Skip to main content
Log in

Corporate Social Responsibility as a Dynamic Internal Organizational Process: A Case Study

  • Published:
Journal of Business Ethics Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

This article tracks Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as an emergent organizational process that places the employee at its center. Predominantly, research on CSR tends to focus on external pressures and outcomes leading to a neglect of CSR as a dynamic and developing process that relies on the involvement of the employee as a major stakeholder in its co-creation and implementation. Utilizing case study data drawn from a study of a large multinational energy company, we explore how management relies on employees’ interaction with CSR as the process of initiation → implementation → maturation develops. Employee involvement grows from a minor element in the CSR initiation stage to a vital contributory factor in CSR’s success in the later stages of the process. The article offers new insights into a processual and interactional approach to CSR that accounts for the actions of different actors involved at each stage. Most unusually, it also recognizes the dual impact this has on broader issues concerning the management and involvement of employees through CSR actions, and gaining legitimacy in the eyes of not only external stakeholders but internal too.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Aaronson, S. A.: 2005, ‘“Minding Our Business”: What the United States Government Has Done and Can Do to Ensure that U.S. Multinationals Act Responsibly in Foreign Markets’, Journal of Business Ethics, 59(1-2), 175–98.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Agle, B. R., Mitchell, R. K. & Sonnenfeld, J. A.: 1999, ‘Who matters to CEOs? An investigation of stakeholder attributes and salience corporate performance and CEO values’, Academy of Management Journal, 42(5), 507-25.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Asongu, J. J.: 2007. ‘The History of Corporate Social Responsibility’, Journal of Business and Public Policy, 1(2), 1-18.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bakan, J.: 2004, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power. Constable, London, pp. 25–59.

    Google Scholar 

  • Balabanis, G., Phillips, H. C. & Lyall, J.: 1998, ‘Corporate social responsibility and economic performance in the top British companies: are they linked?’, European Business Review 98(1), 25-44.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Basil, D. Z., & Weber, D.: 2006, ‘Values motivation and concern for appearances: the effect of personality traits on responses to corporate social responsibility’, International Journal of Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Marketing 11, 61–72.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bolton, S. C.: 2007, Dimensions of Dignity at Work (Butterworth Heinemann, London).

    Google Scholar 

  • Bolton, S. C. & Wibberley, G.: 2007, ‘Best Companies, Best Practice and Dignity at Work’, in S. C. Bolton (eds), Dimensions of Dignity at Work. Butterworth Heinemann: London, pp. 134-153.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Boxall, P. & Purcell, J.: 2003, Strategy and Human Resource Management. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, pp. 11-13.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bragues, G.: 2006, ‘Seek the Good Life, Not Money: The Aristotelian Approach to Business. Ethics’, Journal of Business Ethics 67, 341-357.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Branco, M. C. & Rodrigues, L. L.: 2006, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility and Resource-Based Perspectives’, Journal of Business Ethics 69(2), 111-32.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Carroll, A. B.: 1979, ‘A Three-Dimensional Conceptual Model of Corporate Social Performance’, Academy of Management Review 4(4), 497-505.

    Google Scholar 

  • Carroll, A. N. & Bucholtz, A. K.: 2003, Business and Society: Ethics and Stakeholder Management. Thomson Learning: Mason, pp. 47-65.

    Google Scholar 

  • Carson, T. L.: 2003, ‘Self-interest and business ethics: Some lessons of the recent corporate scandals’, Journal of Business Ethics 43(4), 389-394.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Clulow, V.: 2005, ‘Futures dilemmas for marketers: can stakeholder analysis add value?’, European Journal of Marketing 39(9/10), 978-98.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Collier, J., & Esteban, R. (2007). Corporate social responsibility and employee commitment. Business Ethics. Oxford, 16(1), 19-33.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cowe, R., Draper, S., Elkington, J. & Knight, D.: 2002, The Corporate Social Responsibility Manual: A practical approach to sustainable business (Spiro Press, Rollinsford).

    Google Scholar 

  • Cragg, W.: 2000, ‘Human rights and business ethics: Fashioning a new social contract’, Journal of Business Ethics 27(1/2), 205-215.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • de Wit, M., Wade, M. & Schouten, E.: 2006, ‘Hardwiring and softwiring corporate responsibility: a vital combination’, Corporate Governance 6(4), 491-505.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Donaldson, T. & Preston, L.: 1995, ‘The Stakeholder Theory of the Corporation: Concepts, Evidence, and Implications’, Academy of Management Review 20(1), 65-91.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dunning J. H. 2003. Making Globalization Good: The Moral Challenges of Global Capitalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 11-40.

    Google Scholar 

  • Eisenhardt, K. M., & Graebner, M. E.: 2007, ‘Theory Building From Cases: Opportunities and Challenges’, Academy of Management Journal 50(1), 25-32.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Euh, Y.-D. & Rhee, J. H.: 2007, ‘Lessons from the Korean Crisis: Policy and Managerial Implications’, Long Range Planning 40(2007), 431-445.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Farrelly, F. J. & Greyser, S. A.: 2007, ‘Sports Sponsorship to Rally the Home Team’, Harvard Business Review 85(9), 22-24.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ferrary, M.: 2009, ‘A Stakeholder’s Perspective on Human Resource Management’, Journal of Business Ethics 87(1), 31-43.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Frankental, P.: 2001, ‘Corporate social responsibility - a PR invention?’, Corporate Communications 6(1), 18-24.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Freeman, R. E.: 1984, Strategic management: A stakeholder approach (Pitman Publishing, Boston).

    Google Scholar 

  • Freeman, R. E.: 1994, ‘The politics of stakeholder theory: Some future directions’, Business Ethics Quarterly 4(4), 409-421.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Freeman, R. E. & Phillips, R.: 2002, ‘Stakeholder theory: A libertarian defense’, Business Ethics Quarterly 12(3), 331-350.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Frynas, J. G.: 2003, ‘Global Monitor: Royal Dutch/Shell’, New Political Economy 8(2), 275-285.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ghauri, P. 2004. ‘Designing and Conducting Case Studies in International Business Research’. In: Marschan-Piekkari P. Welch C. (eds). Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods for International Business. Edward Elgar: Cheltenham, pp.109-124.

    Google Scholar 

  • Giddens, A.: 1984, The Constitution of Society: Outline of the Theory of Structuration (University of California Press, Berkeley).

    Google Scholar 

  • Gooderham, P., Nordhaug, O. 2003, International management: Cross Boundary Challenges. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, pp.336-355.

    Google Scholar 

  • Grayson, D. & Hodges, A.: 2001, Everybody’s Business: Managing risks and opportunities in today’s global society (Dorling Kindersley, London).

    Google Scholar 

  • Greening, D. W. & Turban, D. B.: 2000, ‘Corporate social performance as a competitive advantage in attracting a quality Workforce’, Business and Society 39(3), 254-280.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hine, J. A. H. S. & Preuss, L.: 2009, ‘“Society is Out There, Organisation is in Here”: On the Perceptions of Corporate Social Responsibility Held by Different Managerial Groups’, Journal of Business Ethics 88(2), 381-393.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Houghton, S. M., Gabel, J. T. A. & Williams, D. W.: 2009, ‘Connecting the Two Faces of CSR: Does Employee Volunteerism Improve Compliance?’ Journal of Business Ethics 87(4), 477-494.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Husted, B. W.: 2005, ‘Risk Management, Real Options, Corporate Social Responsibility’, Journal of Business Ethics 60(2), 175-183.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Husted, B. W. & Allen, D. B.: 2006, ‘Corporate social responsibility in the multinational enterprise: strategic and institutional approaches’, Journal of International Business Studies. Washington 37(6), 838-849.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jawahar, I. M. & McLaughlin, G. L.: 2001, ‘Toward a descriptive stakeholder theory: An organizational life cycle approach’, The Academy of Management Review 26(3), 397-414.

    Google Scholar 

  • Johansen, T. R.: 2008, ‘Employees and the Operation of Accountability’, Journal of Business Ethics 83(2), 247-263.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jones, T. M.: 1995, ‘Instrumental stakeholder theory: A synthesis of ethics and economics’, The Academy of Management Review 20(2), 404-437.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kakabadse, A. & Kakabadse, N.: 2007, CSR in Practice: Delving Deep (Palgrave Macmillan, New York).

    Google Scholar 

  • Kant, I.: 1785/1993, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals translated by James W. Ellington (Hackett, Indianapolis).

  • Karnes, R. E.: 2009, ‘A Change in Business Ethics: The Impact on Employer–Employee Relations’, Journal of Business Ethics 87, 189–197.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • KPMG: 2005, KPMG International Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting (KPMG Global Sustainability Service).

  • Maak, T. & Pless, N. M.: 2009, ‘Business Leaders as Citizens of the World. Advancing Humanism on a Global Scale’, Journal of Business Ethics 88(3), 537-550.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McWilliams, A., Siegel, D. S. & Wright, P. M.: 2006, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility: Strategic Implications’, Journal of Management Studies 43(1), 1-18.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Morgan, G.: 1986, Images of Organization (Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA).

    Google Scholar 

  • Orlitzky, M. & Benjamin, J. D.: 2001, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility and Firm Risk: A meta-analytic review’, Business and Society 40(4), 369-396.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Packer, A. H. & Sharrar, G. K.: 2003, ‘Linking lifelong learning, corporate social responsibility, and the changing nature of work’, Advances in Developing Human Resources 5(3), 332-341.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pinnington, A., Macklin, R. & Campbell, T.: 2007, Human Resource Management: Ethics and Employment. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 121-127.

    Google Scholar 

  • Porter, M. & Kramer, M. R.: 2002, ‘The competitive advantage of corporate philanthropy’, Harvard Business Review 80(12), 57-68.

    Google Scholar 

  • Porter, M. & Kramer, M. R.: 2006, ‘Strategy & Society: The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility’, Harvard Business Review 84(12), 78-92.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pursey P., Heugens, A., Kaptein, van Oosterhout, J. (2008) Contracts to Communities: A Processual Model of Organizational Virtue. Journal of Management Studies 45(1), 100–121.

    Google Scholar 

  • Redington I. 2005. Making CSR Happen: the contribution of people management. London: The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

    Google Scholar 

  • Reich, R.: 2007, Supercapitalism: The Battle for Democracy in an Age of Big Business (Alfred A. Knopf: New York), pp. 168-173.

    Google Scholar 

  • Remenyi, D., Williams, B., Money, A., & Swartz, E.: 1998, Doing Research in Business and Management, (Sage Publications : London).

    Google Scholar 

  • Rodrigo, P. & Arenas, D.: 2008, ‘Do Employees Care About CSR Programs? A Typology of Employees According to their Attitudes’, Journal of Business Ethics 83(2), 265-283.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rodrigues, S. & Child, J.: 2008, ‘The Development of Corporate Identity: A Political Perspective’, Journal of Management Studies 45(5), 885-911.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rowley, T. J.: 1997, ‘Moving Beyond Dyadic Ties: A Network Theory of Stakeholder Influences’, Academy of Management Review 22(4), 887-910.

    Google Scholar 

  • Scholtens, B.: 2006, ‘Finance as a Driver of Corporate Social Responsibility’, Journal of Business Ethics 68(1), 19-33.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sharratt, D., Brigham, B. H. & Brigham, M.: 2007, ‘The Utility of Social Obligations in the UK Energy Industry’, Journal of Management Studies 44(8), 1503-1522.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Siggelkow, N. (2007). Persuasion With Case Studies. Academy of Management Journal, 50(1), 20-24.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Smith, A.: 1976 [1776], An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of Wealth Of Nations (Liberty Fund: Indianapolis).

  • Smith, A.: 1982 (1759), The Theory of Moral Sentiments (Oxford University Press, Oxford).

  • Story, D. & Price, T. J.: 2006, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility and Risk Management?’, The Journal of Corporate Citizenship 22(Summer), 39-51.

    Google Scholar 

  • Szwajkowski, E.: 2000, ‘Simplifying the Principles of Stakeholder Management: The Three Most Important Principles’, Business and Society 39(4), 379-396.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Taylor, J.: 2002, ‘Enron Was No Friend to Free Markets’, Wall Street Journal (Eastern edition), 21 January: 12.

  • ten Bos, Rene.: 1997, ‘Essai: Business Ethics and Bauman Ethics’, Organization Studies 18(6), 997-1014.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • The Sunday Times: 2009, The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies 2009, (The Sunday Times in association with CIPD, London).

    Google Scholar 

  • Tilson, D. & Donald, V.: 1985, ‘Corporate Philanthropy Comes of Age’, Public Relations Review 11(2), 26-33.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tsai, M. T. & Huang, C. C.: 2008, ‘The Relationship among Ethical Climate Types, Facets of Job Satisfaction, and the Three Components of Organizational Commitment: A Study of Nurses in Taiwan’, Journal of Business Ethics 80, 565-581.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Turban, D. & Greening, D.: 1997, ‘Corporate Social Performance and Organizational Attractiveness to Prospective Employees’, Academy of Management Journal 40(3), 658-672.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ullmann, A.: 1985, ‘Data in search of a theory: a critical examination of the relationships among social performance, social disclosure, and economic performance of US firms’, Academy of Management Review 10(3), 540-557.

    Google Scholar 

  • van Tulder, R. & Kolk, A.: 2001, ‘Multinationality and corporate ethics: codes of conduct in the sporting goods industry’, Journal of International Business Studies 32(2), 267-283.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vogel, D.: 2005, The Market for Virtue: The Potential And Limits Of Corporate Social Responsibility (Brookings Institution Press, Washington).

    Google Scholar 

  • Vuontisjärvi, T.: 2006. ‘Corporate Social Reporting in the European Context and Human Resource Disclosures: An Analysis of Finnish Companies’, Journal of Business Ethics 69(4), 331-354.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Welford, R.: 2005, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility in Europe, North America and Asia: 2004 Survey Results,’ The Journal of Corporate Citizenship 17(Spring), 33-51.

    Google Scholar 

  • Werther, W. B. J. & Chandler, D.: 2005, ‘Strategic corporate social responsibility as global brand insurance’, Business Horizons 48(4), 317-324.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wheeler, D., Fabig, H. & Boele, R.: 2002, ‘Paradoxes and Dilemmas for Stakeholder Responsive Firms in the Extractive Sector: Lessons from the Case of Shell and the Ogoni’, Journal of Business Ethics 39(3), 297-318.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • White, J. A.: 2004, ‘Globalisation, Divestment and Human Rights in Burma’, The Journal of Corporate Citizenship 14(Summer), 47-65.

    Google Scholar 

  • Zappala, G. (2004). Corporate Citizenship and Human Resource Management: A New Tool or a Missed Opportunity? Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources. London, 42(2), 185-201.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rebecca Chung-hee Kim.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bolton, S.C., Kim, R.Ch. & O’Gorman, K.D. Corporate Social Responsibility as a Dynamic Internal Organizational Process: A Case Study. J Bus Ethics 101, 61–74 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-010-0709-5

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-010-0709-5

Key words

Navigation