Impact of Digital Transformations on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Practices in Turkey: A Study of the Current Environment

Impact of Digital Transformations on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Practices in Turkey: A Study of the Current Environment

Aslıhan Kıymalıoğlu (Akdeniz University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5175-2.ch006
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Each year, corporations have been donating millions of dollars for non-profit organizations in order to fulfil their duty towards society, and companies are engaging in many approaches in order to strengthen their relationship with consumers. One of these is corporate social responsibility (CSR). The purpose of this chapter is to consolidate an understanding of real-world business practices with an academic research perspective and to inform the reader on the developments in CSR practices in the digital environment. With this purpose, a descriptive research is adopted that will include a content analysis of the companies that will be selected from the list of Fortune 500 in Turkey, and the data from the web pages of the top 100 companies will be analysed. The results indicate that large Turkish companies are lagging behind global companies with regards to digitalisation of CSR practices and institutionalisation of their CSR practices when compared to the corporations in developed countries.
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Each year, corporations have been donating millions of dollars for non-profit organizations in order to fulfil their duty towards society. The rapid changes in especially the technology have altered the classical rules of the business.

Together with the financial responsibilities of the firms towards its shareholders, societal responsibility has become as much important. Consumers, who used to be concerned with only the product, now turned their attention to the company. It is no longer preferred by consumers to be a loved-brand, but instead being a loving-brand is more reputable, where CSR plays a crucial role. In addition to the company’s prominence in business issues, sensitivity towards issues related to the society has become an emphasized matter. The social consequences of consumers’ purchase behaviour have become a major concern for them. They expect a behavioural change by being a part of the campaigns raised by the company. It allows development of society through solving social problems and raising awareness besides changing attitudes (Elden, Yeygel Cakir & Bakir, 2011). The prevalence of the concept can be explained by repeating a search by Idowu (2017) where he has googled the concept and obtained a result of 77,000,000 in 48 seconds; whereas it was 318,000,000 in 55 seconds at the time of the current study, increasing in more than 4 times in the two-year period.

This change has been fostered with the digital revolution where consumers are going through a completely different journey. Digital revolution started in 1980s and refers to the improvements in use of technology. Its impact is listed as the effects on business and revenue models, new digital channels and media, and the penetration of data (Leeflang et al., 2014) and is reflected not only on business practices, but also on education, society, politics and government.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices of the companies are one of these areas which have been transformed as a result of digital revolution. It has become easier to collect and share the information worldwide, to receive feedback from stakeholders rapidly and easily, and to turn CSR communication into an interactive process (Antal, Dierkes, MacMillan & Marz, 2002; Orbik & Zozul’akova, 2019). The digital age has transformed the way corporations communicate with the society. This “dynamization of communication” (Castello, Morsing & Schultz, 2013) enabled democratization of society as all the issues pertaining to the society could be discussed from diverse perspectives by reducing the barriers. Despite the prevalent dominance of digitalization, only limited number of businesses could go beyond using internet only for reporting the CSR practices. The number of digital CSR practices does not reflect the pace of digital transformation experienced.

The aims of this study are to investigate the CSR environment in Turkey, which is an important destination for business, commerce, and trade, and strategically located between Europe, Asia, & Africa. And analysing the data from top 100 companies from Fortune 500 list will provide a valuable information about the impact of Digital Transformations on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Practices in Turkey. Findings will reveal the current situation with regards to integration of digital developments with CSR practice in Turkey.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Digital Transformation: It is the process of using advanced digital technologies to develop or change business processes in order to meet the requirements of the modern-day business approach and the market.

Corporate Social Responsibility: It is a term describing obligations of a company towards all its stakeholders in all its activities to behave ethically and contributing their welfare. Companies are required to consider their need to profit together with their societal influence.

Annual Report: It is a comprehensive report of company about all the operations and activities performed in the previous year.

Digital CSR: A corporate social responsibility campaign that is a carried out only through digital tools such as web site or social media accounts of the company. It can aim raising awareness or participating in any social activity which would result in philanthropy.

Content Analysis: It is a research method that studies documents, texts, pictures, etc. is a predetermined and systematic way to examine the patterns.

Fortune 500: It is a list published annually by the Fortune magazine that ranks companies according to certain criteria.

Web Publishing: It is publishing a content on the internet.

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