Corporate social responsibility is the focus of my research because of the ongoing corporate scandals, environmental concerns, and the growing practice of social responsibility branding. The international context is also important because the influence of multi-nation corporations is growing and they are becoming more difficult to regulate. Consequently, transparency and disclosure are key issues. Whether corporate interests philosophically embrace social responsibility or not, most now recognize its favorable impact on corporate reputation and financial performance. Labor unions operate in this environment and I believe an explicit focus on social responsibility is central to recalibrating the labor movement for the twenty-first century.
Some researchers have argued that firms with favorable environmental performance are more likely to provide voluntary environmental disclosure, while others have argued that firms with poor environmental performance are most likely to disclose. The authors propose a curvilinear relation between environmental performance and environmental disclosure that is moderated by visibility. Data were obtained from S&P 500 firms queried by Ceres’ Climate Disclosure Project. Results show a U-shaped environmental performance–environmental disclosure relation and a main effect for visibility, but no moderating effect for visibility on the U-shaped environmental performance–environmental disclosure relation. The authors discussed the implications of these results for future research and practice.
Previous studies indicate possibly asymmetric findings about the relationship between corporate social performance (CSP) and annual report disclosure practices: (a) disclosure practices of companies with favorable CSP emanate from a sense of corporate social responsibility (CSR) as an ethical duty; and (b) there are strategic reasons to link CSP with disclosure practices. We test the relationship between CSP and annual report disclosure and find that for the low CSP group of companies, disclosure was positively related to CSP strengths. For the high CSP group of companies disclosure was positively related to CSP weaknesses. We conclude that low CSP disclosure practices are related to CSP strengths in order to build or repair reputation, while high CSP disclosure practices are associated with CSP weaknesses in order to protect favorable CSP brand.
This paper compares the Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting (CSRR) of companies in South Africa with that of companies in the leading economies represented by the Global Fortune 100 by examining Annual Report data from the top 100 companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Index and the Global Fortune 100. Generally the frequency and level of CSRR disclosure in South Africa was significantly higher than that of the Global Fortune 100. This lends credence to other research indicating that emerging market economies may be more receptive to stakeholder concerns and social responsibility than peer institutions in well-developed economies.
This case examines the ethical issues raised when businesses sub-contract for the military during time of war. Dow Chemical Company was a military contractor during the Vietnam War and the primary producer of Agent Orange – a defoliant used to clear vegetation. Agent Orange has been linked to a number of serious medical conditions in war veterans and Vietnamese civilians. Dow thought that the issue should have been addressed through political and social policy, while Vietnamese citizens and U.S. Vietnam war veterans believed Dow was ethically responsible. In 2004, Vietnamese citizens filed suit against Dow for illnesses they believe were caused by exposure to Agent Orange. As the case moved through the U.S. judicial system, some of Dow’s investors grew uncomfortable with how the issue was handled. As the U.S. military increases the use of private contractor, it is likely that companies and their stakeholders will be face with similar issues in the future.
The issue life cycle model is reframed to address the pressures within an industry when a company breaks ranks to redress a social issue. The 'pacesetter model' of changed stakeholder expectations, pacesetter change, heightened attention and pressure, decision making under pressure, and entrenchment is presented. The pacesetter model is applied to the confrontation between stakeholders and the pharmaceutical industry over pricing of HIV/AIDS medications and protection of drug patents. The analysis highlights how institutional and bandwagon pressures influence industry decision makers after an issue has been redressed (to some extent) by a competitor. Implications for stakeholders and industry are discussed.
The purpose of this paper was to test the ability of the theory of planned behavior to predict worker intent towards an employee involvement (EI) program, and the impact of union identification on decision making.
Union members completed questionnaires providing measures of the attitudinal, normative, and behavioral control components of the theory of planned behavior and the degree to which they identified with their labor union. Intentions to support EI were accurately predicted from attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control. In addition, the theory of planned behavior was accurate in predicting behavior in that 65% of union members indicated willingness to be on pilot teams for the EI program. The results indicate that the theory of planned behavior has the potential to be an effective tool in predicting the behavioral outcomes of union members in the workplace.
Researchers in business and society have recently focused on the causes and effects of corporate citizenship but with no attention given to those companies that receive special government subsidies (a.k.a. corporate welfare). I make the argument that, given their subsidized status, the citizenship of those companies warrants scrutiny. I examine the notion that large companies in particular industries derive the greatest benefit from corporate welfare, and determines what, if any, relationship corporate welfare has with corporate citizenship. Results show that the effects of industry affiliation on corporate welfare receipt are slight, but large companies are the most likely recipients of corporate welfare. Also, corporations that receive corporate welfare demonstrate levels of corporate citizenship no different than companies that receive no such subsidies.