Disclosure of Corporate Social Responsibility on the Websites of Portuguese Foundations

Disclosure of Corporate Social Responsibility on the Websites of Portuguese Foundations

Rui Robalo (School of Management and Technology of Santarém, Portugal) and Wilson Patrocínio (School of Management and Technology of Santarém, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8482-7.ch010


This chapter aims to assess how the Portuguese foundations manage and disclosure on their websites information on corporate social responsibility (CSR). The study performs the assessment of the sampled foundations holding a website accessible to the broad public and being members of the Portuguese Foundation Centre. The evidence of this study impacts therefore the literature review on three ways. Firstly, it sheds light on the diversity of CSR policies undertaken by foundations, through the scale perspective and the CSR content categories. Secondly, it claims how distinct CSR information trends can be triggered by needs of legitimacy towards the stakeholders unlike other types of organizations. Lastly, the evidence provided by this study suggests that there in not a significant influence of the dimension factor of the foundations on the amount of CSR information they disclose, which contradicts evidence of previous studies.
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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) presents an integrated vision of social and environmental concepts in companies' operations and interactions with their stakeholders in a voluntary manner (Dincer & Dincer, 2010). CSR will be analyzed in this study by disseminating the quantity and typology of information disclosure on the websites of Portuguese foundations.

The literature on the analysis of CSR has been carried out predominantly through studies based mainly on companies, as are the cases of studies of Chaudhri & Wang (2007), Dincer & Dincer (2010), and Branco et al. (2014). However, more recent studies (e.g. Gálvez-Rodríguez et al., 2012, 2014; Tremblay-Boire & Prakash, 2014) have already studied this subject through non-profit organizations, more precisely through non-governmental organizations. We intend to contribute empirically by using another type of non-profit organizations, specifically foundations, which we do not believe to have been the subject of studies by the scientific community, and which may provide different results on the commitment of this type of organizations in the dissemination of the quantity and quality of CSR disclosure.

The analysis of the disclosure tool itself also gains preponderance in this study. The fact that CSR dissemination analysis has evolved mainly through studies based on annual reports, raises the importance of analyzing the dissemination of other types of dissemination tools (Fifka, 2012). Therefore, we intend to study the dissemination of CSR through the Internet, another usual tool in the exposure of information in the context of social responsibility (e.g. Chapple & Moon, 2005; Chaudhri & Wang, 2007; Chen & Bouvain, 2009; Silva, 2015). For example, Silva (2015) says that it is relevant to study the use of Internet, in this study represented by the websites, to communicate the information related to CSR, as consumer awareness and the competitive environment exerts a certain amount of pressure to the benefit of the society in which they are placed so that the entities disclose CSR practices. In fact, non-profit organizations are strategically using their own personal website to present themselves to the public and share information (Lee & Blouin, 2017).

This study will be used as a methodology similar to those adopted in the studies of Chaudhri & Wang (2007), Dincer & Dincer (2010), and Branco et al. (2014) This will allow the comparison between studies that analyzed the dissemination of CSR in different temporal spaces, types of organizations and cultural contexts. With the purpose of supporting the analysis of the CSR theme between our study and the others, this study has as a theoretical support the theory of legitimacy and the theory of stakeholders, two theories connected to the corporate disclosure of information on social affairs.

In the next section we review the concept, objectives and tools of disclosure of CSR, as well as the underlying theories chosen to explain their dissemination, more specifically the theory of stakeholders and the theory of legitimacy. In the third section, we present the research methodology, including the definition of the study sample, the process of data collection and analysis. In the fourth section, the results are presented and discussed. Contributions, limitations and perspectives of future research are in the final section.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Sustainability: The ability to use natural, economic, and social resources to meet our current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to satisfy their own needs.

Code of Conduct: A document that aims to establish the rules and general principles of ethics and professional conduct of employees of a given organization.

Corporate Social Responsibility: A framework that aims to present an integrated vision of social and environmental organizations’ operations and interactions with their stakeholders in a voluntary manner.

Portuguese Foundation Centre: A Private Association of public utility, formed by Portuguese foundations characterized by different origins, dimensions, purposes, and scopes of action.

Foundation: Non-profit organizations that proactively contribute to social, educational, scientific, environmental, or cultural progress.

Philanthropy: Act of helping others, through various altruistic and supportive attitudes that collaborate with support for other human beings.

Sustainability Report: A report published by an organization about the economic, environmental, and social impacts caused by its everyday activities.

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