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56 Seiten, Note: 1,0
1. Introduction and Aims of Research
A. Problem Statement – Purpose
B. Research Question
C. Research Structure and Content
2. Corporate Social Responsibility – An Overview
A. Issue and Development
B. Theoretical Concepts
Corporate Social Responsibility - Stakeholder Approach
Socially Responsible Investment (SRI)
C. Measuring and Reporting
E. Consumer Perceptions
3. Corporate Social Responsibility in Spain – A National Dimension
4. INDITEX – A Company Profile
5. Research and Methodology
A. General purchasing behavior
B. Perception of the Inditex Group
C. Opinion on CSR and its Influence on Buying Behavior
7. Managerial Implications
8. Recommendations for further research
1. Graphic 1: Carroll's CSR Pyramide
2. Graphic 2: CSR initiatives promoted on corporate websites
3. Graphic 3: Interview participants
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has gained considerable importance for management practice and science in the last decade.
Initially, corporate community involvement enjoyed a notion of purely altruistic caregiving. However, the development of the CSR movement has made a drastic change in direction, stating CSR is the exact opposite of selfless donation (Mühle, 2010). According to this theory, CSR also incorporates a strategic dimension, making it a necessity rather than a nice option to business practice. There are numerous studies proving CSR’s positive influence on marketing and consumer behavior (Sen & Bhattacharya, 2001; Mori, 2000; Mohr et al., 2001; Berens & van Riel & van Bruggen, 2005) as well as the financial success of a company (Luo & Bhattacharya, 2006; Weber, 2008; Hansen, 2004; Cetindamar, 2007). To further back the case for Corporate Social Responsibility, scandals due to lacking or dishonest CSR have proven to be toxic to companies (Becker-Olsen & Cudmore & Hill, 2005) – as confirmed by incidents such as the Exxon Valdez or BP Deepwater Horizion oil spill (www.worldnews.org) and the 2008 banking crisis, to only name a view.
However, the great majority of these studies has been conducted in the Anglo-American region (Kellner, 2008), thus global applicability of these findings might suffer from cultural limitations. This is enhanced considering the highly subjective nature of the issue, leaving much room for individual interpretations and views, which are undoubtedly coined by a person’s national and cultural background. To contribute to the field of national CSR research, the empirical section of this paper focuses on perceptions of Spanish consumers. Spanish attention on CSR related corporate behavior has been on the rise for years, however, it has hardly reached the level of interest CSR is enjoying in the northern parts of Europe, not to mention the US (Melé, 2004). This thesis will contribute to the development of research on CSR in Spain. By using the Spanish textile retailer Inditex Group as reference for the empirical interviews, findings are presented more applicably and further insight into Spanish consumer’s behavior when purchasing textiles is given.
Perceptions of corporate social and environmental engagement are highly subjective and sensible to the individuals’ interpretation of corporate responsibilities. As mentioned above, prior research might suffer from cultural constraints, thus might not be fully valid for the assessment of Spanish consumers.
The aim of this paper is to find a general tendency and an underlying phenomenon of how CSR is perceived among exclusively Spanish consumers. The Spanish, multi-brand textile retailer Inditex is used as reference in order to increase the applicability of findings.
The ultimate question of this research will be:
- How do Spanish consumers experience corporate social and environmental responsibilities?
In addition to this central query, understanding of the subject will be further increased by asking:
- How are Inditex and its CSR actions perceived by Spanish consumers?
- How can CSR influence purchasing intentions and ultimately decisions of Spanish consumers?
- What are the differences in perception of CSR among gender and age groups of Spanish consumers?
The research questions stated above have been approached by secondary as well as primary research.
As an initial step, profound knowledge on the issue has been gathered by conducting secondary research on the current state of scientific studies on Corporate Social Responsibility. Factors assessed were its development, its impact, the various methodological concepts evolving around it, as well as criticism of CSR. In order to gain deep understanding of the topic a broad range of viable scientific publications has been considered in the desk study.
After this period of general research and orientation, the focus of secondary research was narrowed down towards the actual research questions. This has been achieved by using highly specialized literature on the status of CSR in Spain and the collection of information on the company in reference – the Inditex Group – via the Internet and corporate publications.
After having acquired secondary knowledge of the CSR issue, CSR practices and research in Spain and deep understanding for Inditex’s business strategy, the findings and the resulting open questions have been incorporated into the interview sheet later used for first-hand data collection. Primary data has been gathered by conducting in-depth interviews among a carefully selected sample of participants, all Spanish nationals. All conversations followed a clearly defined set of questions, however, room for interpretations and elaborate explanations has been provided. This gave considerable insight into the interviewee’s personal opinion. Subsequently, the empirical findings have been compared to determine correlations and discrepancies.
The final section of the paper seeks to find interpretations and explanations for the results of the primary research conducted. Data will be matched first according to age, the alternatively according to sex, thus enabling interpretation on various levels. Limitations of this study will be drawn to attention, managerial implications will be considered and recommendations for further research will be offered.
Companies have been patrons to local community and society for hundreds of years. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has emerged as an integral part of management practice, enjoying great awareness among corporations, governments and international institutions, consumers, society and other kinds of stakeholders. Multinationals can hardly afford not to be considerate of well established – however, not clearly defined - CSR norms.
Theoretical attention to CSR has been initiated in the U.S. in the 1950ies, when concepts describing social engagement of corporations were first introduced to scientific debates (Hennigfeld & Pohl & Tolhust, 2006). This more systematic awareness of responsible corporate governance was greatly influenced by Howard R. Bowen’s “Social Responsibilities of the Businessman”, in which he defines CSR to be “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 objectives and values of our society” (Bowen, 1953, pp.6).
Following Bowen’s example, there has been an impressive overtaking of interest in the matter, which in the 1960 and early 1970ies was mainly concerned with social and environmental impacts of CSR. In this decade the number of international institutions and NGOs that promoted social fairness and awareness increased significantly, some examples are the foundation of Amnesty International, the WWF and Greenpeace (Mühle, 2010). Moreover the United Nations and the OECD started promoting regulatory frameworks and codes of conduct, applying pressure on international companies to hold certain social and humanitarian standards in their business operations (Mühle, 2010). The most important representative of scientific CSR theories in this period were MacGuire (1963) and Johnson (1971), who had started exploring the role of ethics in business and set groundwork for later established concepts such as corporate citizenship (MacGuire, 1963) and the Stakeholder Approach (Johnson, 1971). In daily business operations CSR was mainly taken on by philanthropic actions, seen as necessary evil without considering financial benefits.
In the late 1070ies and 1980ies research has been heavily influenced by the concept of Sustainable Development, which integrates economic, societal and environmental aspects of business (Crane & Matten, 2004). Management started to recognize the potential of proactive CSR initiatives and started to incorporate them into business strategies - accounting for possible return on CSR for the first time. Main research contributions have been made by Carroll, who introduced a 4 stage, theoretical model for CSR - including economic, legal, ethical and discretionary levels on which companies operate (Carroll, 1979), which he later joined in his “Pyramid of Corporate Social Responsibility” (Carroll, 1991).
In addition to Carroll’s approach numerous CSR related concepts have emerged in the last decades of the 20thcentury: Corporate Social Performance (CSP), Business Ethics, Stakeholder Theory, Corporate Social Responsiveness and Corporate Citizenship to only name a view (Forstner, 2010; Mühle, 2010). One of the last mayor contributions to CSR research in that century was the Triple-Bottom-Line (Elkington, 1999), which builds on the Sustainability Approach and describes economic, social and environmental value as the three integral dimensions of sustainable business development.
By the turn of the centuries the development of CSR had gotten to a point where operating according to certain standards has become an imperative for most MNCs. It is no longer seen as philanthropic necessity but rather as part of strategic planning and innovation (Mühle, 2010). CSR has become a truly global drive, moving close to institutionalization within business and stakeholder culture. This is supported by numerous initiatives that seek to create norms and standards for socially responsible business operations (Mühle, 2010). The most important one is called the Global Compact and was founded by the UN in 1999. Participating governments and companies agree to commit to a set of 10 standards, including regulations on Human Rights, employee safety, logistics, productions, corruption and the environment (Mühle, 2010; www.globalcompact.org).
CSR has become a part of business that is definitely going to continue its evolvement, however highly controversial debates on the future outlook of the concept are occupying the scientific community. Whereas some call for a higher degree of institutionalization and regulation, many see the trend developing towards discharging governments and IOs and being very flexible and creative, mentioning new concepts such as Chaos-Theory (Benn & Bolton, 2011). One way or another, CSR is here to stay, with more and more companies taking the voluntary – yet, to an increased degree inevitable - responsibility. With not only stakeholders but also shareholders getting more aware of the issue, many investors like to see their money used according to ecological and labor standards, further boosting the importance of sustainable funds (Mühle, 2010).
The broadness of the afore mentioned concepts that have all emerged from CSR discussions already proves the difficulties of narrowing down CSR to one holistic definition. The challenge has been picked up by various institutions in the new century, but has not been fully met yet – confirming the still evolving process of institutionalization of CSR.
According to the European Commission’s Greenpaper of 2001, CSR is "a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis." (European Commission Greenpaper, 2001, according to http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sustainable-business/corporate-social-responsibility/index_en.htm ).
Similarly, the Institute for Corporate Culture Affairs determined in 2005: “Corporate Social Responsibility is defined as the ongoing commitment by businesses to behave ethically and contribute to economic development, while improving the quality of life of its employee’s and that of the community within which it operates as well as society at large.” (http://www.cca-institute.org/, mentioned in Hennigfeld & Pohl & Tolhust, 2006).
To account for the majority of scientific concepts, the definition of CSR used in this paper will be held broadly. Thus, it incorporates any voluntary social and environmental engagement of a company, as well as responsible behavior towards all stakeholders, as initially defined by Freeman (1984) to be any group or individual that “can affect of is affected by the achievement of an organization’s objectives”(Freeman, 1984, p. 46).
In spite of the rather general definition of CSR applied in this paper, full understanding of the matter inevitably asks for detailed information on the individual scientific concepts curbing current CSR research.
The amplitude of concepts developed proves the complexity and subjectivity that shapes the CSR landscape. The following section isolates the most important theories related to the Corporate Responsibility issue and provides the reader with a deeper understanding of similarity and distinction of the scientific output.
CSR is the most general concept involving corporate social or environmental engagement. It states that there are three equally important dimensions to corporate strategy: The most traditional, economic dimension aiming for financial return, the social dimension and the environmental dimension (Köppl & Neureiter, 2004). This three-tier approach can also be found in the Triple Bottom framework (Elkington, 1998). The legal groundwork for corporate bearing is not included in these dimensions. Instead CSR is portrayed as an additional, voluntary form of corporate engagement (Köppl & Neureiter, 2004.)
Modern CSR research shows the development of an increasingly strategic approach to the issue, promoting the social and environmental dimension to also bear potential financial returns on the long run (Benn & Bolton, 2011).
One of the most important concepts in CSR research remains Carroll’s CSR Pyramid. As described in the prior section on CSR history this concept states four dimensions of CSR (Carroll, 1991). Again, the foundation is the Economic Dimension, which asks companies to provide society with goods and services and generate financial return for investors. Further on, Carroll states the Legal Dimension, introducing an official framework for corporate activities. Following, there is the Ethical Dimension, which refers to behavior that is not clearly stated in the law, however represents the appropriate code of conduct accepted throughout society. Finally, he introduces the Philanthropic Dimension, which refers to any additional, voluntary engagement in society or the environment (Carroll, 1991, Graphic 1). This last dimension represents CSR in a narrower sense, for instance as described in the concept of Corporate Citizenship as described below.
Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
Moreover, the discussion on accountability asks, to whom a company should be answering. In this regard, Stakeholder Theory is ground lying. (Mitchell, 1997; Müller-Stewens & Lechner, 2005). This concept introduces a broad range of corporate stakeholders, far exceeding the traditional approach saying a company only answers to its direct investors, the shareholders. Freeman (1984) defined stakeholders to be anyone who “can affect of is affected by … an organization” (Freeman, 1984, p.46). In addition, stakeholders can be classified as internal and external stakeholders. The first, also called “claimants” or “primary stakeholders” include owners, managers and employees whereas the latter, “influencers or secondary stakeholders”, refer to any other group of people associated with the company: suppliers, manufacturers, consumers, society, governments or the environment, to only mention a view (Müller-Stewens & Lechner, 2005; Kaler, 2002; Clarkson, 1995). Modern Stakeholder Theory gives advice on balancing competing interests of all stakeholders to achieve the most positive outcome.
Whereas the majority of CSR related concepts have been introduced by the scientific community, Corporate Citizenship (CC) is a concern that has been initiated and coined by management practice to define the function a business has in society and the duties that result from that (Matten & Crane, 2005). In 2002 the UN Global Compact initiative introduced CC as a necessity for management (www.globalcompact.org; Benn & Bolton, 2011). By applying CC, companies take an active part in the surrounding communities, become a “citizen” themselves and have the obligation to respect other citizen’s “social, civil and political rights” (Benn & Bolton, 2011, p.46, referring to Matten & Crane, 2005). In areas where national governments lack legitimization or success, CC sees opportunities for companies to contribute to a community’s or nation’s development (Goddard, 2005). Many companies have been well established in their surroundings for decades, providing employment and enjoying high presence in people’s perception of their community. This can function as considerable levy on their social impact (Goddard, 2005). According to Wulfsun (2010) companies do not only have the opportunity but the obligation to engage in Corporate Citizenry (Wulfsun, 2010). In line with that, the concept of Stewardship is introduced to the CC debate. Stewardship is a leadership theory that states a responsible leader will always put the interest of the organization in front of his personal needs and balance stakeholder interest to achieve what is best for the institution. (Benn & Bolton, 2011; Davis, 1997; Caldwell & Karrie, 2005)
Regarding the measurement of CC, no clear approach has been established. Indicators such as the Human Development Indicator and the Indicator of Sustainable Economic Welfare are suggested for CC reporting (Goddard, 2005).
Critics of CC point out that limitations and boarders of corporate citizenry rights will have to be established (Van Oosterhaut, 2005) and point out the potential abuse of CC as a superficial PR tool (Benn & Bolton, 2011).
Governance is a term often used when talking about CSR. It refers to the way an organization is operating, on which basis decisions are made and how different organizational interests are balanced to contribute to a greater good. Any firm will answer to a broad range of stakeholders as described in Stakeholder Theory above. The nature of a company’s governance will decide which interest outweigh others and how possible agency problems, meaning divergence in interest of management and owners (Benn & Bolton, 2011) will be addressed. Whereas traditional studies on Governance focus on “board performance and auditing committees” (Benn & Bolton, 2011, p.107), the latest trend towards CSR is entering the Governance discussions, drawing attention to Business Ethics and the promotion of frameworks for standardized CSR implementation. The implementation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002 also accounted for these new calls, introducing official guidelines for accountability and transparency towards different stakeholders. Governance is focused on social issues such as employee management and working conditions as well as ethical corporate behavior, whereas Sustainability is accounting for the environmental component of CSR (Benn & Bolton, 2011).
The main claim of Sustainability (SD) is the preservation of the environment and to design business operations in a way that will not jeopardize resources for the following generations (WCED, 1987). Similarly to the triple bottom line, the equilibrium of economic, social and environmental goals is to be achieved (Crane & Matten, 2004). The most important international institution to push the global trend towards Sustainable Development is the UN and its Global Compact (www.globalcompact.org).
There are three keys to Sustainable Development (Benn & Bolton, 2011): The Intergenerational Principle, the Intergenerational Principle and the Precautionary Principle, which should all be in balance.
The Intergenerational Principle seeks to create equilibrium among industrialized and developing nations. The weakness of Third World countries often creates a vicious circle of industrial domination and exploitation that is creating considerable disadvantages for the weaker parties. The Intragenerational Principle picks up on the main aim of SD: When it comes to the exploitation of resources, no generation should create worse conditions for the following generation than it has been enjoying itself. Finally, the Precautionary Principle promotes due diligence in environmental matters, following a “better safe than sorry” policy (Benn & Bolton, 2011, p.126). The UN Agenda 21 seeks the official implementation of these principles and is followed by 178 governments (www.globalcompact.org).
Philanthropic corporate activities have marked the early start of CSR long before it has been established as a necessary management practice. For centuries Philanthropy has been exercised through voluntary donations to polish a company’s image throughout surrounding communities. It was Carroll (1979, 1991), who first introduced Philanthropy as a scientific concept in management research (Carroll, 1979), making it the top of his CSR pyramid (Carroll, 1991).
Today, three common views of Philanthropy have been established scientifically: First, Philanthropy as a duty towards society, second, the strategic dimension of corporate Philanthropy and third, the microeconomic approach to the concept (Breitner, 2011).
The ethical obligation to be a good corporate citizen and give back to society is the most traditional approach (Hennigfeld & Pohl & Tolhurst, 2006). The strategic view incorporates corporate Philanthropy into elaborate management practice, focusing on the financial component of donating to society. For instance, Seifert (2004) assed the relationship “between having and giving” and - as a result - “between giving and getting” (Seifert et al., 2004, p.154). He found that charitable engagement of companies is beneficial to both, the company and society. Porter and Kramer (2002) also support the notion of strategic corporate Philanthropy, introducing the levying nature of fit between a company’s goals and the areas it engages in socially. By wisely choosing one’s “philanthropic portfolio” (Benn & Bolton, 2011, p.147) competitive advantage is built (Porter & Kramer, 2002) and social and economic benefit is conjoined effectively (Blowfield & Murray, 2008).
Lastly, the microeconomic take on Philanthropy suggests that social engagement is simply a product that raises demand (Henderson & Malani, 2009). People as well as companies seek to feel good about themselves, hence making philanthropy a demanded utility rather than an altruistic good deed (Duncan, 2004).
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