Decades of scholarship reveal a great heterogeneity and complexity of meanings and approaches for the understanding of the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Yet practitioners, despite the conceptual confusion in theory, operate in daily business upon their own interpretation of CSR.
In this study I am interpretive in nature and present my understanding of the perception of CSR by six practitioners. As methodic for knowledge creation I applied the Grounded Theory approach. I focused on the practitioners interpretations, justifications and motivations for their implementations of CSR policies, thereby going beyond an explanation of specific practices and approaches. The practitioners perceive a changing society which demands corporations to enhance social responsibility efforts in order to be legitimized. Furthermore, the language of CSR has been adopted within the last 10 years.
Several factors are accountable for the practitioners concern about CSR issues. Employee motivation and reputation factors are core drivers for the adoption of CSR practices and policies. I suggest that the practitioners operate upon the business case for CSR concept, where stakeholder expectations are met and competitive advantage is enforced. Finally, I conclude that the observed understanding of CSR in practice and theory is deeply problematic due to its delivered promises and limitations. I, therefore, call for a regulation based discussion of CSR where social and environmental questions can be transparently addressed.
Source: Linnaeus University
Author: Buchner, Stefan