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How corporate social responsibility activities impact on management decision making?

Abstract

This study is based on corporate social responsibility in the context of Marks & Spencer. To purpose of the study is to understand and analyze the CSR impact on the decision making of management.

For this, the researcher has considered the findings of various past researches and analysis of annual reports and web content to achieve the study objectives. The study is based on method of secondary data analysis. This study describes the major CSR activities implemented by Marks & Spencer in the UK.

The findings of annual report and web content are linked with the finding of the literature review which has maintained the reliability of the study. 

The findings highlight that management decision making is influenced by board of directors who plays a major role in making strategic decisions for participation in CSR, implementation of CSR across the organization and decision related to disclosure.

It is also found that management decision making is impacted by the features of corporate governance as board composition and board and gender diversity. Based on the findings, few ways are identified to integrate CSR within management decisions to attain more effective strategic decisions for Marks & Spencer in the UK.

Chapter 1

1.1 Research problem

Following a global tendency, the firms around the world are focusing on a new role of corporate citizenship to be accountable for the impact of their operational activities on societies and natural environment. They are trying to apply sustainability aspects in their operational activities and decisions to meet both business and social requirements.

From the last decade, there has been immense interest of companies in the activities of corporate social responsibilities. One of reasons for growing interest in social responsibilities is due to the changing judgment of different stakeholders towards a company success in marketplace (Nielsen and Nielsen, 2011).

Stakeholders are evaluating company success based on its social and environmental impacts and ability to manage interest of different stakeholders along with economic success.

The corporate social responsibility (CSR) refers to adoption of the practices with the inclusion of social and environmental concerns in the business operations and to fulfill the interests of the stakeholders (De Groot et al., 2010). Therefore, the adoption of CSR has a significant impact on the decision making of the firms in fulfilling the interests of the stakeholders.

However, it is not easy for the firms to fulfill the interests of all stakeholders due to presence of conflict of interests of different stakeholders. In order to deliver both private and public benefits, it is required for the organizations to make changes in their decisions and reshape their rules and business models accordingly.

Moreover, despite the participation of company in CSR activities, there has been a gap in terms of CSR performance and disclosure policies which varies from company to company(Fassin et al., 2011).

This indicates lack of ability of the key decision makers’ i.e. senior management or board of directors in reaching a consensus for strategic decision based on CSR participation, social investments and initiatives to lessen the impact on environment through its business operations. Thus, board of directors as prime decision makers holds responsibility for fulfillment of the CSR objectives.

In addition to this, organizations also need to develop a variety of strategies to deal with societal needs, natural environment and business requirements also. It is significant aspect for the firms to integrate the social responsibility approaches into both strategy and routine operational decisions (Obrad et al., 2011).

Apart from this, it is also necessary for the companies to address the business ethics, stakeholder management and global corporate citizenship that is challenging task for them.

All three angles of the Triple bottom line (TBL) including environment, societal and business areas have a significant influence on the decision making of the firms to protect environment and human rights, provide equal opportunities at workplace and do fair competition and do good for the community.

1.2 Research aim and objectives

For this study, the following research question was drafted:

How corporate social responsibility activities impact on management decision making?

It reflects the aim of this research to assess that in what ways, the implementation of a CSR approach does influence the strategic decisions and behaviors of the firms.

In order to answer this research question, the following objectives were framed to complete this research study:

  • To develop theoretical concepts related to CSR and strategic management
  • To determine the relationship between CSR activities and strategic decisions and behaviors adopted by the firms: in case study of Marks & Spencer
  • To suggest ways to integrate CSR with the management decision making more effectively: in case study of Marks & Spencer

1.3 Research justification

Recently, the most of scholars and executives have focused on the implication of the CSR practices on the business performance. However, despite the discussion in the literature related to relation between CSR and business performance, e.g. Costa and Menichini (2013), Fassin et al. (2011) andGill (2015) the efforts of these authors are not effective to fulfill the theoretical gaps for the CSR and its impact on decision making within the organizations.

Thus, the undertaken study is justified by the lack of academic aspects regarding the effect of CSR on the decision making in the organizations. This study focuses on different CSR theories like instrumental theories, political theories, integrative theories and ethical theories.

This research project seeks to enrich the theoretical aspects related to the social responsibility of the firms and their relation with the decisions and contribute to the existing literature on the associations between CSR and decision making within the organizations.

Apart from this, the undertaken research may be effective for the managers and employees to make effective decisions with the consideration of CSR approach. It makes them accountable for their activities towards social responsibility and natural environment.

Apart from this, it might be effective for the management of the firms to take strategic decisions by focusing on CSR framework. The linkage between the concepts of CSR and strategic decisions within the firm may be helpful for the management to decide which decisions are effective and right.

1.4 Research plan

In order to conduct this research, the secondary data was collected by the researcher. The study findings are analyzed by using the thematic analysis based on impact of CSR on strategic decision making of the firms.

For this, qualitative data is collected that helped to make theoretical understanding of the topic based on different CSR theories and concepts. Apart from this, the focus on selected cases study of Marks & Spencer is also helpful to fulfill the practical gaps and make the research more relevant in current context.

1.5 Structure of project

The first chapter is introduction chapter that outlines the purpose and structure of the research project. It also highlights the context to the research problem and discusses the research plan.

The second chapter is literature review that covers a critical analysis of the different perspectives and arguments developed in the field of research related to the topic. It helps to develop theoretical understanding of the research topic.

The next chapter of the dissertation is related to research methodology that includes research philosophy, research approach, research design, data collection methods and sampling.

In fourth chapter, results are presented regarding the research study with the consideration of CSR aspects and strategic decisions of the management in context of case study.

The discussion is the fifth chapter that helps to present the findings with the support of literature review.

The final chapter presents conclusion of the research by providing short summary of the key outcomes. It also provides limitations of the study and directions for future research.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

2.1 Introduction

This chapter briefly provides a review of different researchers on impact of CSR activities on management decision making. This literature review chapter helps in defining and collecting a large quantity of data that help in identifying and understanding research problem. In this research study, data is collected from one source, i.e., secondary data which include articles, the internet, journals, books, etc.

This secondary data source collection helps in deeply analyzing the data so that required understanding and information can be collected about the research topic. In this chapter, various researchers view are identified and studied which help an existing researcher to add on its input in the same field so that future researcher can use that for their literature review.

In addition, this research study will help in developing knowledge through different theories and concepts that will assist a researcher in defining the influence of CSR activities on the decision making by the management.

2.2 Theoretical concepts

2.2.1 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

The concept of corporate social responsibility has always been in study of theorist, researchers, academicians, investors and capitalists. CSR as a business concept has evolved since 2000 with many large businesses have started to reflect on the impact of management decisions on the CSR issues related to environmental and social aspects(Nielsen and Nielsen, 2011).

However, Wettstein (2012) states that CSR theory has been surrounded by the ethical and moral dilemmas for stakeholders in terms of managerial behavior and decision making in an organization. Hence, the concept of CSR relates to the responsibility of the firm and stakeholders’ obligation towards the community.

The role of key stakeholders cannot be ignored as these hold accountabilities in influence the corporate policies and practices of CSR.Maon et al. (2009) put forwards that value systems and management decisions are vital to implement processes and strategies related to CSR.

In the words of Du et al.(2010), corporate social responsibility is been seen as a way or measure which any business organization to do something little more for the benefit of the society, the environment, the various customers, etc. every organization is expected to do something for the welfare of the society and also to show concern towards the society as a whole.

By adopting the corporate social responsibility companies are not only benefiting the society but also themselves to a great extent. In support of this (Carroll and Shabana, 2010) stated that CSR gives the employees of a company to contribute their inputs for the society. Incorporating CSR activities also help the company to enhance its overall image in the market as well as in front of the various stakeholders’.

The CSR of the company towards it employees is also that they make sure that there is no excess pressure on the employees or the suppliers as well as they are no biasness in the organization.

According to (Arora and Dharwadkar, 2011) adopting CSR by the company also helps to reduce the negative behavior that helps to improve organizational productivity. CSR also helps to foster the relationships that exist among the company and its various key stakeholders and in return they contribute in improving the productivity of the company.

Corporate social responsibility is not only identified as by how much money is been spent by any business organization but by the overall involvement of the company in the various activities that helps to enhance and improve the quality of people’s lives. It is also seen that there are no mandatory norms to carry out the corporate social responsibility activities.

The literature on CSR recognizes the different elements of CSR under four layers of responsibility in a CSR pyramid proposed by Carroll in 1991. The different responsibilities are economical (which form the bottom of the pyramid), philanthropic (forms the top of pyramid), legal and ethical (these form the middle part of the pyramid).

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Figure 1: CSR pyramid (Yelkikalan and  Köse, 2012)

According to the responsibility pyramid, the economic responsibility forms the fundamental responsibility of the firm which includes achieving business profits by meeting the needs and expectation of the consumer markets.Nalband and Kelabi (2014)mention that legal responsibility refer to the firm liability to operate with legal compliance whereas ethical responsibility requires the firm to consider the business ethical standards to act as socially responsible to fulfill social demands.

Considering the philanthropic responsibility, Yelkikalan and Köse (2012) point this responsibility requires the firm to assume the responsibility of a being good citizen that is committed towards making contribution in community resources.

2.2.2 Strategic management

According to Nielsen and Nielsen(2011), strategic management refers to the process of establishing or setting of long term goals as well as various objectives. It means implementing the various goals set by the company on behalf of the owners. It also helps to provide the company overall directions as well as framing out the various policies and plan which are been designed in order to achieve the objectives.

In support of this De Groot et al. (2010) stated that Strategic decision making is also important for the company as it helps to transform the company into large industries. It refers to the process of creating the mission of the company and also deciding the course of actions a company should take to achieve those objectives or goals.

Effective strategic decision making done by company, helps it to increase its performance, success and also its productivity to a great extent. Galbreath (2009) describes strategic management is linked to the CSR as a form of management that comprises of strategic decisions and ethical issue for different aspects of a business. The strategic management has consequences for business in social and economic aspects.

 Thus, Nielsen and Nielsen (2011) suggests by integration of the policies of the CSR into the strategic management can be useful to assist the frames in improving the business sustainability.  This is evident from the case of many Japanese firms like Takeda Pharmaceutical that have incorporated the CSR into the strategic management to improve business-process reliability and enhanced image as corporate citizenship through disclosure of CSR reports.

2.2.3 Corporate governance

The literature on corporate governance reflect on strategic management that state role of director to be crucial in taking decisions to guide the organization to follow sustainability principle(Balta et al., 2010). The literature on corporate governance also highlights the board attributes such as ‘board composition’ and ‘board diversity’.

Several studies points the impact of boards attributes on strategic decisions. There are also few studies that link the board diversity with the corporate social responsibilities. The findings of the studies by Post et al. (2011) and Bear et al. (2010) revealed that board members diversity can have a positive effect on some aspects of CSR.

According to Post et al. (2011), the diversity of in the company’s board provides a heterogeneous outlook in the process of complex decision making related to CSR. Similarly, Bear et al. (2010) points to board diversity in relation to gender in boardroom decisions.

The author found that gender diversity provides a broad perspective to generate different alternatives decisions and impacts the group process of decision making.  However, Mahadeo et al. (2012) argue that board diversity bear a negative impact as in some companies board members do not value  diverse process of decision making  due to different beliefs of members and lead to biased and slow decision making.

In this context, Miller and del Carmen Triana (2009) found that homogeneous boards have a comparable thinking, high cohesions and offer a similar perspective and less variable opinions. This leads towards conformity in making strategic decisions related to CSR.

On the other side, Bear et al. (2010) discuss that homogenous boards do not challenge management thinking due to lack of varied perspectives which ultimately impacts the quality of boardroom decisions and limits the options related to innovation, CSR activities and disclosure decisions.In context of gender composition, studies emphasize role of gender is an important consideration in making decisions in boardroom.

Boulouta (2013) mentions that female directors likely bring varied perspectives to arrive at strategic decisions at board level. This varies perceptive is a result of their workplace experience, exposure to marketplace and community experience in which they live.

The study by Rao et al. (2016) found that presence of female board members in Australian companies have resulted in quality decision making and in reaching CSR based decisions through debate and discussion on company value and strategy.

2.2.4 Different theories of CSR

The literature of CSR presents complex and debatable theories. Several theorist, authors, etc. have classified the key theories of CSR under four major groups as instrumental, political, integrative and ethical theories.

Instrumental theories consider the company as a strategic tool for creation of wealth as its social responsibility(Fassin et al., 2011). The interaction between the business and community is of economic nature therefore, this theory consider the social activities that fulfill the sole purpose of fulfill objective of economic prosperity. Kim et al. (2012) mention that instrumental theories regard CSR activities for profit maximization for its shareholder.

As pointed by Fassin et al. (2011), this motive has influenced the management behavior towards formation of social responsibility. The economic objectives can be maximization of the shareholder value, developing strategies to allocate resources for competitive advantage (social investments, resource based view) and target products through innovation.Political theories focus on position and power of business.

Del Baldo (2012) specifies that political theories regard as the company role of social power as political responsibilities and political considerations to specify its relationship with the community. Kim et al. (2012) describe under political theories such as corporate citizenship and constitutionalism, the companies accepts the social rights, duties and cooperation in activities.Integrative theoriesemphasize on business and society integration.

Here, business incorporates the social demands for its existence, continuity and growth.Costa and Menichini (2013) discuss that integrative theories relates to the social responsiveness to identify the gap that exist between the needs/expectations of the society and real performance of the company towards the social issues.

Another theory pointed by Del Baldo (2012), put forwards the principle of public responsibility as the social responsiveness/issue management was criticized by author such as Preston and Post, Jones as ‘insufficient’. Ethical theories provide the CSR explanation from ethical point of view.

Wettstein (2012) put forward that ethical value surround the relationship among the society and the company business. Thus, the ethical requirements form the motive for a company to accept and participate in activities that fulfill social responsibility of the business as a mere ethical obligation.

Under the ethical perspective, Wettstein (2012) also underlines that human rights have been accepted as a fundamental basis for the CSR activities in the international level. For instance, the UN global compact is a human rights approach that list out nine principles for labor, human right and environment areas.

Another value-based concept, highlighted in the study of CSR by Fassin et al. (2011) is sustainable development which include dimension of economic, social and environmental aspects.

2.3 Relationship between CSR activities and strategic decisions and behaviors

Since 1960s, the activities of CSR have been an unbalanced philanthropic act and have been used as public relation and marketing tool(Costa and Menichini, 2013).  There was no or less integration of the CSR activities with the business processes or corporate strategy.

However, from the last two-three decades the concept of corporate social responsibility has been fully integrated with a company business model. The activities of CSR become diverse and specialized over the time to integrate in the firm development strategy. According to Brammer et al. (2012), CSR has emerged as a form of self regulation for the small to middle to large sized companies.

However, Olaru et al. (2011) argue that there exists a gap in behavior towards CSR from small and medium enterprise as compared to large companies. The author viewed that CSR behavior of large and small enterprises are different in actual performance. In support of this argument, the findings of Obrad et al. (2011) highlight that CSR behavior of SMEs tends to have a large gap in practice and theory in case of Romania enterprises.

Thus, to understand the CSR activities of a firm,Fassin et al. (2011) underline the importance of studying the managers’ knowledge about the CSR concepts and management behavior towards the sustainability concept. The author also put forwards to understand the manner of decision making process for strategic decisions for different social, economic and environmental issue.

Brammer et al. (2012) state CSR has evolved to become an integral aspect of company strategic decisions making. The companies expend a part of the profits on these activities and reporting these activities and society contribution, charities and initiatives through CSR reporting into core business practices or through sustainability reports(Chen and Bouvain, 2009).

This has helped the companies to establish and strengthen relations of the company among different stakeholders.

Several studies have reflected on the strategic decision making for firm investment, R&D spending, capital structure, diversification decisions and participation in CSR(Oh et al., 2011).

The management behavior and static decision-making process exhibit the role of stakeholders for CSR activities in relation to employee relations, social and environmental issues and for product development and safety (Babiak and Trendafilova, 2011). The strategic decision making process concerning the CSR activities is based on behavior and rational thinking for arriving at decisions towards the internal and external operating environment.

According to Carroll and Shabana (2010), the social responsibility actions or activities have been considered as a form of social investment. The business owners and company management through voting through multiple channels can go beyond the decision regarding to invest in social and environmental issues and making investments and other strategic decisions of a company.

Vaiman et al. (2012) remind that company management have different strategic objectives which affect the scope of strategic decision-making. Hansen et al. (2016) believe that senior mangers make CSR related strategic decision accurately as they are well aware of the impact of these decisions on the growth and survival of the company. Also, CEO personal values, attitude, etc.

can affect the behavior of the managers towards the CSR activities which can impact the related decision making for investment in these activities(Zu and Song,2009).

In addition to this, Hansen et al. (2016) discuss that companies that are socially irresponsible face negative publicity, decrease sales, regulatory burden, and environmental fines, have less political support and more government regulation and intervention in their business operations.

It can be noted that the negative behavior can affect the profitability and market acceptance and thus, negatively impact the survival of the business in long-run. To prevail over these policies and regulations burden, the companies engage in strategic decision in effort to improve the social and legal performance,

become proactive towards regulatory requirement, social issue and environmental concerns. Hence, decisions for CSR activities of company seek to improve relations with the community and related stakeholders through social investments and charitable contributions (Bhattacharya et al., 2009).

Similarly, Vaiman et al. (2012) describe that the trend in CSR activities in strategic decision emphasize on the integration of business with the community for the creation of shared values and for fulfilling the social and environmental commitment. This forms the motivation of the companies to adopt CSR activities.

Thus, it can be noted that strategic decisions for the CSR activities focus on fulfilling the compliance with the operating environment of the company. On the other hand, Babiak and Trendafilova (2011) argue that strategic decision by senior management related to participation in CSR activities is an outcome to cope with pressure arising from different stakeholders of a company.

The author opinioned that the stockholders have both indirect and direct significant influence on the strategic decisions in relation to social investment, CSR participation and implementation of CSR initiatives for realizing benefit to the stakeholders.

Apart from this, Hansen et al. (2016) view the ethical consideration as the primary reason for many large businesses to undertake CSR activities in the strategic decision making process. In addition to this, the management behavior in relation to CSR activities Brammer et al. (2012) point that management behavior has transformed from creating profits to developing a positive an ethical corporate image as a social responsible company.

On the differing side, as pointed by Robertson (2009), it is argued that economic corporate responsibility is the main priority of the management instead of ethical responsibility which impact the managerial decisions. Accordingly, it can be understood that moderate importance has been given to the ethical responsibility in managerial decisions making process related to welfare of the community, impact on the environment, etc.

In this context, Obrad et al. (2011) remind that the core of the CSR theory is ethical corporate responsibility towards its different stakeholder. This gives an indication the reason behind the gap in theory and practice and the application of CSR activities in an improper and ineffective way in many countries such as Romania, Poland, Albania and other CEE countries.

In context of management behavior, it can be said that behavior is a crucial factor for maintaining or damaging the reputation of the company in the operating market through their communication and decisions. Olaru et al. (2011) studied that manager exhibit behavior during decision making that demonstrate the importance of taking correct actionswhich otherwise can also lead to distrust and unethical behavior.

Additionally, Vaiman et al. (2012) recognize that a supportive management behavior regarding social investments instills a shared sense of responsibilities for activities of CSR. Thus, it can be understood that management behavior can provide support as well as present challenge for participation in CSR and impacts the image of the company built through its CSR reporting.

2.4 Ways to integrate CSR with the management decision making

The integration of the corporate social responsibility with the management decision-making provides a significant source of company to achieve competitive edge in the marketplace(Maon et al., 2009).

In recent years, the stakeholders played an influencing role to address the challenging business problems and took actions to improve social responsibilities, economic development and reduced environment impact due to their operations.

However, Costa and Menichini (2013) argue that opinion differ on how social responsibility needs to be allocated among shareholders, employees, suppliers, regulators and other stakeholders.  In response to this, companies from past few years have increased stakeholder engagement to understand their motives and concerns on different CSR issues(Dobele et al., 2014).

This has led to integration of issues related to economic, social, environmental, and corporate governance in the process of strategic decision making by the management.

De Groot et al. (2010) believe that manager’s knowledge, moral integrity, ethical leadership and accountabilities can lead to effective implementation of CSR principles in the organization. It can be said these characteristics direct the managerial behavior, employee ethical values and process of decision making for CSR related operations.

The companies especially large businesses have been attempting to measure the social and environmental performance through revising company policies and business plans. Gill (2015) states that large companies have been modified management behavior to enhance employee engagement, increase communication of company values and vision and more consultation with external stakeholders such as government, NGOs, and local communities.

Galbreath (2009) viewed that integration of CSR into management decision making needs a process of organizational change to incorporate new ways of doing things. This indicates the alignment between the business environment demands and organization dynamic decision making process to identify and manage the expectations of the different stakeholders.

Some studies have suggested methods for the integration of CSR concept into the CSR related strategic decisions making by the management.

Maon et al. (2009) specify that incorporation of CSR into management decision requires identifying the business values and corporate culture. This can be helpful for the organization to reflects on the itscore business process and reputation in the operating market to decide on which products to modify, improve processes, development of new product and provide quality customer services.

On the other hand, Du et al. (2010) point to the option that identification of the key stakeholder objectives and addressing the concerns of stakeholders can provide a central way to integrate CSR into decisions making. This is essential as the stakeholders have different attitude and values towards the ethical principles which affect the relationship with among different stakeholders such as investors, suppliers, employees, customers, community and government.

Thus, the addressing to objective of stakeholders can increase the participation of different stakeholder in the decision making for the application of CSR to gain specific benefits(Dobele et al., 2014).

On the other hand, Obrad et al. (2011) argue that CSR based decision in the management scope can shift the focus of the stakeholders for the core objective of the business for profits maximization.Hansen et al. (2016)suggest changes in the organizational culture and structure to promote the development and incorporation of CSR in business decisions and as an inseparable part of corporate strategy.

However, De Groot et al. (2010) found that many medium to large business lacksproper framework to integrate CSR in the decision making process. On the other hand, Alves (2009) suggests development of sustainability agenda across the organization to drive the management decisions process and behavior of employee towards the concept of CSR.

Hansen et al. (2016) emphasize the development of ethical leadership that can inspire the CSR integration in business decisions. The author also point to development of knowledge management practice and learning culture that promote innovation to support CSR practices which can highlight the relevance of CSR activities for the company to draw attention of managers towards CSR based decisions.

It can be added that developing a CSR vision, identification of stakeholder concerns towards social responsibilities, developing a communication and improvement plan (Du et al.,2010) and inducing sense of responsibility can be useful to incorporate CSR into the business decision making process.

The motives and concern of the different stakeholders are essential to consider for a long-term integration of the CSR concept in the business decisions (Yuan et al., 2011).

This would assistthe application of its activities for achieving business growth and profitability of the company while fulfilling the social requirements and environmental obligations.

It can be said that CSR integration requires a proper organization management support framework and stakeholder engagement for its long-term incorporation into the management decision making. The framework should be able to address stakeholder’s objectives, organizational concerns, culture, innovation and ethical leadership.

2.5 Summary

The literature draws attention to the concept of CSR as one of the complex aspect in decision making by the management. The CSR has been incorporated in the core business processes and forms a part of corporate strategy in much large business. However, some authors such as Olaru et al. (2011) and Obrad et al. (2011) argue there is a gap in behavior related to CSR in many small and medium enterprises in actual practice.

This indicates the issues surrounding the corporate decision making and behavior towards the participation or investment in CSR activities. It is also stated that role, attitude, behavior, objectives and concerns of stakeholder and values towards the ethical principles impact on management decision making for CSR activities such as product innovation, employee relations, and issues related to social and environment.

Several authors suggest different ways for the incorporation of CSR into management decision making such as change in organization culture, development of ethical leadership, setting a sustainability agenda, developing CSR vision, communication plan, identification of stakeholder objectives and concerns and management supportive framework for CSR activities and planning.

It is also suggested to increase communication with stakeholders and CSR awareness among the different stakeholders to align the CSR behavior with the demands of stakeholders and to formulate decisions for organization to operate in a socially responsible way.

Chapter 3: Research Methodology

3.1 Introduction

This introduction part has a crucial role to play in the attainment as well as achieving the research. The main cause behind it is that it helps the researcher to obtain an in-depth and detailed outlook in regard with the various aspects of the research such as the techniques, approaches, methods, etc. which are been used by the researcher to fulfil the research.

At the same time, obtaining detailed insight also helps the researcher to generate valid outcomes. This chapter of the research also will assist the researcher to obtain in-depth knowledge of the various techniques used for data analysis, the various methods of data collection, etc that make it simpler for the researcher to attain the already set objectives and also to complete the research on time.

Hence, it is stated that research methodology holds an important role to play in the success of the research.

3.2 Research Philosophy

This section of the research also hold importance as it helps to provide the required crucial information which is vital for the researcher. This helps him to understand and gets an idea about which data is to be used and which is to be analyzed further.Therefore, to gain an understanding of the backdrop of the research and nature of issues associated with the research, the philosophies provide valuable guidance to the researcher.

It influences the way the researcher carry out the research to achieve conclusive results. The research philosophy provides a fundamental base to establish contextual knowledge and develop rational to underline the opinion, assumption and beliefs of the researcher (Moon and Blackman, 2014).

This is the first stage and also is the exterior layer of the research methodology. There are particularly three different types of research philosophies. The philosophies are positivism research philosophy, the interpretivism research philosophy, and the realism research philosophy (Mackey & Gass, 2015).

The positivism research philosophy is being used when the researcher feels the need of natural phenomenon. On the other side, the use of realism research philosophy is done when the researcher need to assume the data as well as it is also based on natural reality. In this all the facts associated with natural are been considered by the researcher for the research.

Apart from all this, the last research philosophy is the interpretivism research philosophy which is used when there is a need to conclude the whole research due to dependability on the subjective nature (Taylor et al., 2015)

In regard of this research, the research philosophy been used is the interpretivism research philosophy over the other two research philosophies. The interpretivism research philosophy helped the researcher to obtain an in-depth knowledge or clear understanding in regard of the underlying issues that made it simpler for the researcher to compare the existing findings of the research critically with the literature.

This wasn’t possible for the researcher if he had adopted the other two research philosophies. At the same time, the use of positivism philosophy wasn’t appropriate as there was hardly any requirement of using the already experimental data. Also, the researcher didn’t use the realism philosophy as there was no need of neutrality.

This also assisted the researcher to land up on a valid and reliable conclusion by subjective comprehension. It was also appropriate as it helped to explain the various desired goals or objectives along with the aims of the research in a well-organized manner.

By concerning all the details and aspects, the researcher made the conclusion to use the interpretivism research philosophy for accomplishing the research on time successfully.

3.3 Research Approach

The justification to the research assumption, analysis and interpretation of results according to nature of research issue is concerned with the research approach. This part generally helps the researcher to obtain the detailed understanding of the various underlying issues of the research that help in its accomplishment.

There are particularly two types of research approach namely, inductive and the deductive research approach. These are used as per the aim of the research been conducted. The deductive is used when there lies a need to work on the existing theories and at the same time the researcher concerns these theories and develop hypothesis for the research.

Also, there are various resources been available that are used by the researcher to work on the hypothesis (Silverman, 2016). Beside this, the inductive research approach is opposite to the deductive research approach in the way that in this researcher needs to develop the hypothesis on self-basis and as per the issues of the research and its objectives along with the data been obtained is also considered during developing own theories.

In this research, the inductive research approach has been used instead of the deductive research approach by the researcher as there is no involvement in the development and testing of the hypotheses. The reason for this is that it is more reliable or the researcher to develop own new theories instead of focusing on the already developed ones for testing the hypothesis.

It also helped the researcher to develop valid research outcomes as well as accomplishing the research objectives on time and successfully. The deductive research approach wasn’t been used as researcher was limited to use the theoretical aspects instead of working down on the various facts or figures. It was also not suitable for the researcher so he had used the inductive research approach in-spite of the deductive research approach.

3.4 Research Methods

The research methodsconsider theoretical assumptions to realize the methodology for data collection and data analysis.  This has helped the researcher reach each research objectives in a systematic way to determine the impact of CSR activities on management decisions and behavior.

This part helps the researcher in attaining the various types of information which is needed by the researcher in order to conduct the research study. There are three types of research methods used to conduct the research effectively.

The methods are qualitative research method, qualitative research method and mixed research method. The qualitative research method is been used when there is a need to obtain an understanding of the human behavior as well as the nature by the researcher (Khan, 2011).

For generating reliable and valid outcomes of the research, there are various significant measurable factors that are considered by the researcher during the research. At the same time, quantitative research method is used when there lays a need to analyze the statistical or numerical data which is gathered by conducting polls, questionnaires, etc.

It also helps to conduct the research effectively as well as on time and also serves the purpose of achieving the objectives of the research. This research method is also significant as it helps to get understanding of the actual need of the people on few particular things and conditions (Flick, 2015).

The mixed research method is the combination of the other two research methods i.e. qualitative research method and quantitative research method. This is used when the researcher feels to use the combination of both the research methods. In this research, the research method been used is mixed research method where both the research method are used for conducting the research study and attaining the desired objectives effectively.

The nature of research is quantifiable thus; quantitative data is collected for this study.Using this research method, the researcher was able to gather the valid and reliable outcomes successfully and in a timely manner.

3.5 Time Horizon

Time horizon guides the researcher related to the timing of the research work. In case of the study, researcher initially determines the impact of CSR on the companies. Afterwards, it is estimated that how much CSR practices influences the strategic decision of organization (Marín-Solano and Shevkoplyas, 2011).

In regards to this, cross-sectional time horizon is followed under which data collects at one time in a day, week and month etc. It also helps to reduce the manipulation of data at the time of collection of facts.

Besides that, longitudinal time horizon is considered as time consuming as data is collected for the same subjects repeatedly over a period of time. So it also results in increasing the cost of research study (Neuman & Robson, 2014).

3.6 Collection of Data

Data collection is a significant aspect of the research. It is used to attain or achieve the research successfully and also for creating the vital information as well as data.

The data should be gathered or obtained authentically and should hold the power to cease the outcomes of the research study. It is also used in the hypothesis selection process. At the same time, there are two different ways or methods to gather or obtain the data or information (Panneerselvam, 2014).

The two different data collection methods are primary data collection method and the secondary data collection method. They are been used by the researcher as per the issues of the research.

In accordance to Matthews and Ross (2014), there are two types of data collection method i.e. primary and secondary method. In regards to primary method, researcher collects facts from the survey and personal observation while secondary method includes existing theories and models within which new study is developed.

Under the primary data collection, fresh data is gathers by the researcher using survey, interview, questionnaire, experimentation and observation etc. The primary collection methods are repetitive and consume time and money of researcher.  The secondary data collection method gathers a comparable data from multiple online or offline sources.

The secondary collection methodsincludeacademic books, eBooks, online news articles, journals, business magazines,newspaper,company website, government websites and online publications. Thus, both the method have their respective unique benefits which support the researcher on a different way.

In context to this, researcher is used the secondary method over primary. This is because researcher aims to analyse the impact of CSR on strategic decision making of the firms. For this study, qualitative data is collected with the help of different case study.

Likewise, case study of Marks & Spencer is selected to get an idea that how much CSR impact on the strategic decision of company. This case study proves to be quite useful in regards to achieve practical understanding. Moreover, the data collection method has helped the researcher to identify the nature of research.

The cause of not select the primary method because it does not measure the behaviour, knowledge, viewpoint of individual in a quantitative manner. That’s why researcher collects the data by studying the different research viewpoint on the concept of CSR.

3.6.1 Sampling Procedure

Sampling method plays an integral part in this research study as it allows the researcher to collect the data properly with the selection of relevant tools. The sampling procedure saves the extra investment of company in regards to collect valid facts for solving the research problem.

According to Bayraksan and Morton (2011), there are two types of sampling method exist such as random and non-random method. In case of random method, every individual gets equal chances to become a part of the survey while secondary method is more based on the judgements.

In context to this study, researcher is used the non-probability method. In this, judgment method is opted within which researcher address various case study and select those one which is well suited to the research topic. For instance, researcher is selected the case study of Marks & Spencer with the aim to identify the impact of CSR on the strategic decision of company.

Such practice gives the detailed theoretical understanding about the concepts. Moreover, researcher does not choose the random method because qualitative data is gathered for the research study. It is done through case study. Since the survey method is not opted then the requirement of sampling method is also eliminated.

3.7 Ethical Issues

In the study of Slade and Prinsloo (2013), it is identified that researcher to achieve successfully the research outcome, there is high needs to consider the ethical issues framework. In regards to this, plagiarism, copyright and accessing of information from unethical sites are considered as ethical issue. This also influences the research study in a negative manner.

There are some of the ethical issues that come under the secondary data. As there is a high chance of copying exists in the secondary method. On the flip side, researcher also indicated that improper mentioning of citation under the references is also considered as an unethical in the field of research study.

In order to avoid the ethical issue, researcher needs to include reliability of facts, select the in-famous publication books as it helps to reduce the problem of plagiarism and copyright etc. (Smith, 2015). Besides that, researcher should need to ensure that citation is done appropriately way. Through this manner, researcher could accomplish in generating the relevant research result.

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