Researches in Corporate Social Re...
Researches in Corporate Social Responsibility: A Review of Shifting Focus, Paradigms, and Methodologies Shallini S. Taneja Pawan Kumar Taneja Rajen K. Gupta ABSTRACT. Owing to the growing academic and practitioner���s interest in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility, there is a need to do a comprehensive assessment and synthesis of research activities. This article addresses this need and examines the academic literature on Corporate Social Responsibility and Performance using a paradigmatic and methodological lens. The objective of this article is fourfold. First, it examines the status of CSR research from its beginning especially after 1970 to year 2008 in leading academic journals and reports to assess the focus areas of research on CSR so far. Second, it analyzes the research paradigms adopted in these research articles using the Operations Research Paradigm framework. Third, it compares and contrasts various kinds of research articles, methodologies, and research designs used in various researches in literature. Finally, it uncovers the implications of this study and directions for future research. KEY WORDS: corporate social responsibility (CSR), corporate social performance, methodological review, literature review, research paradigms, paradigm shifts JEL CLASSIFICATION: M14, N01 Introduction Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has variously been described as a ������motherhood issue������ (Ryan, 2002, p. 302), ������the hot business issue of the noughties������ (Blyth, 2005, p. 30), and ������the talk of the town in corporate circles������ (Mees and Bonham, 2004, p. 11). While the term CSR may appear to be relatively new to the corporate world, the literature reveals that the evolution of the concept itself has taken place over several decades. Researchers have argued that the genesis of CSR was in the 1930s with the arguments of E. Merrick Dodd over the role of managers (Post, 2003 Turner, 2006). Dodd contended that in addition to the economic respon- sibilities toward shareholders, managers had social responsibilities to society because the modern large firm is ������permitted and encouraged by the law pri- marily because it is of service to the community rather than because it is a source of profit to its owners������ (Dodd, 1932, p. 1149). In 1953, Bowen conceptualized CSR as a social obligation ��� ������the obligation to pursue those policies, to make those decisions, or to follow those lines of action which are desirable in terms of the objectives and values of our society������ (Bowen in Maignan and Ferrell, 2004, p. 4). Carroll has described Bowen as the modern ������Father of Corporate Social Responsibility������ and believed that study by him marked the beginning of the modern period of literature on CSR (Carroll, 1999, p. 270). Bowen has taken a broad approach to business responsibilities, which includes responsive- ness, stewardship, social audit, corporate citizenship and rudimentary stakeholder theory (Windsor, 2001, p. 230). The fact is that the terminologies used for explaining the term CSR itself has changed since inception. It also suggests that the meaning ascribed to concept CSR will continue to evolve in tune with business, political and social developments in the light of ongoing globalization and developments in the field of mass communication. The impact of globalization and mass communication also means that definitions will reflect local situations they will also be strongly influenced by global trends and changes in international law. In this article, we investigate the state of corpo- rate social responsibility (CSR) research. CSR is addressed by various disciplines hence we have used Journal of Business Ethics (2011) 101:343���364 �� Springer 2011 DOI 10.1007/s10551-010-0732-6
multiple research literature sources for our analysis. But at the same time we have given special emphasis to business management literature as CSR has be- come an increasingly salient feature of business and its environment, to which managers are expected to respond, it has acquired status within management education and research (Pfeffer and Fong, 2004 Starkey et al., 2004). Egri and Ralston (2008) has reviewed literature on corporate responsibility (CR) researches in international management journals during the past decade and identified 321 articles of interest. They categorized these articles into four major CR themes: corporate social responsibility, environmental responsibility, ethics, and gover- nance. On the other hand, Lockett et al. (2006) focused only on wider meaning of theme CSR and examined the focus, nature, changing salience of CSR Knowledge and the academic influences on it by analyzing researches published from 1992 to 2002 in management literature. In order to address the question of focus they categorized the CSR literature into four groups according to the dominant CSR theme of the articles: social responsibility environ- mental responsibility business ethics and stake- holders��� management. In contrast to Egri and Ralston (2008) and Lockett et al. (2006), we have considered only researches focuses on business social responsibility with predominance toward society aspects. We have made an in-depth analysis of changes that have happened in CSR definitions, models, practices adopted by business houses, reasons for adoption of such practices and other related developments related to measurement and reporting of CSR in CSR literature. The categorization of focus of CSR research has been done on the basis of dominant CSR theme reflected in keywords, in titles, abstracts, analysis and conclusions of the selected articles with help of thematic content analysis. This analysis helps to uncover the past, present and future trust areas of researches in the field of CSR. To support our analysis we have further carried out a methodolog- ical and paradigmatic shift examination of literature. Hence, this study makes a contribution to the philosophical and methodological foundations of research in CSR. The objective of this article is fourfold. First, it examines the trust areas of CSR research from its beginning especially after 1970 to year 2008 in leading academic journals and reports. This has been done by categorizing the changes came in focus areas of CSR research in terms of changing meanings, definitions, models, practices, measurement and reporting of CSR. Second, it analyzes the research paradigms adopted in these research articles using the operations research paradigm framework of Mere- dith et al. (1989). Third, it compares and contrasts various kinds of research articles, methodologies, and research designs used in various researches in litera- ture. Finally, it uncovers the implications of this study and directions for future research. The article is organized as follows: In the next section, the methodology used and the various parameters on which literature is being reviewed have been explained. In ������Results������ section, collected data has been presented in tabular and graphical forms and analyzed. This is followed in ������Conclu- sions and discussion������ section by a discussion of the results with special reference to nature of research and areas of focus which have been identified after literature research. The article ends with implica- tions of the study, directions of future research, and contributions. Research method The research method for this study has been dis- cussed in the two sub sections viz. literature col- lection methodology and research parameters used for reviewing the selected literature. A. Literature collection methodology The literature search has based on ������citation pearl growing������ method (Hartley, 1990 in Dolan et al., 2004). Citation pearl growing method is a search strategy suitable for methodological and literature reviews, where the more conventional keyword based search strategies may result in a very large number of irrelevant references. A set of core ref- erences need to be identified as the ������initial������ refer- ences, and based on these the first wave of searches looks for articles where this core literature has been cited. The next wave looks for articles where those identified and included from the first wave have been cited, and so on, until no further articles are 344 Shallini S. Taneja et al.
identified. This was undertaken using the citation search facility of the ABI/INFORM, EBSCO���s Business sources Premier, JSTOR, and Emerald citation indexes and through reference list searching. These databases cover the science, social sciences (including economics) and arts and humanities lit- erature. The search was restricted to articles in the English language, year 2008 or earlier. First, 21 relevant ������initial������ references were iden- tified from a review of Lockett et al. (2006) and from the authors��� own collection which was collected for the purpose of understanding meaning of CSR for an earlier research. On the basis of initial references after various rounds of searches a total of 2305 additional references have been generated. During this search any article title that either allows infer- ences to be drawn about responsible business, ethi- cal business, ethical practice, social affairs, social value, philanthropy activities, philanthropic study, corporate social responsibility, good governance, stakeholder welfare, community development, com- munity welfare, environmental safety, environmen- tal concerns, triple bottom line approach, sustainable development, sustainable growth, social welfare practices in business and corporate social perfor- mance (CSP) or discusses these issues theoretically/ empirically was eligible for inclusion. From the generated references, selection of articles has been done with help of multistage thematic content analysis. Articles having dominant CSR theme with predominance toward societal aspects reflected in keywords, in titles and abstracts has been selected for final review. Out of above generated references a total of 278 references have been selected on the basis of the relevancy of the abstract, consid- ering the dominant methodological nature of the review, theoretical issue which is having great importance in CSR literature like paradigm shift in definition or suggesting some new model has been selected. In the third stage, 83 articles whose full text article was not available on any of the above said databases have been excluded from list of arti- cles to be reviewed. Another 79 articles has been excluded as they were either editorials, transcribed speeches, comments, book reviews, published in more than one place and insubstantial articles (four pages or less). Finally, from the remaining list, 80 articles which are having a CSR theme with predominance toward societal aspects have been selected for the final review. Out of these 80 articles, 40 articles were empirical articles, seven were case study, 18 were review articles, four were methodological articles, and 11 were theoretical articles. For the purpose of this research, the focus was on mainstream publications that would reflect progress in the field of CSR over last five decades, i.e., from year the concept CSR appears in discussions to year 2008. On the basis of above explained methodology studies from following academic journals, reports and publications have been included in this article (Table I). Maximum 18 articles and six articles were re- viewed from leading American Management Journal ������Academy of Management Journal������ and ������The Academy of Management Journal Review������ respec- tively. 12 Articles were from Journal of Business Ethics, five articles were from Development in practices Journal. B. Research parameters for review In order to analyze the question of focus, nature and salience of the CSR literature we have used three categorical tools, i.e., (i) methodological review, (ii) paradigmatic shift review, and (iii) relational analysis. For the purpose of methodological review (Yadav and Gupta, 2008) nature and types of articles research design and approach nature of research design sources and nature of data data testing and data analysis techniques etc. of the selected articles have been studied. For the purpose of paradigmatic shift analysis, the operations research paradigm framework (Meredith et al., 1989), i.e., a two- dimensional format to analyze the research para- digms has been used. Whereas, for the purpose of relational analysis relations between/among concepts within the content has been analyzed with the help of mental models. The details of these have been discussed in following three subsections: (i) Parameters for methodological review The analysis of research methodology used in the identified journal articles focuses on the following areas: nature (Oliver, 2008) and types (APA, 2001) of articles research design and approach nature of research design sources and nature of data data testing and data analysis techniques. 345 Researches in Corporate Social Responsibility: A Review