Bachelor Thesis, 2009, 73 Pages
Figure 1: The Pyramid of Corporate Social Responsibility.................................................................... 7 Figure 2: Linking Perceived Organisational Identity and Construed External Image To Strength
of Organisational Identification. ........................................................................................... 28 Figure 3: Functional Chain for the Emergence of Organisational Identification............................. 36 Figure 4: Bar Chart How Voters Responded To 'Information'. ......................................................... 47 Figure 5: Bar Chart How Voters Responded To 'Identification'. ....................................................... 47 Figure 6: Bubble Chart Combining Both Variables. ............................................................................. 48 Figure 7: Table of Combined Results...................................................................................................... 48
The identification with organisations plays a prominent role in our lives, since “organizations pervade everyday life” 1 . Usually we are born in a hospital, attend kindergarten, school and other educational institutions until most of us start working for a certain company or organisation in order to make a living for our families and ourselves. Furthermore, many people obtain a membership in various sports clubs, advocacy groups, or parties. 2 Individuals are grateful to such organisations and often make determined efforts for their maintenance, owing to their strong bonds towards these institutions.
Recently, companies have also realised that the identification of their employees is a competitive advantage in many ways. Since organisations “become larger, complex and boundary-less, organisational identification is viewed as a means for providing cohesion and as key ingredient of organisational success” 3 . Based on findings of Bhattacharya and colleagues the individuals’ identification with the company results into several positive effects, such as cooperative behaviour, less employee turnover due to higher satisfaction, as well as having strong human capital in terms of knowledge and skills. 4 Accordingly, companies search for drivers that foster positive identification with the organisation.
One driver that has been discovered is seen in corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives of companies. The term ‘CSR’ has received great attention within academic discourses as well as in practice throughout the past decades. CSR is associated with the image that the companies’ purpose is more than simply maximising profits. In this respect The Economist notes the following: ”It would be a challenge to find a recent annual report of any big international company that justifies the firm’s existence merely in terms of profit, rather than ’service to the community'.” 5 Another term that is closely related to CSR is that of corporate citizenship (CC). It embraces the notion of business people playing an active role as part of society which is depicted with the help of activities. Whereas CSR is the more academic term referring to the obligation business has to society to respond to social responsibility, CC is rather the managerial term cultivating community-relations such as corporate giving or corporate volunteering. Both concepts shall be the foundation for the understanding of CSR initiatives.
Referring to the ideas of organisational identification (OI) and CSR initiatives introduced above a study by Carmeli and colleagues suggests that CSR initiatives of a company are positively associ-
1 Houseet al. 1995: 109.
2 See Van Dick 2004: 1; Böhm 2008: 1.
3 Epitropaki/Martin 2005: 570. Due to the fact that the thesis is written from the perspective of a firm, organisations are to be understood in the first place as companies.
4 See Bhattacharya et al. 1995: 46ff.
5 The Economist 2005.
ated with the employees’ identification. 6 Therefore, the paper at hand pursues the following two main objectives:
The first objective is to review the correlation between CSR and OI from a theoretical perspective and attempt to provide insights to the underlying question of the present paper: To which extent do CSR initiatives achieve OI? The second objective is to bridge theory and practice. In addition to the theoretical review an empirical survey in cooperation with a consultancy and a telecommunications company has been carried out in order to broaden the theoretical view from an empirical perspective.
In order to achieve the main objectives of the thesis, methodologically the elaboration will contain four steps. The first step will deal with the concept of CSR, respectively CSR initiatives (chapter 2). It starts with outlining the main streams of the CSR concept in both USA and Europe during the past decades (2.1). Then, theoretical and conceptual basics of CSR initiatives will be presented (2.2). Section 2.2.1 will deal with Carroll’s well-known pyramid of CSR, followed by introducing the reader to the more practice-oriented concept of CC (2.2.2). In 2.2.3 elements from both concepts are taken to describe the nature of CSR initiatives in order to establish an underlying understanding for the purpose of the paper. Section 2.3 sketches the usage of such activities to establish lasting relationships with various stakeholders like employees. After explaining basic ideas of stakeholder theory and stakeholder management (2.3.1), the prominent role of employees as being a ‘first-class-stakeholder’ will be examined. It will be argued that employees play a crucial role in the firms’ stakeholder environment and that CSR initiatives may trigger off positive effects on behalf of the firm (2.3.2). One such positive effect is seen in building OI with the firm.
As a consequence, the second step will focus on the concept of OI (chapter 3). The purpose is directed to depict a proper understanding of what OI is and why it obtains such useful practical implications for both companies and individuals. Section 3.1 will put forward a theoretical and conceptual framework of OI: Firstly, early scientific approaches will be outlined that describe the nature of identification in the context of organisations (3.1.1). Afterwards the well-known social identity approach (SIA) is discussed, which prevailed as the underlying theoretical framework to explain the concept of OI (3.1.2). Then, in section 3.2 the findings of the SIA are applied to the context of organisations. After defining OI as a specific form of social identification (3.2.1), different conceptualisations in terms of dimensions and foci will be displayed (3.2.2). A model by Dutton and colleagues will illustrate in how far the identity and the image of organisations are associated with OI (3.2.3). Section 3.3 answers the question why OI is useful in many respects.
6 See Carmeli et al. 2007: 973.
Several reasons will be conducted from two different perspectives, one from the perspective of the company (3.3.1), and the other from the individual (3.3.2).
After that, the third step bridges step one and two (chapter 4). Building on the theoretical analysis of CSR and OI, the purpose of chapter 4 is to provide insights to the core question of the present thesis: To which extent do CSR initiatives achieve OI? Hence to arrive at suitable results, firstly an understanding of how OI emerges is required. Accordingly, the functional chain will be depicted in section 4.1, which will serve as the underlying model explaining the correlation between CSR and OI. Next, three different approaches will be presented that exist among scientific literature on how (organisational) identification emerges (4.1). In particular these are the processes of affinity (4.2.1), emulation (4.2.2), as well as categorisation and self-enhancement (4.2.3). Drawing upon the three different processes, the entire functional chain will be reconstructed in terms of discussing the link between CSR and OI (4.3). In addition to the theoretical reconstruction, a theoretical review of the current status among scientific literature will be presented as well as a discussion of practice-oriented studies. Ultimately, some deliberations by the author are reflected upon (4.4).
Then, the fourth and final step attempts to apply and test the findings of the theoretical analysis to a practice-oriented context (chapter 5). An empirical survey in cooperation with a telecommunications company and a consultancy has been carried out in order to provide additional insights of the theme from another perspective. For reasons of complexity reduction the design of the survey has been simplified to solely two questions that aim to inquire about the employees’ degree of being informed about the a telecommunications company’s CSR initiatives and about the status of their identification with the telecommunications company community. The results will be presented, discussed and reflected upon.
At the end of the thesis all main aspects of the theoretical review as well as the findings of the empirical testing will be summarised (chapter 6). This will create the basis for a final outlook of the future perspectives in research and practice.
This chapter will introduce the reader to the field of CSR. Building upon stakeholder theory, it will also provide reasons, why employees are to be taken into account as a ‘first-classstakeholder’. Firstly a compact historical overview of CSR will be presented, which will concentrate on CSR in terms of scientific and political developments in both USA and Europe (2.1). Subsequently it will provide a coherent framework that gives meaning and definition to CSR, the frequently cited pyramid of CSR by Carroll will be outlined (2.2.1). Since CC is the more managerial concept and serves best to explain the notion of CSR initiatives, CC will be presented in
section 2.2.2. Then, the two concepts of CSR and CC will be demarcated from each other and a preliminary understanding of CSR, respectively to CSR initiatives, will be displayed (2.2.3). Thus, section 2.3 will reveal the prominent role of employees as being a ‘first-class-stakeholder’. Ac-cordingly, the elaboration will start with introducing basic ideas of stakeholder theory and stakeholder management (2.3.1). On that score it will be argued that employees play a crucial role in the firms’ stakeholder environment and that CSR initiatives can trigger off positive effects on behalf of the firm (2.3.2). Finally, a summarisation of the main aspects will close the chapter (2.4).
The history of the academic field of CSR originated from different branches of research. Essentially different approaches can be identified in the USA and in Europe. The academic discourse in the USA was mainly coined by means of refining definitions and concepts of CSR, whereas in Europe the attention was rather turned toward a pragmatic application. 7 The launch of the concept of CSR in the ‘modern era’ of US-literature has been determined by Bowen’s book “Social Responsibilities of the Businessman” which was published in 1953. 8 Even though there have been some references to CSR beforehand, his publication is seen as a considerable milestone so that Carroll deems Bowen to be the ‘Father of Corporate Social Responsibility’. 9 Bowen argues that companies’ actions touch many areas of life which engender the question to what extent business entities are obliged to be taken responsible for the society. He concludes that the social responsibility of businessmen ought to derive from the expectations and values the society upholds and in addition underlines that there are responsibilities which go beyond the economic performance:
“It [social responsibility (LR)] refers to the obligations of businessmen to pursue those policies, to make those decisions, or to follow those lines of action, which are desirable in terms of the objectives and values of our society.” 10
Accordingly, in the 1960s various authors have proposed several attempts to broaden the first definition set by Bowen. Apart from Frederick (1960), McGuire (1963), and Walton (1967), Davis (1960) has come up with a management oriented view of CSR that focused rather on the social welfare of a society. He postulates that a social responsible business can be justified as far as it
7 See Loew et al. 2004: 18f. Some authors refer to historic roots of CSR. In ancient Greece firms had philanthropic motives distributing money and foot to poor people. Later on in the wake of the 19 th century business units changed. More and more multicorporate enterprises occurred that possessed huge influence and power over the market. This emergence of new business entities brought up new questions of responsibilities within society. Then, after the world economic crisis around the 1930s companies were under intensified supervision by the state which conducted into more social activities. For a further review on roots of CSR see Carroll 1999: 268ff.; Carroll/Buchholtz 2006: 31ff.
8 See Carroll 1979: 497; Carroll 1999: 269. Here Carroll makes the point that earlier articles principally mention Social Responsibility instead of CSR. Carroll utilised both terms synonymously. The paper at hand follows this practise.
9 See ibid: 268ff. Carroll mentions a few articles that were published prior. For instance he refers to Barnard (1938), Clark (1939) and Kreps (1940).
10 Bowen 1953: 6.
dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion” 22 . One year later the European Commission (EC) released both, the EU strategy 23 for a sustainable development and a Green Paper with the mission statement “Promoting a European Framework for Corporate Social Responsibility”. 24 Here, the first time a definition of CSR is displayed by a political European institution: 25 “[…] a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis.” 26 Against the background of the Green Paper more activities have been undertaken in support of CSR. In 2004 the so called ‘European Multistakeholder Forum on CSR’ was established to foster the dialogue between experts, stakeholders 27 and companies. 28 Then, in 2006 the EC called for an ‘Alliance on Corporate Social Responsibility’ bringing together mainly industry actors and the Commission. 29
On the whole one can summarize a stronger focus on CSR issues at the beginning of the 21 st century. In contrast to the academic discourse on CSR in the USA, the main attention in Europe has been placed on political guidance.
Besides the understanding of CSR, other closely related concepts have evolved from scientific debate, which include corporate social responsiveness 30 (CSR 2 ) and corporate social performance 31 . 32 Other
22 European Council 2000: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/ec/00100-r1.en0.htm.
23 See European Commission 2001b: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2002:0347: FIN:DE: PDF.
24 See European Commission 2001a: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/site/en/com/2001/_0366en01.pdf.
25 See Loew et al. 2004: 26.
26 European Commission 2001a: 7.
27 See section 2.3.1 for further details on stakeholders and stakeholder theory.
28 See EMS Forum 2004: http://circa.europa.eu/irc/empl/csr_eu_multi_stakeholder_forum/info /data /en /CSR %20Forum%20final%20report.pdf.
29 See European Commission 2006: 3. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2006:0136 :FIN: EN:PDF. This paper provoked anger from civil society organisations as well as trade unions. They criticise that NGOs are largely excluded from the CSR alliance because it only brings together the Commission and enterprises. See http://www.euractiv.com/en/socialeurope/csr-corporate-social-responsibility/article-153515.
30 Corporate Social Responsiveness (CSR2) is considered as the action-oriented variant of CSR. According to Frederick CSR2 is defined as follows: “Corporate social responsiveness refers to the capacity of a corporation to respond to social pressures. The literal act of responding, or of achieving a generally responsive posture, to society is the focus“ (Frederick 1978: 6). See also further authors that contributed to ideas of CSR2: Ackerman/Bauer 1976: 6; Epstein 1987: 104.
31 Building on ideas of CSR, Carroll developed first a model of CSP. It includes three aspects that address major concerns of academics and managers, in particular CSR, social issues the organisation must address and the mode of social responsiveness. See Carroll 1979: 497ff. A major reformulation of the CSP model has been put forward by Wood. She defines CSP as the “business organization’s configuration of principles of social responsibility, processes of social responsiveness, and policies, programs, and observable outcomes as they relate to the firm’s societal relationships“ (Wood 1991: 693). Other extensions of the CSP model have been presented by Wartick/Cochran 1985: 765-766 and Swanson 1995: 43-64 as well as Swanson 1999: 506-521.
32 See Carroll/Buchholtz 2006: 29.
The view of being a good corporate citizen is rather used in a practice-oriented managerial context and serves as an inclusive reference to issues linked to social responsibility. 42 From this prac-tice-oriented perspective the idea of the so called triple bottom line has gathered wide acceptance among practitioners, since it provides guidance in terms of operationalisation. It refers to the expanded notion that the criteria for the creation of value are economic, ecological and social. 43 Since CSR initiatives address activities exerted in the field with a managerial component, the concept of CC is outlined in the subsequent section.
According to Carroll/Buchholtz the understanding of CSR has been embraced to the broader term of CC. Hereby, CC illustrates a conception of business actors that play an active role as part of society. The concept of the corporate citizen reflects the core idea of a civil society in which all participants themselves carry responsibility for the well-being of the community. 44 Although a widely accepted definition of CC is not established yet, CC has been subject of various interpretations in both USA and Europe. 45 Among scientific literature in the USA, Carroll articulates that CC can be conceived from a broad view and a narrow view. 46
The broad view suggests that CC encompasses all that is implied in the concepts of CSR, CSR 2 and CSP. For instance, a broad conception has been put forward by Fombrun, who argues that CC is composed of a three-part view: (1) CC is the reflection of shared ethical and moral principles, (2) a vehicle to integrate individuals into the communities in which they work, and (3) a form of enlightened self-interest, which balances all stakeholders’ demands and enriches a firm’s long-termvalue. 47 Especially, the notion of the firms’ self-interest is according to the broad view a typical characteristic. CC explicitly focuses on the achievement of win-win-situations, meaning that CC is also part of the overall business strategy. That is why Graves and colleagues define CC as “serving a variety of stakeholders well” 48 which embraces the idea of ethical business behaviour and
42 See Carroll/Buchholtz 2006: 38f. See also footnote 50 for a criticism by Crane/Matten.
43 “[...] the TBL [Triple Bottom Line, (LR)] agenda focuses corporations not just on the economic value that they add, but also on the environmental and social value that they add - and destroy” (Elkington 2001: 3). See also Loew et al. 2004: 66f.
GRIN Publishing, located in Munich, Germany, has specialized since its foundation in 1998 in the publication of academic ebooks and books. The publishing website GRIN.com offer students, graduates and university professors the ideal platform for the presentation of scientific papers, such as research projects, theses, dissertations, and academic essays to a wide audience.
Free Publication of your term paper, essay, interpretation, bachelor's thesis, master's thesis, dissertation or textbook - upload now!