analysing data for theory testing are contrasted with other types of survey research. The focus is motivated by the need to tackle the various issues which arise in the process of survey research. This chapter guides the researcher and presents a systematic picture which synthesizes suitable survey practices for research in the CSR context. This will contribute to an increase in the quality of research and, as a consequence, provide details on the application of surveys in CSR research. Surveys reflect societal change in a way that few other research tools do. Organizations have adopted new methods for selecting telephone samples; these new methods were made possible by the creation of large databases that include all listed telephone numbers. The widespread decline in response rates for all types of surveys has been a problem. In the face of this problem, survey researchers have developed new theories of non-response that build on the persuasion literature in social psychology. Surveys have adopted many new methods of data collection; the new modes reflect technological developments in computing and the emergence of the Internet.

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Jacob Dahl Rendtorff

In this chapter, I would like to argue that the future research agenda in corporate social responsibility (CSR) will move beyond strategic responsibility and become a major ethical concern at all levels of society. The chapter will demonstrate the importance of the concept of responsibility as the foundation of ethics in particular in the fields of politics and economics in the modern civilization marked by globalization and technological progress. I consider that the concept of responsibility in the future will be the key notion in order to understand the ethical duty in a modern technological civilization. We can indeed observe a moralization of the concept of responsibility going beyond a strict legal definition in terms of imputability. Moreover, this implies that corporate responsibility cannot solely be defined strategically in terms of profits or shared values. The chapter begins by discussing the humanistic foundations of such a concept of responsibility. It looks at the historical origins of responsibility and it relates this concept to the concept of accountability. On the basis of this historical determination of the concept I would like to present the definition of the concept of responsibility as a fundamental ethical principle that has increasing importance as the foundation of the principles of governance in modern welfare states. In this context the chapter discusses the extension of the concept of responsibility towards institutional or corporate ethical responsibility where responsibility does not only concern the responsibility of individuals but also deals with the responsibility of institutional collectivities.

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Juniati Juniati and Kumalawati Abadi

This chapter aims to develop a scoring guideline for conducting a content analysis of sustainability reports to reduce subjectivity and improve the quality of the process. This guideline is applied by implementing every step of the new proposed guideline to examine sustainability reports, to evaluate whether or not the new proposed guideline works appropriately in terms of scrutinizing the quantity and quality information of the reports. Samples for analysis are selected from several Indonesian mining companies that produce sustainability reports. The findings show that the guideline developed in this study provides detailed steps and eases the coder in performing content analysis. In addition, this guideline also confirms that subjectivity can be reduced during the process. The results of the analysis applied in the sustainability reports demonstrate that information of ‘economic aspects’ is the most disclosed information, while ‘environment aspects’ is the least disclosed information in the companies’ sustainability reports. Documentation of disclosed information in the reports is mostly positive and descriptive in nature, rather than negative and quantitative. Some suggestions to improve the writing in the context of sustainability reports are also provided.

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David Crowther

Ethics enter all aspects of business life and all aspects of research. This applies to research into corporate social responsibility just as much as to any other topic. This chapter starts by explaining what ethics is in business and the different philosophies within this controversial subject. It then moves on to discussing the various ethical factors which enter into the research process. Ethical dilemmas potentially affect all researchers so this also is considered with suggested actions. University expectations regarding ethics and permission are also considered, in doing this the author equips researchers to undertake research within CSR, secure in the knowledge that anything which might arise can be dealt with.

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Linne Marie Lauesen

Research in corporate social responsibility (CSR) literature that uses ethnographic methods based on newer studies shows that ethnographic studies are typically used to get ‘under the skin’ of corporations and their interpretation and use (and misuse) of CSR. Most companies utilize the good motives of CSR for corporate branding, to obtain legitimacy and to form their identity according to be ‘a good corporation’ in the eyes of its stakeholders. However, these ethnographic studies show how corporations are not always aligned with the intentions of CSR, because their motives are typically steered by making profits as a primer, in which CSR becomes a means to this end, which is not the purpose of CSR eventually. Ethnographic research methods are splendid for in-depth studies of one or a few organizations for explorative and discursive studies of CSR suggesting new theory development. However, it would be an interesting approach to engage ethnographic studies with quantitative approaches in order to come further up the ladder of actually imposing that the findings from case studies can be found in more than one company/business sector (the studied one) – maybe even be statistically significant. Such mixed method studies can suggest new theory grounded on in-depth findings of a few examples, and if these findings should be verified or generalizable, it needs a quantitative (statistical, significant) doubling.

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Sara Moggi

The social reporting process occurs in several phases that can include stakeholder engagement practice. When an organization decides to follow this path, the inclusion of these subjects is a pivotal element to consider in the definition of both stakeholder map and the features of the subsequent social report. This research focuses on how stakeholders can be involved, through a focus group, at the start of the reporting process. The case of Sirio, an international nonprofit organization with more than 2,000 members, is considered in order to describe the features and management of focus groups as a stakeholder engagement tool in Sirio’s social accounting process. This study also presents the strengths and potential weaknesses inherent in this research path, describing the steps that should be followed in the construction of a focus group and offering guidance on the behavior that researchers must exhibit before and during group meetings. It is hoped that this research may be a valuable guide for researchers who decide to follow the reporting process as an external auditor or a person involved in the process itself.

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Hillary J. Shaw

Obesity and poor diet are major policy issues in Britain today due to the health costs imposed on society. Barriers to healthy eating may include distance to shops selling fresh produce, inability to purchase these often-more-expensive foods, and lack of knowledge of how to prepare and cook such foodstuffs. In urban areas of Britain, the ethnic background of consumers may affect their ability to pay and the physical access they have to various types of food retailing. Another factor moderating diet is time; namely, the time taken to travel to shops and to prepare nutritious household food. Urban structure impinges on all of these factors and, through factors of ethnicity and employment, the affordability of food and food knowledge possessed by households. In this chapter, two cities of contrasting urban structure and ethnicity, Leicester and Stoke on Trent, are compared. Using partial correlations and fieldwork, urban structure is shown to have a strong influence on both diet and obesity. This analysis suggests several areas where policy measures can assist less affluent households to eat more healthily, reducing the social costs of obesity.