Corporate Social Responsibility and Sporting Events

Corporate Social Responsibility and Sporting Events

Samuel M. Bradley (Alvernia University, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5994-0.ch007


All businesses are expected to behave in socially responsible ways. These responsibilities include ethical treatment of employees and all stakeholders, addressing environmental issues in a sustainable manor, and contributing to the community. Corporate social responsibility is not just a concern for the manufacturers of products, but extends to all business organizations including professional teams and sporting organizations. The chapter discusses the importance of corporate socially responsible behavior and then focuses on the importance of such behavior by sporting teams and organizations. A specific discussion is presented about the responsible social behavior undertaken by the National Football League, Major League Baseball, NASCAR, Formula I racing, FIFA, the English Premier League, and the Olympic Games.
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Background: The Importance Of Corporate Social Responsibility

In today’s global environment, all business organizations whether they are producers of products or service providers expected to exhibit socially responsible corporate behavior. Viriyavidhayavongs and Yothmontree (2002) provide a definition of corporate social responsibility as the opinions of consumers, without regard to empirical evidence, regarding the corporate social values that a given organization exhibits. As the definition describes, it is not enough for a given organization to act in a socially responsible way, it must communicate that message to those people to whom it matters. Argandona and Weltzien Hoivik (2009) describe CSR as the obligation that a given organization has to return some type of benefit to the community in which it exists. A community may receive benefit in the form of social, economic or environmental support and the organization must address internal and external issues in an equally responsible way.

During the second half of the twentieth century a variety of questionable business practices and the headlines generated by major corporate scandals such as Tyco and Enron raised the consciousness of the importance of socially responsible corporate behavior. The perspective that emerged from the wake of the corporate misdeeds was that corporate socially responsible behavior is an obligation to focus on minimizing any potentially harmful effect on society while conducting business (Mohr, Webb & Harris, 2001). Much of the literature that was published around the turn of the 21st century agrees regarding the importance of socially responsible corporate behavior.

The literature on corporate social responsibility is consistent in the message regarding the importance of all types of organizations to behave in a socially responsible way. This perspective was clearly stated by Murphy (2010) that “in today’s wired and transparent global economy, companies that ‘out behave’ their competitors ethically will also tend to outperform them financially” (p.90). Guzman and Paswan (2009) offered a similar perspective with the contention that an organization cannot be separated from society. This is of particular importance for a sporting organization in that much of the identity that is developed is based in a societal context. Given today’s instant global communication, any transgression committed by a team’s organization or a player on a given squad will get international attention in a very short period of time.

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