Extending the Field: An Empirical Research

Extending the Field: An Empirical Research

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7946-5.ch005

Abstract

The aim of this chapter is to present empirical research the author conducted in the fields of corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication and cultural dimensions. The chapter evaluates how Hofstede's cultural dimensions in CSR content varies between companies in the Asian context and other organisations in the world. The research considers three out of Hofstede's five cultural dimensions: individualism vs. collectivism, power distance, and uncertainty avoidance. The first part of the empirical research analyses these cultural dimensions and introduces the research questions. Answering these questions allows the author to compare the CSR communication of countries with an Asian background with the CSR communications of other countries. Moreover, the chapter illustrates the pros and cons of applying a content analysis (i.e., the select method) to achieve an in-depth understanding of the cultural influence on CSR contents embedded in corporate websites. Finally, the chapter recommends areas for further discussion and research of the relation between culture and CSR.
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Background: Setting The Research Questions

The author applied Hofstede’s cultural research to investigate and assess cultural differences among national areas through its five dimensions (Hofstede, 1980, 1991; Hofstede & Hofstede, 2005). According to previous studies, as chapter one of this book highlighted, Hofstede’s framework is a good starting point to explore the cultural dynamics which are rooted in different countries (Shi & Wang, 2011).

Among others, several researchers and academics have observed the influence of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions on ethical behaviours (McCarthy & Shrum, 2001), on communication campaigns (Christie, Kwon, Stoeberl, & Baumhart, 2003), on reputation (Swoboda & Hirschmann, 2017), and on ethical decision-making procedures (Rodriguez & Brown, 2014).

Furthermore, several researchers demonstrated that Hofstede’s cultural dimensions can impact on Web features and online communication, too. For example, Singh and Matsuo (2004), and Snelders, Morel, and Havermans (2011) show a different level of cultural adaptation on the Web between U.S. and Japanese websites, due to their cultural values. At the same time, Marcus and Gould (2000), and Moura, Singh, and Chun (2016) say that cultural peculiarities on the website can be highlighted within the user-interface design.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Online Community: An online community is a group of people with common interests, and who use the Internet tools and spaces (e.g., blogs, websites, and email) to communicate, create something together, and pursue common interests over time. According to Weber (1963) , the community to which people belong nowadays is no longer the community of place, but a community of interest which, within a freely communicating society, needs not to be spatially determined, as individuals are able to interact with each other wherever they are located.

Philanthropy: Philanthropy is defined as a company’s allocation of resources to charitable or social service programs ( Ricks & Williams, 2005 ).

Reputational Capital: Reputational capital is the total amount of the value of all corporate intangible elements which include: business procedures, brands and trademarks, ethics and integrity features, quality and safety of products/services, CSR, and resilience. A positive reputation capital will provide long-term competitive advantages. Moreover, reputation capital is a corporate asset that can be, to some extent, managed, enhanced, and exchanged for loyalty, legitimisation, social recognition, premium prices, stakeholders’ awareness, and trust in times of crisis.

Dow Jones Sustainability Word Index (DJSWI): The DJSWI is an international sustainability benchmark, and has become a relevant reference point in CSR for investors and other stakeholders. The DJSWI is developed on the analysis of economic, environmental, and social actions, evaluating items such as governance, risk management, branding, climate change mitigation, supply chain, and other practices. It includes general as well as industry-specific CSR issues for 58 business sectors which have been individualised following the Industry Classification Benchmark.

Hang Seng (Mainland and HK) Corporate Sustainability Index (HSMHUS): The HSMHUS index, comprising three indexes covering Hong Kong-listed and Mainland-listed organisations which pay attention to CSR, aims to offer benchmarks for CSR investments. The selection process of the companies is based on the results of a sustainability assessment performed by the Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency, an autonomous assessment body.

Globalisation: Globalisation is the interactive coevolution of cultural, technological, social, economic, and environmental trends, considering all possible spatio-temporal dimensions. Moreover, from a managerial point of view, it is the process by which businesses or other organisations build their international power or initiate operating on an international level.

Stakeholder: The definition of stakeholder was coined in 1963 by the Stanford Research Institute. It refers to all those individuals (or groups) who have an interest in a company and without whose support the organisation cannot survive. For this reason, this also includes groups which are not linked by an exclusively economic relationship with the organisation. According to Freeman (1984) , stakeholders include all individuals or groups who can substantially affect or are affected by the corporate performance.

Business Ethics: Business ethics is the set of ethical rules that directs how organisations operate, how managerial decisions are made, and how relationships with stakeholders are developed. For this reason, following business ethics involves that companies have to be responsible for the effects of any of their actions on society and environment.

Content Analysis: Content analysis has been defined as a systematic, reproducible method for aggregating many words of a speech or a written text into fewer content classes, based on clear rules of coding. A broad definition of content analysis says that it includes any useful procedures for making inferences by neutrally and analytically classifying specified features of texts and messages.

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