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  • Effects of the Type of CSR Discourse for Utilitarian and Hedonic Services

    Andrea Pérez; María del Mar García de los Salmones; Elisa Baraibar-Diez (MDPI AG, 2020-06-01)
    In a context of corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication, we explore whether the use of expositive versus narrative discourses interacts with the type of service commercialized by the company (utilitarian vs. hedonic) to determine consumer perceptions and responses to corporate communication. Our main proposal is that, as representative examples of utilitarian services, banking companies would benefit significantly from communicating their CSR efforts with expositive discourses, whereas narrative discourses would be more adequate for hedonic services (e.g., catering). To test the research hypotheses, we use a 2 (expositive/narrative discourse) x 2 (utilitarian/hedonic service) between-subjects experimental design where we expose 302 consumers to different combinations of CSR messages and we evaluate changes in their message attributions and internal and external responses to them. The findings show that the interaction effect is significant and it works in the expected direction for issue importance, CSR fit, and CSR attributions. However, for CSR impact, attitude, trust, purchase, and advocacy intentions, the findings suggest that narrative discourses work better than expositive discourses both for utilitarian and hedonic services. No significant differences between types of discourses are observed for CSR motives, CSR commitment, and C-C identification and the interaction effect is also not significant for these variables.
  • CSR Activities and Their Impact on Brand Value in Food Enterprises in Slovakia Based on Foreign Participation

    Zdenka Kádeková; Radovan Savov; Ingrida Košičiarová; Katarina Valaskova (MDPI AG, 2020-06-01)
    This paper highlights the activity of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and its impact on brand value in food enterprises with and without foreign participation in Slovakia. Attention has been paid to all three pillars—People, Planet, Profit—and their communication in relation to customers, business partners, employees, local communities, environmental protection, and company values. The paper evaluates the impact of these activities on brand value in food enterprises in Slovakia. One hundred and twenty-five food enterprises were included in the research. The paper offers eight statistically tested hypotheses, of which three have been fully confirmed. Almost 86% of food companies with foreign participation apply CSR activities, while companies without foreign participation comprise only 40% of the total share. The biggest differences in the perception of the importance of CSR activities are noticeable in foundations and charitable activities, and in sponsorship and donations, but are less noticeable in terms of ecology, corporate transparency, and cooperation with non-profit organizations. In the field of environmental protection, CSR activities are communicated and used in order to build brand value, mostly in food enterprises with foreign participation. Almost 96% of food enterprises with foreign participation that apply and communicate CSR activities see an increase in their brand value.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility and Operating Performance: The Role of Local Character in Emerging Economies

    Fang He; Xin Miao; Christina W.Y. Wong; Yanhong Tang (MDPI AG, 2020-06-01)
    Local character can shape corporate resource accumulation and utilization, especially in emerging economies, and accordingly plays an important role in affecting the performance results of corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices. This paper thus aims to examine how local character affects the performance results of CSR practices. Drawing on the resource dependence theory and resource orchestration view, this study empirically investigates the effects of internal character (in terms of state ownership) and external local character (in terms of eight-dimension infrastructure) on the relationship between CSR and operating performance. Using samples of firms listed in the Chinese CSI 300 (capitalization weighted stock market index) in the years 2012 and 2016 and applying hierarchical multiple regression analysis, this study empirically verifies that CSR has a positive effect on corporate operating performance, and state ownership and infrastructure positively moderate the performance results of CSR efforts. Additionally, the results show that three dimensions (environmental, social, and governance) of CSR practices impact performance differently. Overall, this study unveils the crucial role of the local character on CSR to achieve performance and carries important theoretical and practical implications. Future research should include long panel data to increase statistical power as well as explore the linkage and synergy effect of CSR and governmental social responsibility (GSR).
  • The Ethical Balance of Using Smart Information Systems for Promoting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals

    Mark Ryan; Josephina Antoniou; Laurence Brooks; Tilimbe Jiya; Kevin Macnish; Bernd Stahl (MDPI AG, 2020-06-01)
    The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are internationally agreed goals that allow us to determine what humanity, as represented by 193 member states, finds acceptable and desirable. The paper explores how technology can be used to address the SDGs and in particular Smart Information Systems (SIS). SIS, the technologies that build on big data analytics, typically facilitated by AI techniques such as machine learning, are expected to grow in importance and impact. Some of these impacts are likely to be beneficial, notably the growth in efficiency and profits, which will contribute to societal wellbeing. At the same time, there are significant ethical concerns about the consequences of algorithmic biases, job loss, power asymmetries and surveillance, as a result of SIS use. SIS have the potential to exacerbate inequality and further entrench the market dominance of big tech companies, if left uncontrolled. Measuring the impact of SIS on SDGs thus provides a way of assessing whether an SIS or an application of such a technology is acceptable in terms of balancing foreseeable benefits and harms. One possible approach is to use the SDGs as guidelines to determine the ethical nature of SIS implementation. While the idea of using SDGs as a yardstick to measure the acceptability of emerging technologies is conceptually strong, there should be empirical evidence to support such approaches. The paper describes the findings of a set of 6 case studies of SIS across a broad range of application areas, such as smart cities, agriculture, finance, insurance and logistics, explicitly focusing on ethical issues that SIS commonly raise and empirical insights from organisations using these technologies.
  • Inter-Organizational Collaboration on Projects Supporting Sustainable Development Goals: The Company Perspective

    Iwona Escher; Pawel Brzustewicz (MDPI AG, 2020-06-01)
    There is a significant research gap in the theory of the nature of relationships between companies and other organizations (including NGOs) when collaborating on projects to support sustainable development goals. In particular, the company perspective has not yet been analyzed in depth. This paper therefore presents these relationships from the company’s point of view, and particularly in terms of how company representatives describe the roles of each partner in the collaboration and the outcomes it generates for the company. The empirical research is theoretically grounded in the Activities–Resources–Actors (ARA) model developed by Håkansson and Snehota. The study adopted a qualitative approach and was conducted using semi-structured individual in-depth interviews in 18 companies; the companies represented different industries and were involved in different types of projects related to sustainable development goals. The paper contributes to developing the theory in various ways. It contributes to the understanding of processes related to company involvement in sustainable development. It also contributes to the theory of the essence and substance of inter-organizational relationships, and specifically the ARA framework. Moreover, it explains the specificity of such inter-organizational collaborations and identifies to what extent these relationships vary from other types of inter-organizational collaboration, especially from business-to-business relationships. The paper also contributes to the discussion on the role of personal bonds within such inter-organizational relationships. The practical implications relate to the ways in which the activities and resources of a company and its partner may be combined in projects addressing social and/or environmental problems. Therefore, the paper offers guidance to companies and their potential partners interested in undertaking joint sustainability initiatives.

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