Top social media platforms

Image by Sara Kurfeß

Many online users have subscribed to different social media, including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, among others for different reasons. Individuals and groups use them to publish their ideas in writing, images or videos. They also enable them to share hyperlinks to articles, pictures and videos. There are social media users who like to follow the updates of their friends, colleagues, acquaintances or individuals who share their interests. Very often, the news is broadcast through social networks and is disseminated in a viral manner through the social media users’ likes or shares before it is covered by the traditional media like television and newspapers. Online users may be intrigued to use the social media create their social network, or to join virtual communities. They may do so to connect with other individuals who shared their interests and values. Many online users have subscribed to different social media, including Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin, among others for different reasons.

Currently, Facebook has 2.45 billion users. Other popular social media networks include Instagram (1 billion users), Reddit (430 million users), Snapchat (360 million users), Twitter (330 million users), Pinterest (322 million users) and Linkedin (310 million users).

Individuals and groups use these social media to publish their ideas in writing, images or videos. They also enable them to share hyperlinks to articles, pictures and videos. There are social media users who like to follow the updates of their friends, colleagues, acquaintances or individuals who share their interests. Very often, the news is broadcast through social networks and is disseminated in a viral manner through the social media users’ likes or shares before it is covered by the traditional media like television and newspapers. Online users may be intrigued to use the social media create their social network, or to join virtual communities. They may do so to connect with other individuals who shared their interests or values.

Facebook is used by various organisations, including businesses to engage with its users. For example, different businesses are creating interactive pages and groups to disseminate information about their products and services. They utilise Facebook Messenger, or live videos to enhance their communications. Facebook is also used by academics to enhance the visibility of their publications and to raise awareness about the findings from their research. However, individuals use this medium to keep in touch with friends, colleagues, classmates, former classmates, former co-workers, and with other individuals who may share similar interests.

Like Facebook, other social media, including Twitter can be used to target large audiences and communities. Twitter is a platform that is based on topical content. Generally, its users are encouraged to use keywords and hashtags on particular topics, in particular locations. Twitter is restricted with a 280-character limit. Therefore, its subscribers have to post short, focused messages with relevant content that appeals to their followers. Moreover, they are expected to dedicate time to look after their account as they need to respond to their followers to avoid negative criticism. However, it allows direct, two-way communications among subscribers. Hence, it can be used to engage in interactive conversations with other users. Other digital networks include Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest.  Instagram and Pinterest are focused on the dissemination of images and visual content. Like Instagram, Snapchat also features videos and user-generated content and may include influencer marketing material. On the other hand, Reddit appeals to more than 150,000 communities and niches, who share similar interests on various topics.

The usage of social media has radically influenced the style of communication and the dissemination of knowledge and information. Platforms can be personalised, self-managed and interconnected as they can blend written content with images, videos and hyperlinks. This disruptive innovation has led individuals from different demographic segments in society, to refine their digital and communication skills. It is obvious that social media has impacted our way of thinking, talking and even our social lives.

This is an excerpt from one of my latest working papers entitled; “The impact of social media and fake news on socio-political contexts”.

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Filed under digital media, internet technologies, internet technologies and society, Marketing, online, social media, Web

Call for Chapters: Consumer Engagement in Tourism and Hospitality (pre, during and post covid-19)

This academic book will be published by Goodfellow Publishers (Oxford, UK)

consumer interactive engagement in tourism and hospitality

Editors
Prof. Dr. Mark Anthony Camilleri
University of Malta, Malta.
Email: mark.a.camilleri@um.edu.mt

Dr. Rather Raouf
University of Jammu, India.

Prof. Dr. Dimitrios Buhalis
Bournemouth University, UK.

Important Dates
Abstract submission: 31st July 2020
Full chapters due: 31st January 2021
Final submission date: 15th March 2021

Introduction
The customer engagement concept has received lots of attention in different academic disciplines including: organisational behaviour (and employee engagement), psychology (and task engagement), sociology (and civic engagement) as well as in marketing (and branding) (Brodie, Hollebeek, Jurić, & Ilić, 2011; Chu & Kim, 2011; Taheri, Jafari, & O’Gorman, 2014). In a similar vein, the tourism industry practitioners are also recognising the importance of customer engagement as they are increasingly delivering enjoyable, transformative activities that improve the customers’ experiences (Walls, Okumus, Wang, & Kwun, 2011; So, King & Sparks, 2014; Ali, Ryu & Hussain, 2016; Harrigan, Evers, Miles & Daly, 2017; Camilleri, 2019a, 2019b). The latest trends comprise the adaptation of new technologies, interactive service delivery and offerings, and service personalisation (e.g. Hollebeek, Shrivastava, & Chen, 2019; Rather & Camilleri, 2019; Rather, Hollebeek, Islam, 2019; Hollebeek & Rather, 2019).

In tourism research, there are different drivers, antecedents, and/or determinants of customer engagement (So et al., 2014). These may comprise: the customers’ perceptions of authenticity, prior knowledge, mood regulation, brand sincerity, cultural capital, perceived intimacy, and desire for social interaction, among others (Taheri et al., 2014; Ram, Björk & Weidenfeld, 2016; Camilleri, 2018; Liang, Choi & Joppe, 2018; Rather et al., 2019). Existing research has also indicated that there are positive consequences if tourism service providers or destination management organisations engage with their customers, including; loyalty, satisfaction, self-brand connection, co-creation, commitment, positive word-of-mouth and online reviews, as well as purchase intentions (Litvin, Goldsmith & Pan, 2008; Bilgihan, Okumus & Cobanoglu, 2013; Harrigan et al., 2017; Rasoolimanesh, Noor, Schuberth & Jaafar, 2019; Buhalis & Sinarta, 2019). In recent years, there has been a growing focus on the topics of customer engagement and customer experience, as academics started to investigate how customer interact with the businesses through different marketing channels and touch-points (Walls et al., 2011; Lemon & Verhoef, 2016). These stimuli can have an effect on the customers’ purchase decision (Fang, Ye, Kucukusta & Law, 2016). Similarly, the tourism practitioners are using the digital media and mobile technologies to engage with customers to improve their experience (Sigala, Christou & Gretzel, 2012; Camilleri, 2018). For example, tourism service providers are increasingly using high-fidelity, interactive channels (e.g. virtual reality, social media, online and mobile booking systems) in an attempt to enhance their customers’ experience (Sigala et al., 2012).

However, despite the concepts of customer engagement and customer experience have received significant attention from the industry practitioners, there are gaps in academic knowledge, as there are still limited theoretical and empirical studies that have explored these topics in the tourism context, including; tourist destinations, airlines, cruises, tour operators, travel agencies, accommodation service providers, like hotels, Airbnb operators, timeshare, etc. Moreover, there are even fewer contributions that have explored the effect of the 2019-2020 corona virus pandemic (COVID19) on these sectors. The closure of the international borders as well as the latest travel ban and lock down conditions have inevitably led to grounded air planes, docked cruise ships, idle tour buses, shuttered tourism businesses and tourist attractions. This dramatic situation has resulted in a sudden downward spiral in international tourism arrivals and receipts. In this light, this timely publication will feature high impact research on consumer engagement within the tourism and hospitality: pre, during and post COVID-19.

Detailed Synopsis
This prospective title shall offer a thorough understanding about why there is scope for the tourism service providers and destination management organisations to successfully create, manage, and market tourism experiences. It will also provide theoretical and practical evidence of how, where and when they can seize the opportunities and address the challenges for effective consumer engagement in the tourism arena. Therefore, this book will include conceptual and empirical chapters covering the themes of Tourism Customer Engagement: Dimensions, Theories, and Frameworks; Tourism Customer Engagement: Key Antecedents and Consequences; Tourism Customer Experience: Theories, Structure and Frameworks; Customer Engagement in Evolving Technological Environments; Open innovation Technologies, Co-creation Experiences and Customer Engagement Approaches; and Emerging Issues. It is very likely that the tourism and hospitality businesses will be operating in the context of a “new normal” in a post COVID19 era. The editors are committed to enrich the existing body of academic literature on “Customer
Engagement and Experience in Tourism: pre, during and post COVID-19” by consolidating the marketing topics in the form of a comprehensive volume. Hence, this book will be accepting contributions that are related to the following themes:

• Customer Engagement in Tourism: Dimensionality, Theories and Frameworks
• Tourism engagement conceptualisations
• Dynamic framework of consumer engagement
• Dimensionality (cognitive, emotional, behavioural, and social dimensions) of consumer engagement)
• Typology of consumer engagement
• Employee engagement (emotional, cognitive and behavioural)
• Customer Engagement: Key Antecedents and Consequence
• Key antecedents and/or drivers of consumer engagement
• Customer engagement behaviours in tourism, travel and hospitality
• Key consequences of consumer engagement in tourism
• Tourist engagement and its impact on their satisfaction and behaviours
• Tourism Customer Experience: Theories and Conceptual Frameworks
• Conceptualisations of tourism experience
• Evolution of tourism experience research
• Dynamic framework of the tourist experience
• Key drivers of tourism experience
• Key consequences of tourism experience
• Cognitive, emotional, sensory, social and spiritual dimensions of customer experiences
• Role and measurement of emotions in tourism experiences
• Typology of tourism experience
• The essence of memorable experience
• Service employees and customer experience
• Tourism experiences in the light of global trends
• Issues and opportunities in customer journey mapping in tourism & hospitality experiences
• Open Innovation Technologies, Co-creation Experiences and Customer Engagement
• The role of technology in engagement and service experience
• Virtual reality, augmented reality in tourism engagement and experience
• Games and gamification in tourism, travel and hospitality
• Social media, online brand communities, and mobile applications in tourism engagement and experience
• Co-construction of the tourist engagement and experience in social networking sites
• Role of themes and stories about tourist engagement and experiences
• Role of customer touch points in smart tourism destinations and experiences.
• Open innovation and co-creation approaches
• Co-creation of tourism experience
• Key drivers of co-creation
• Key consequences of co-creation
• Co-creation through service dominant logic (SDL)
• Role of tourists and visitors in service experience for innovation
• Service innovation and value co-creation processes
Emerging Issues
• The socio-economic effects of COVID-19 on tourism and/or hospitality services
• Diversification of tourism and/or hospitality services during/after COVID-19
• The use of digital media during/after COVID-19
• The consumer engagement in a post COVID-19 era

Aims and Objectives
This academic book differentiates itself as it covers consumer engagement and experience in the realms of tourism, Moreover, it will include both theory and practical cases from around the globe.
• This academic book aims to explore and critically investigate the current debates, questions and controversies in the rapidly growing disciplines of Consumer Engagement and Experience in Tourism.
• It brings together leading specialists, including experienced academic researchers from various disciplinary backgrounds and geographical regions, to offer state-of-the-art theoretical reflection and empirical research on contemporary issues and debates in these timely topics.
• It also encourages constructive dialogue among academia across marketing-related fields of study.
• It will be international in its focus, as it transcends national boundaries.

Target Audience
• The book shall be a comprehensive reference point and source for academics who are interested on contemporary concepts, ideas and debates relating to consumer engagement and experience in tourism.
• The target audience of the book will be composed of experienced academic researchers, Ph.D. candidates, post-graduate researchers and advanced under-graduates in the field of consumer engagement, consumer experience and relationship marketing in various disciplines including tourism, hospitality, leisure, festivals and events.
• Furthermore, the book will offer good insights to prospective tourism industry practitioners including managers, executives and other employees who are willing to broaden their knowledge to better engage with consumers.

Submission Details
Academics and researchers are invited to submit a 300-word abstract before the 31st July 2020. Submissions should be sent to Mark.A.Camilleri@um.edu.mt. Authors will be notified about the editorial decision in August 2020. The accepted chapters should be submitted before the 31st January 2021. Their length should be around 7,000 words (excluding references, figures and tables). The manuscripts have to be typed double spaced in Times New Roman, font size 12, in an A4 paper. The contributions should feature the text, in the following sequence: title, abstract, keywords, introduction, literature review, methods, data analysis or interpretation of the findings, conclusions and implications, recommendations for future research, acknowledgements, references and a figure/table captions list in the same Word document. The references should be presented in APA style (Version 6). All submitted chapters will be
critically reviewed on a double-blind review basis. All authors will be requested to serve as reviewers for this book. They will receive a notification of acceptance, rejection or suggested modifications –before the 15th March 2021.

References
Ali, F., Ryu, K., & Hussain, K. (2016). Influence of experiences on memories, satisfaction and behavioral intentions: A study of creative tourism. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 33(1), 85-100.

Bilgihan, A., Okumus, F., & Cobanoglu, C. (2013). Generation Y travelers’ commitment to online social network websites. Tourism Management, 35, 13-22.

Brodie, R. J., Hollebeek, L. D., Jurić, B., & Ilić, A. (2011). Customer engagement: Conceptual domain, fundamental propositions, and implications for research. Journal of Service Research, 14(3), 252-271.

Buhalis, D., & Sinarta, Y. (2019). Real-time co-creation and nowness service: lessons from tourism and hospitality. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 36(5), 563-582.

Camilleri, M.A. (2018). Travel marketing, tourism economics and the airline product. Cham: Springer.

Camilleri, M.A. (Ed.) (2019a). Tourism planning and destination marketing. Bingley: Emerald Publishing.

Camilleri, M. A. (Ed.). (2019b). The Branding of Tourist Destinations: Theoretical and Empirical Insights. Bingley: Emerald Publishing.

Chu, S. C., & Kim, Y. (2011). Determinants of consumer engagement in electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) in social networking sites. International journal of Advertising, 30(1), 47-75.

Fang, B., Ye, Q., Kucukusta, D., & Law, R. (2016). Analysis of the perceived value of online tourism reviews: Influence of readability and reviewer characteristics. Tourism Management, 52, 498-506.

Harrigan, P., Evers, U., Miles, M., & Daly, T. (2017). Customer engagement with tourism social media brands. Tourism Management, 59, 597-609.

Hollebeek, L. D., Srivastava, R. K., & Chen, T. (2019). SD logic–informed customer engagement: integrative framework, revised fundamental propositions, and application to CRM. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 47(1), 161-185.

Lemon, K. N., & Verhoef, P. C. (2016). Understanding customer experience throughout the customer journey. Journal of Marketing, 80(6), 69-96.

Litvin, S. W., Goldsmith, R. E., & Pan, B. (2008). Electronic word-of-mouth in hospitality and tourism management. Tourism Management, 29(3), 458-468.

Rasoolimanesh, S. M., Md Noor, S., Schuberth, F., & Jaafar, M. (2019). Investigating the effects of tourist engagement on satisfaction and loyalty. The Service Industries Journal, 39(7-8), 559- 574.

Ram, Y., Björk, P., & Weidenfeld, A. (2016). Authenticity and place attachment of major visitor attractions. Tourism Management, 52, 110-122.

Rather, R. A., & Camilleri, M. A. (2019a). The effects of service quality and consumer-brand value congruity on hospitality brand loyalty. Anatolia, 30(4), 547-559.

Rather, R. A., & Hollebeek, L. D. (2019). Exploring and validating social identification and social exchange-based drivers of hospitality customer loyalty. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. 31(3), 1432-1451.

Rather, R. A., Hollebeek, L. D., & Islam, J. U. (2019). Tourism-based customer engagement: the construct, antecedents, and consequences. The Service Industries Journal, 39(7-8), 519-540.

Sigala, M., Christou, E., & Gretzel, U. (Eds.). (2012). Social media in travel, tourism and hospitality: Theory, practice and cases. Farnham, UK: Ashgate Publishing.

So, K. K. F., King, C., & Sparks, B. (2014). Customer engagement with tourism brands: Scale development and validation. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 38(3), 304-329.

Taheri, B., Jafari, A., & O’Gorman, K. (2014). Keeping your audience: Presenting a visitor engagement scale. Tourism Management, 42, 321-329.

Walls, A. R., Okumus, F., Wang, Y. R., & Kwun, D. J. W. (2011). An epistemological view of consumer experiences. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 30(1), 10-21.

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Filed under consumer brand identification, destination marketing, Hospitality, Marketing

Post-COVID19: The hoteliers’ shifts in beliefs, behaviours and their outlook for the future

The 2019-2020 coronavirus pandemic (COVID19) is currently having a devastating effect on the global economy at large. At the time, its impact is even more conspicuous in certain service industries including the travel and tourism sectors.

The closure of the international borders as well as the latest travel ban and lock down conditions have inevitably led to grounded air planes, docked cruise ships, idle tour buses, shuttered tourism businesses and tourist attractions. This dramatic situation has resulted in a sudden downward spiral in international arrivals and receipts in many tourist destinations.

The hospitality enterprises including hotels, bed and breakfasts, pubs, cafes, restaurants and the like, that are usually run by family businesses, are experiencing an unprecedented crisis unlike other entities in the private sector.

Currently, there is no demand for their services. COVID19 has changed some of the practitioners’ attitudes, policies and behaviours as they have adapted themselves to: enhance digital collaborations; engage with remote working technologies;  increase their workplace hygiene; and to find alternative sources of income by diversifying their services, among other issues. Hopefully, there will be better prospects for them when the current crisis ends. It is very likely that they will be operating in the context of a “new normal” in a post COVID19 era.

(This is an excerpt from my latest research project)

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Filed under Coronavirus, COVID19, Hospitality, Human Resources, human resources management, Market Research, Marketing

The Performance Management in Higher Education

This is an excerpt from my latest academic article, entitled; “Using the balanced scorecard as a performance management tool in higher education” that will be published in Sage’s “Management in Education” (Journal).


The higher education institutions (HEIs) are competing in a global marketplace, particularly those which are operating in the contexts of neoliberal policymaking (Fadeeva and Mochizuki, 2010; Deem et al., 2008; Olssen and Peters, 2005; Bleiklie, 2001). Several universities are characterized by their de-centralized leadership as they operate with budget constraints (Smeenk, Teelken, Eisinga and Doorewaard, 2008; Bleiklie, 2001). Notwithstanding, their stakeholders expect their increased accountability and quality assurance, in terms of their efficiency, economy and effectiveness (Witte and López-Torres, 2017; Smeek et al., 2008). Hence, HEIs set norms, standards, benchmarks, and quality controls to measure their performance; as they are increasingly market-led and customer-driven (Jauhiainen, Jauhiainen, Laiho and Lehto, 2015; Billing, 2004; Etzkowitz, et al., 2000). Specifically, the universities’ performance is having a positive effect on the economic development of societies; through the provision of inclusive, democratized access to quality education and high impact research (Arnesen & Lundahl, 2006). Moreover, the educational institutions are also expected to forge strong relationships with marketplace stakeholders, including business and industry (Waring, 2013).

As a result, many universities have adapted, or are trying to adapt to the changing environment as they re-structure their organization and put more emphasis on improving their organizational performance. These developments have inevitably led to the emergence of bureaucratic procedures and processes (Jauhiainen et al., 2015).  HEIs have even started using the corporate language as they formulate plans, set objectives, and use performance management criteria to control their resources (Smeenk et al., 2008; Ball, 2003). For instance, the Finnish universities have introduced new steering mechanisms, including the performance systems in budgeting, organizational reforms, management methods and salary systems (Camilleri, 2018; Jauhiainen et al., 2015). Previously, Welch (2007) noted that HEIs were adopting new modes of governance, organizational forms, management styles, and values that were prevalent in the private business sector. The logic behind these new managerial reforms was to improve the HEIs’ value for money principles (Waring, 2013; Deem, 1998). Therefore, the financing of HEIs is a crucial element in an imperfectly competitive, quasi-market model (Marginson, 2013; Olssen and Peters, 2005; Enders, 2004; Dill, 1997).

Academic commentators frequently suggest that the managerial strategies, structures, and values that belong to the ‘private sector’ are leading to significant improvements in the HEIs’ performance (Waring, 2013; Teelken, 2012; Deem and Brehony, 2005; Deem, 1998). On the other hand, critics argue that the ‘managerial’ universities are focusing on human resource management (HRM) practices that affect the quality of their employees’ job performance (Smeenk et al., 2008). Very often, HEIs are employing bureaucratic procedures involving time-consuming activities that could otherwise have been invested in research activities and / or to enhance teaching programs. The HEIs’ management agenda is actually imposed on the academics’ norms of conduct and on their professional behaviors. Therefore, the universities’ leadership can affect the employees’ autonomies as they are expected to comply with their employers’ requirements (Deem and Brehony, 2005). Smeenk et al. (2008) posited that this contentious issue may lead to perennial conflicts between the employees’ values and their university leaders’ managerial values; resulting in lower organizational commitment and reduced productivities.

The HEIs’ managerial model has led to a shift in the balance of power from the academics to their leaders as the universities have developed quality assurance systems to monitor and control their academic employees’ performance (Camilleri, 2018; Cardoso, Tavares and Sin, 2015). This trend towards managerialism can be perceived as a lack of trust in the academic community. However, the rationale behind managerialism is to foster a performative culture among members of staff, as universities need to respond to increased competitive pressures for resources, competences and capabilities (Decramer et al., 2013; Marginson, 2006; 2001; Enders, 2004). These issues have changed the HEIs’ academic cultures and norms in an unprecedented way (Chou and Chan, 2016; Marginson, 2013).

HEIs have resorted to the utilization of measures and key performance indicators to improve their global visibility. Their intention is to raise their institutions’ profile by using metrics that measure productivity. Many universities have developed their own performance measures or followed frameworks that monitor the productivity of academic members of staff (Taylor and Baines, 2012). Very often, their objective is to audit their academic employees’ work. However, their work cannot always be quantified and measured in objective performance evaluations. For instance, Waring (2013) argued that academic employees are expected to comply with their employers’ performance appraisals (PAs) and their form-filling exercises. The rationale behind the use of PAs is to measure the employees’ productivity in the form of quantifiable performance criteria. Hence, the PA is deemed as a vital element for the evaluation of the employees’ performance (Kivistö et al., 2017; Dilts et al., 1994). The PA can be used as part of a holistic performance management approach that measures the academics’ teaching, research and outreach. This performance management tool can possibly determine the employees’ retention, promotion, tenure as well as salary increments (Subbaye, 2018; Ramsden, 1991).

Therefore, PAs ought to be clear and fair. Their administration should involve consistent, rational procedures that make use of appropriate standards. The management’s evaluation of the employees’ performance should be based on tangible evidence. In a similar vein, the employees need to be informed of what is expected from them (Dilts et al., 1994). They should also be knowledgeable about due processes for appeal arising from adverse evaluations, as well as on grievance procedures, if any (Author, 2018). In recent years; the value of the annual performance appraisals (PAs) has increasingly been challenged in favor of more regular ‘performance conversations’ (Aguinis, 2013; Herdlein, Kukemelk and Türk, 2008). Therefore, regular performance feedback or the frequent appraisal of employees still remain a crucial aspect of the performance management cycle. Pace (2015) reported that the PA was used to develop the employees’ skills, rather than for administrative decisions. In a similar vein, the University of Texas (2019) HR page suggests that the appraisers’ role is “to set expectations, gather data, and provide ongoing feedback to employees, to assist them in utilizing their skills, expertise and ideas in a way that produces results”. However, a thorough literature review suggests that there are diverging views among academia and practitioners on the role of the annual PA, the form it should take, and on its effectiveness in the realms of higher education (Herdlein et al., 2008; DeNisi and Pritchard, 2006).

The Performance Management Frameworks

The HEIs’ evaluative systems may include an analysis of the respective universities’ stated intentions, peer opinions, government norms and comparisons, primary procedures from ‘self-evaluation’ through external peer review. These metrics can be drawn from published indicators and ratings, among other frameworks (Billing, 2004).  Their performance evaluations can be either internally or externally driven (Cappiello and Pedrini, 2017). The internally driven appraisal systems put more emphasis on self-evaluation and self-regulatory activities (Baxter, 2017; Bednall, Sanders and Runhaar, 2014; Dilts et al., 1994). Alternatively, the externally driven evaluative frameworks may involve appraisal interviews that assess the quality of the employees’ performance in relation to pre-established criteria (DeNisi and Pritchard, 2006; Cederblom, 1982).

Many countries, including the European Union (EU) states have passed relevant legislation, regulatory standards and guidelines for the HEIs’ quality assurance (Baxter, 2017), and for the performance evaluations of their members of staff (Kohoutek et al., 2018; Cardoso et al., 2015; Bleiklie, 2001). Of course, the academic employees’ performance is usually evaluated against their employers’ priorities, commitments, and aims; by using relevant international benchmarks and targets (Lo, 2009). The academics are usually appraised on their research impact, teaching activities and outreach (QS Ranking, 2019; THE, 2019). Their academic services, including their teaching resources, administrative support, and research output all serve as performance indicators that can contribute to the reputation and standing of the HEI that employs them (Geuna and Martin, 2003).

Notwithstanding, several universities have restructured their faculties and departments to enhance their research capabilities. Their intention is to improve their institutional performance in global rankings (Lo, 2014). Therefore, HEIs recruit academics who are prolific authors that publish high-impact research with numerous citations in peer reviewed journals (Wood and Salt, 2018; Author, 2018). They may prefer researchers with scientific or quantitative backgrounds, regardless of their teaching experience (Chou and Chan, 2016). These universities are prioritizing research and promoting their academics’ publications to the detriment of university teaching. Thus, the academics’ contributions in key international journals is the predominant criterion that is used to judge the quality of academia (Billing, 2004). For this reason, the vast majority of scholars are using the English language as a vehicle to publish their research in reputable, high impact journals (Chou and Chan, 2016). Hence, the quantity and quality of their research ought to be evaluated through a number of criteria (Lo, 2014; 2011; Dill and Soo, 2005).

University ranking sites, including (THE) and the QS Rankings, among others, use performance indicators to classify and measure the quality and status of HEIs. This would involve the gathering and analysis of survey data from academic stakeholders. THE and QS, among others clearly define the measures, their relative weight, and the processes by which the quantitative data is collected (Dill and Soo, 2005). The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) relies on publication-focused indicators as 60 percent of its weighting is assigned to the respective university’s research output. Therefore, these university ranking exercises are surely affecting the policies, cultures and behaviors of HEIs and of their academics (Wood and Salt, 2018; De Cramer et al., 2013; Lo, 2013).  For instance, the performance indicators directly encourage the recruitment of international faculty and students. Other examples of quantitative metrics include the students’ enrolment ratios, graduate rates, student drop-out rates, the students’ continuation of studies at the next academic level, and the employability index of graduates, among others. Moreover, qualitative indicators can also provide insightful data on the students’ opinions and perceptions about their learning environment. The HEIs could evaluate the students’ satisfaction with teaching; satisfaction with research opportunities and training; perceptions of international and public engagement opportunities; ease of taking courses across boundaries, and may also determine whether there are administrative / bureaucratic barriers for them (Kivistö et al., 2017; Jauhiainen et al., 2015; Ramsden, 1991). Hence, HEIs ought to continuously re-examine their strategic priorities and initiatives. It is in their interest to regularly analyze their performance management frameworks through financial and non-financial indicators, in order to assess the productivity of their human resources. Therefore, they should regularly review educational programs and course curricula (Kohoutek et al., 2018; Brewer and Brewer, 2010). On a faculty level, the university leaders ought to keep a track record of changes in the size of departments; age and distribution of academic employees; diversity of students and staff, in terms of gender, race and ethnicity, et cetera. In addition, faculties could examine discipline-specific rankings; and determine the expenditures per academic member of staff, among other options (Author, 2018).

The balanced scorecard

The balanced scorecard (BSC) was first introduced by Kaplan and Norton (1992) in their highly cited article, entitled “The Balanced Scorecard: Measures that Drive Performance”. BSC is an integrated results-oriented, performance management tool, consisting of financial and non-financial measures that link the organizations’ mission, core values, and vision for the future with strategies, targets, and initiatives that are designed to bring continuous improvements (Taylor and Baines, 2012; Wu, Lin and Chang, 2011; Beard, 2009; Umashankar and Dutta, 2007; Cullen, Joyce, Hassall and Broadbent, 2003; Kaplan and Norton, 1992). Its four performance indicators play an important role in translating strategy into action; and can be utilized to evaluate the performance of HEIs. BSC provides a balanced performance management system as it comprises a set of performance indices that can assess different organizational perspectives (Taylor and Baines, 2012). For BSC, the financial perspective is a core performance measure. However, the other three perspectives namely: customer (or stakeholder), organizational capacity and internal process ought to be considered in the performance evaluations of HEIs, as reported in the following table:

BSC Higher Education

The balanced scorecard approach in higher education

Cullen et al. (2003) suggested that the UK’s Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Scottish Funding Council (SHEFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), as well as the Department for Employment and Learning (DELNI) have incorporated the BSC’s targets in their Research Excellence Framework. Furthermore, other HEI targets, including: the students’ completion rates, the research impact of universities, collaborative partnerships with business and industry, among others, are key metrics that are increasingly being used in international benchmarking exercises, like the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS), among others. Moreover, BSC can be used to measure the academic employees’ commitment towards their employer (Umashankar and Dutta, 2007; McKenzie, and Schweitzer, 2001). Notwithstanding, Wu, Lin and Chang (2011) contended that the BSC’s ‘‘organizational capacity’’ is related to the employee development, innovation and learning. Hence the measurement of the HEIs’ intangible assets, including their intellectual capital is affected by other perspectives, including the financial one (Taylor and Baines, 2012). This table summarizes some of the strengths and weaknesses of the balanced scorecard.

BSC

BSC is widely used to appraise the financial and non-financial performance of businesses and public service organizations including HEIs. Many HEI leaders are increasingly following business-like approaches as they are expected to operate in a quasi-market environment (Marginson, 2013). They need to scan their macro environment to be knowledgeable about the opportunities and threats from the political, economic, social and technological factors. Moreover, they have to regularly analyze their microenvironment by evaluating their strengths and weaknesses.  Hence, several HEIs are increasingly appraising their employees as they assess their performance on a regular basis. They may even decide to take remedial actions when necessary.  Therefore, BSC can also be employed by HEIs to improve their academic employees’ productivity levels (Marginson, 2013; 2000).


A pre-publication version of the full article is available through ResearchGate and Academia.edu.

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Filed under academia, Balanced Scorecard, Education, Education Leadership, Higher Education, Human Resources, human resources management, performance appraisals, performance management, University Ranking, webometrics

The market for socially responsible investing

This is an excerpt from my latest paper, entitled: “The market for socially responsible investing: A review of the developments”. 

How to Cite: Camilleri, M.A. (2020). The market for socially responsible investing: A review of the developments. Social Responsibility Journal. DOI. 10.1108/SRJ-06-2019-0194.


There are various ratings and reference indices that are utilized by investors to evaluate financial and SRI portfolios (Scalet and Kelly, 2010). Typically, the SRI indices constitute a relevant proxy as they evaluate the ESG performance of listed businesses (Joliet and Titova, 2018; Le Sourd, 2011). A large number of SR contractors, analysts and research firms are increasingly specializing in the collection of ESG information as they perform ongoing analyses of corporate behaviors (Dumas and Louche, 2016). Many of them maintain a database and use it to provide their clients with a thorough ESG analysis (including proxy advice), benchmarks and engagement strategies of corporations. They publish directories of ethical and SRI funds, as they outline their investment strategies, screening criteria, and voting policies (Leite and Cortez, 2014). In a sense, these data providers support the responsible investors in their selection of funds.

 

SRI Indices, Ratings and Information Providers

KLD / Jantzi Global Environmental Index, Jantzi Research, Ethical Investment Research Service (Vigeo EIRIS) and Innovest (among others) analyze the corporations’ socially responsible and environmentally-sound behaviors as reported in Table 1. Some of their indices (to name a few) shed light about the impact of products (e.g. resource use, waste), the production processes (e.g. logging, pesticides), or proactive corporate activities (e.g. clean energy, recycling). Similarly, social issues are also a common category for these contractors. In the main, the SRI indices benchmark different types of firms hailing from diverse industries and sectors. They adjust their weighting for specific screening criteria as they choose which firms to include (or exclude) from their indices (Leite and Cortez, 2014; Scalet and Kelly, 2010). One of the oldest SRI indices for CSR and Sustainability ratings is the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. The companies that are featured in the Dow Jones Indices are analyzed by the Sustainable Asset Management (SAM) Group (i.e. a Swiss asset management company). Another popular SRI index is FTSE Russell’s KLD’s Domini 400 Social Index (also known as the KLD400) which partners with the Financial Times on a range of issues. Similarly, the Financial Times partners with an ESG research firm (i.e. EIRES) to construct its FTSE4 Good Index series. Smaller FTSE Responsible Investment Indices include the Catholic Values Index, the Calvert Social Index, the FTSE4Good indices, and the Dow Jones family of SRI Indices, among others. The KLD400 index screens the companies’ performance on a set of ESG criteria. It eliminates those companies that are involved in non-eligible industries. Impax, a specialist finance house (that focuses on the markets for cleaner or more efficient delivery of basic services of energy, water and waste) also maintain a group of FTSE Indices that are related to environmental technologies and business activities (FTSE Environment Technology and Environmental Opportunities). The Catholic Values Index uses the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines (i.e. positive screening approach) to scrutinize eligible companies (e.g., corporations with generous wage and benefit policies, or those who create environmentally beneficial technologies). This index could also exclude certain businesses trading in “irresponsible” activities. listed businesses according to their social audit of four criteria: the company’s products, their impact on the environment, labor relations, and community relations. The latter “community relations” variable includes issues such as the treatment of indigenous people, provision of local credit, operations of overseas subsidiaries, and the like. The responsible companies are then featured in the Index when and if they meet Calvert’s criteria. This index also maintains a target economic sector weighting scheme. Other smaller indices include; Ethibel Sustainability Index for Belgian (and other European) companies and OMX GES Ethical Index for Scandinavian companies, among others.

 

Table 1. Screenings of Responsible Investments

Positive Screens Negative Screens
Community Investment Alcohol
Employment / Equality Animal Testing
Environment Defence / Weapons
Human Rights Gambling
Labour Relations Tobacco
Proxy Voting

 

Generally, these SRI indices are considered as investment benchmarks. In a nutshell, SRI Indices have spawned a range of products, including index mutual funds, ETFs, and structured products (Riedl and Smeets, 2017). A wide array of SRI mutual funds regularly evaluate target companies and manage their investment portfolios. Therefore, they are expected to consider other important criteria such as risk and return targets (Trinks et al., 2018; Leite and Cortez, 2015; Humphrey and Lee, 2011). For instance, iShares lists two ETFs based on the KLD Index funds, and the Domini itself offers a number of actively managed mutual funds based on both ESG and community development issues (such as impact investments). In addition, there are research and ratings vendors who also manage a series of mutual funds, including Calvert and Domini (Scalet and Kelly, 2010).

 

Discussion

The SRI indices serve as a ‘seal of approval’ function for the responsible businesses that want to prove their positive impact investment credentials to their stakeholders. Currently, there are many factors that may be contributing for the growth of SRI:

 

Firstly, one of the most important factors for the proliferation of SRI is the access to information. Today’s investors are increasingly using technologies, including mobile devices and their related applications to keep them up to date on the most recent developments in business and society. Certain apps inform investors on the latest movements in the financial markets, in real-time. Notwithstanding, the SRI contractors are providing much higher quality data than ever before. As a result, all investors are in a position to take informed decisions that are based on evidence and research. Investors and analysts use “extra-financial information” to help them analyze investment decisions (GRI, 2019; Diouf and Boiral, 2017). This “extra-financial information” includes ESG disclosures on non-financial issues (Brooks and Oikonomou, 2018). These sources of information will encourage many businesses and enterprises to report on their responsible and sustainable practices (Diouf and Boiral, 2017). The companies’ integrated thinking could be a precursor for their integrated reporting (Camilleri, 2018; 2017b; GRI, 2019). Business can use integrated disclosures, where they provide details on their financial as well as on their non-financial information for the benefit of prospective investors and analysts, among other stakeholders.

 

Secondly, the gender equality issue has inevitably led to some of the most significant developments in the financial services industry. Nowadays, there are more emancipated women who are in employment, who are gainfully occupied as they are actively contributing in the labor market. Many women are completing higher educational programs and attaining relevant qualifications including MBA programs. Very often, these women move their way up the career ladder with large organizations. They may even become members on boards of directors and assume fiduciary duties and responsibilities. Other women are becoming entrepreneurs as they start their own business. During the last decades, an increased equality in the developed economies has led to SRI’s prolific growth. As a result, women are no longer the only the beneficiaries of social finance, as they are building a complete ecosystem of social investing (Maretick, 2015). “By 2020 women are expected to hold $72trn, 32% of the total. Most of the private wealth that changes hands in the coming decades is likely to go to women (The Economist, 2018). This wave of wealth is set to land in the laps of female investors who have shown positive attitudes toward social investing, when compared to their male counterparts. Maretick (2015) reported that half of the wealthiest women expressed an interest in social and environmental investing when compared to one-third of the wealthy men.

 

Thirdly, today’s investors are increasingly diversifying their portfolio of financial products. The default investment is the market portfolio, which is a value-weighted portfolio of all investable securities (Trinks and Scholtens, 2017). A growing body of evidence suggests that many investors do not necessarily have to sacrifice performance when they invest in socially responsible or environmentally sustainable assets. A relevant literature review denied the contention that social screening could result in corporate underperformance (Trinks and Scholtens, 2017; Lobe and Walkshäusl, 2011; Salaber 2013). Investors have realized that strategic corporate responsibility is congruent with prosperity (Porter and Kramer, 2011; Schueth, 2003). In fact, today’s major asset classes including global, international, domestic equity, balanced and fixed-income categories also comprise top-performing socially responsible mutual funds (Riedl and Smeets, 2017). Therefore, various financial products are reflecting the investors’ values and beliefs (Fritz and von Schnurbein, 2019). Consequentially, the broad range of competitive socially responsible investment options have resulted in diverse, well-balanced portfolios. In the U.S. and in other western economies, top-performing SRI funds can be found in all major asset classes. More and more investors are realizing that they can add value to their portfolios whilst supporting socially and environmental causes.

 

Fourthly, there are economic justifications for the existence of mutual funds in diversified portfolios. Although SRI funds are rated well above average performers no matter which ranking process one prefers to use (Scalet and Kelly, 2010; Schueth, 2003), other literature suggests that there are situations where the positive or negative screens did not add nor destroy the financial products’ portfolio value (Auer, 2016; Trinks and Scholtens, 2017; Hofmann et al., 2009). This matter can result in having mixed investments where there are SRI products that are marketed with other financial portfolios.

Currently, the financial industry is witnessing a consumer-driven phenomenon as there is a surge in demand for social investments. This paper mentioned a number of organizations that have developed indices to measure the organizational behaviors and their laudable practices. Very often, their metrics rely on positive or negative screens that are used to define socially responsible and sustainable investments (Leite and Cortez, 2014; Hofmann et al., 2009). However, despite these developments, the balanced investors are still investing their portfolio in different industries. As a result, they may be putting their money to support controversial businesses. Perhaps, in the future there could be alternative screening methods in addition to the extant inclusionary and exclusionary approaches. Several corporations are willingly disclosing their integrated reporting of financial and non-financial performance; as stakeholders including investors, demand a higher degree of accountability and transparency from them (Diouf and Boiral, 2017). As a result, a growing number of firms, are recognizing the business case for integrated thinking that incorporates financial and strategic corporate responsible behaviors. They can support the community through positive impact investments by allocating funds to reduce their externalities in society. Alternatively, they may facilitate shareholder activism and advocacy, among other actions (Viviers and Eccles, 2012). In sum, the responsible businesses’ stakeholder engagement as well as their sustainable investments can help them improve their bottom lines, whilst addressing their societal and community deficits.

 

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Viviers, S. and Eccles, N.S. (2012), “35 years of socially responsible investing (SRI) research-general trends over time”, South African Journal of Business Management, Vol. 43, No. 4, pp. 1-16.

Willis, A. (2003), “The role of the global reporting initiative’s sustainability reporting guidelines in the social screening of investments”, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 43, No. 3, pp. 233-237.

Walker, H. and Brammer, S. (2009), “Sustainable procurement in the United Kingdom public sector”, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp. 128-137.

 

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Filed under Corporate Social Responsibility, Impact Investing, Marketing, Socially Responsible Investment, SRI

What is Corporate Citizenship?

The corporate citizenship term was typically used to describe the corporations that can contribute to the ethical, philanthropic and societal goals. Therefore, this notion is rooted in political science as it directs corporations to respond to non-market pressures.

Throughout the years, the corporate citizenship agenda has been wrought from distinctive corporate social responsibility (CSR) theories and approaches. Its conceptual foundations can be found in the CSR literature (e.g., Carroll, 1979), corporate social responsiveness (e.g., Clarkson, 1995), corporate social performance (e.g., Albinger & Freeman, 2000), the theory of the firm” (McWilliams & Siegel, 2001), stakeholder engagement (Strand & Freeman, 2013); and other enlightened ‘self-interest’ theories; as corporate citizenship can be a source of opportunity, innovation and competitive advantage (Camilleri, 2017a, 2017b; Porter & Kramer, 2006). For this reason, this concept continues to receive specific attention, particularly by those responsible businesses that are differentiating themselves through responsible and sustainable behaviours.

 

Literature Review

The multinational corporations (MNCs) have been (and still are) under pressure to exhibit “good corporate citizenship” in every country or market from where they run their business. MNCs are continuously monitored by their stakeholders, including regulatory authorities, creditors, investors, customers and the community at large. They are also being scrutinised by academic researchers. Several empirical studies have explored the individuals’ attitudes and perceptions toward corporate citizenship. Very often, their measurement involved quantitative analyses that investigated the corporations’ responsible behaviours (Camilleri, 2017a; 2017b). Other research has focused on the managerial perceptions about corporate citizenship (e.g., Basu & Palazzo, 2008). A number of similar studies have gauged corporate citizenship by adopting Fortune’s reputation index (Flanagan, O’Shaughnessy, & Palmer, 2011; Melo & Garrido‐Morgado, 2012), the KLD index (Dupire & M’Zali, 2018; Fombrun, 1998; Griffin & Mahon, 1997) or Van Riel and Fombrun’s (2007) Reptrak. Such measures expected the surveyed executives to assess the extent to which their company behaves responsibly toward the environment and the community (Fryxell and Wang, 1994).

Despite the wide usage of such measures in past research, the appropriateness of these indices still remains doubtful. For instance, Fortune’s reputation index failed to account for the multidimensionality of the corporate citizenship construct; as it is suspected to be more significant of management quality than of corporate citizenship (Waddock & Graves, 1997). Fortune’s past index suffered from the fact that its items were not based on theoretical arguments as they did not appropriately represent the economic, legal, ethical, and discretionary dimensions of the corporate citizenship construct.

Pinkston and Carroll (1994) identified four dimensions of corporate citizenship, including; orientations, stakeholders, issues and decision-making autonomy. They argued that by observing orientations, one may better understand the inclinations or the posturing behaviours of organisations with respect to corporate citizenship. Pinkston and Carroll (1994) sought to identify the stakeholder groups that are benefiting from the businesses’ corporate citizenship practices. They argued that the businesses’ decision-making autonomy determined at what organisational level they engaged in corporate citizenship. In a similar vein, Griffin and Mahon (1997) combined four estimates of corporate citizenship: Fortune’s reputation index, the KLD index, the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), and the rankings that are provided in the Directory of Corporate Philanthropy.

Singh, De los Salmones Sanchez and Rodriguez del Bosque (2007) adopted a multidimensional perspective on three domains, including; commercial responsibility, ethical responsibility and social responsibility. Firstly, they proposed that the commercial responsibility construct relates to the businesses’ responsibility to develop high quality products and truthful marketing communications of their products’ attributes and features among customers. Secondly, they maintained that ethical responsibility is concerned with the businesses fulfilling their obligations toward their shareholders, suppliers, distributors and other agents with whom they make their dealings. Singh et al. (2007) argued that ethical responsibility involves the respect for the human rights and norms that are defined in the law when carrying out business activities. They hinted that respecting ethical principles in business relationships has more priority than achieving superior economic performance. Their other domain, social responsibility is concerned about with corporate citizenship initiatives that are characterised by the businesses’ laudable behaviors (Camilleri, 2017c). The authors suggest that the big businesses could allocate part of their budget to the natural environment, philanthropy, or toward social works that supported the most vulnerable groups in society. This perspective supports the development of financing social and/or cultural activities and is also concerned with improving societal well-being (Singh et al., 2007).

Conclusion

There are several actors within a society, including the government and policy makers, businesses, marketplace stakeholders and civil society organisations among others (Camilleri, 2015). It is within this context that a relationship framework is required to foster corporate citizenship practices in order to enhance the businesses’ legitimacy amongst stakeholders (Camilleri, 2017; Camilleri, 2018). The corporate citizenship practices including socially responsible and environmentally sustainable practices may be triggered by the institutional and/or stakeholder pressures.

 

References

Albinger, H.S. & Freeman, S.J. (2000). Corporate social performance and attractiveness as an employer to different job seeking populations. Journal of Business Ethics, 28(3), 243-253.

Basu, K. & Palazzo, G. (2008). Corporate social responsibility: A process model of sensemaking, Academy of Management Review, 33(1), 122-136.

Camilleri, M. A. (2015). Valuing stakeholder engagement and sustainability reporting. Corporate Reputation Review18(3), 210-222.

Camilleri, M. A. (2017a). Corporate citizenship and social responsibility policies in the United States of America. Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, 8(1), 77-93.

Camilleri, M. A. (2017b). Corporate Social Responsibility Policy in the United States of America. In Corporate Social Responsibility in Times of Crisis (pp. 129-143). Springer, Cham.

Camilleri, M. A. (2017c). Corporate sustainability and responsibility: creating value for business, society and the environment. Asian Journal of Sustainability and Social Responsibility2(1), 59-74.

Camilleri, M. A. (2018). Theoretical insights on integrated reporting: The inclusion of non-financial capitals in corporate disclosures. Corporate Communications: An International Journal. 23(4) 567-581.

Carroll, A.B. (1979). A three-dimensional conceptual model of corporate performance. Academy of Management Review, 4(4), 497-505.

Dupire, M., & M’Zali, B. (2018). CSR strategies in response to competitive pressures. Journal of Business Ethics148(3), 603-623.

Flanagan, D. J., O’shaughnessy, K. C., & Palmer, T. B. (2011). Re-assessing the relationship between the Fortune reputation data and financial performance: overwhelming influence or just a part of the puzzle?. Corporate Reputation Review14(1), 3-14.

Fombrun, C.J. (1998). Indices of corporate reputation: An analysis of media rankings and social monitors’ ratings. Corporate Reputation Review, 1(4), 327-340.

Griffin J.J. & Mahon, J.F. (1997). The corporate social performance and corporate financial performance debate twenty-five years of incomparable research. Business & Society, 36(1), 5-31.

McWilliams, A. & Siegel, D. (2001). Corporate social responsibility: A theory of the firm perspective, Academy of Management Review, 26(1), 117-127.

Melo, T., & Garrido‐Morgado, A. (2012). Corporate reputation: A combination of social responsibility and industry. Corporate social responsibility and environmental management19(1), 11-31.

Pinkston, T.S. & Carroll, A.B. (1994). Corporate citizenship perspectives and foreign direct investment in the US. Journal of Business Ethics, 13(3), 157-169.

Porter, M. E., & Kramer, M. R. (2006). The link between competitive advantage and corporate social responsibility. Harvard business review84(12), 78-92.

Strand, R. & Freeman, R.E. (2013). Scandinavian cooperative advantage: The theory and practice of stakeholder engagement in Scandinavia, Journal of Business Ethics, 127(1), 65-85.

Singh, J. & Del Bosque, I.R. (2008). Understanding corporate social responsibility and product perceptions in consumer markets: A cross-cultural evaluation. Journal of Business Ethics, 80(3), 597-611.

Van Riel, C.B. & Fombrun, C.J. (2007). Essentials of corporate communication: Implementing practices for effective reputation management, Routledge, Oxford, UK and New York, USA.

Waddock, S.A. & Graves, S.B. (1997). The corporate social performance-financial performance link, Strategic Management Journal, 18(4), 303-319.


This is an excerpt from one of my contributions that will appear in Springer’s Encyclopedia of Sustainable Management.

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Call for chapters: “Advancing the Circular Economy for a Sustainable Future”

Abstract submission deadline: 30th June 2020
Full chapters due: 31st December 2020

The Brundtland Report (WCED, 1987) defined sustainable development as; “development that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (p. 43). Its underlying assumption is that the world’s physical resources are not finite; therefore, they have to be managed responsibly to sustain future generations (Camilleri, 2018a; Camilleri, 2014). Subsequently, the United Nations (UN) Conference on Environment and Development has put forward Agenda 21 that dedicated a chapter that was focused on unsustainable patterns of production and consumption. This document recommended that the UN’s member states ought to intensify their efforts to reduce the use of scarce resources during production processes, whilst minimising the environmental impacts from the generation of waste and pollution (Camilleri, 2018a; Camilleri, 2014; Agenda 21, 1992).

In 2002, the UN Report of the World Summit on Sustainable Development also made reference to unsustainable patterns of production and consumption. The UN’s member states were urged to manage their natural resources in a sustainable manner and with lower negative environmental impacts; by promoting the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems, whilst reducing waste (WSSD, 2002, p. 13). Moreover, in another resolution, entitled; “The future we want,” the General Assembly at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development has reaffirmed its commitment to implementing green economy policies in the context of sustainable development. The heads of state and government or their representatives have agreed to continue promoting the integrated and sustainable management of ecosystems, whilst facilitating their conservation, regeneration, and restoration of resources (UNCSD, 2012). Furthermore, during the UN’s General Assembly Resolution of September 25 2015 entitled “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” the world leaders have agreed to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals that replaced the previous millennium development goals that were established in the year 2000. Specifically, the Sustainable Development Goal 12 of the 2030 agenda, namely, “Sustainable Consumption and Production” explained that there is an opportunity for business and industry to reap economic gains through resource and energy efficiencies. It also raised awareness on the use of sustainable infrastructures and urged the UN member states to address air, water, and soil pollution to minimise their environmental impact (UNDP, 2015). Moreover, the Paris Climate Agreement (COP 21) and Resolutions 1/5 and 2/7 on chemicals and waste, and 2/8 on sustainable production and consumption, as adopted by the first and second sessions of the United Nations Environment Assembly (that was held in Nairobi, Kenya, on the June 27, 2014 and the May 27, 2016), are also considered as important policy instruments for many stakeholders, as they have paved the way for the transition towards the CE strategy.

These intergovernmental policy recommendations on sustainable consumption and production have led to increased regulatory pressures on business and industry towards controlled operations management and environmentally responsible practices.

Relevant theoretical underpinnings reported that the circular economy reduces the reliance on resource extraction and raw materials (Camilleri, 2018b; Camilleri, 2017; Cooper, 1999). Therefore, it restores any damage in resource acquisition by ensuring that little waste is generated throughout the production process and during the products’ life. Liu, Li, Zuo, Zhang, and Wang (2009) explained that the circular economy aims at minimising the generation of waste, as it involves environmental conservation. Similarly, Su, Heshmati, Geng, and Yu (2013) contended that the circular economy strategy involves efficiency‐oriented control systems at all stages of production, distribution, and consumption of materials. They made reference to energy efficiency and water conservation, land management, and soil protection, among other issues. Hence, the circular economy model can lead to resource and energy efficiencies as well as economic development.

In this light, the publisher is calling for theoretical and empirical contributions that are focused on the sustainable production and consumption of resources, materials and products. Therefore, the readers of this publication will be in a better position to understand the operations and strategies in manufacturing industries as well as in closed loop and product-service systems (Camilleri, 2018a). This special issue will include but is not limited to the following topics:

  • Alternative consumption patterns;
  • Assessment and Reporting;
  • Biomass;
  • Clean production;
  • Circular economy;
  • Circular economy business models;
  • Circular economy product designs;
  • Climate change;
  • Climate change policy and adaptation;
  • Closed loop systems;
  • Corporate social responsibility;
  • Corporate sustainability,
  • Eco-efficiency;
  • Eco-industrial parks;
  • Ecological management and natural capital;
  • Education for sustainability;
  • Emissions reduction;
  • Energy efficiency;
  • Energy policy;
  • Energy use and consumption;
  • Environmental assessment;
  • Environmental behavior;
  • Environmental economics;
  • Environmental management;
  • Environmental policy;
  • Environmental protection;
  • Environmental sustainability;
  • Extended producer responsibility;
  • Footprints and other assessment types;
  • Green/sustainable engineering;
  • Green/sustainable supply chains;
  • Industrial, agricultural and supply chains;
  • Industrial ecology;
  • Life cycle assessment;
  • Pollution reduction;
  • Product-service systems;
  • Recycling Resources;
  • Regional sustainability;
  • Renewable energy;
  • Renewable resource;
  • Resource and energy use;
  • Resource Efficiency;
  • Sustainable consumption;
  • Sustainable production;
  • Sustainable tourism;
  • Urban and regional sustainability;
  • Water conservation;
  • Waste management;
  • Waste minimization;

 

Submission Procedure

Academics and researchers are invited to submit a 300-word abstract before the 30th June 2020. Submissions should be sent to Mark.A.Camilleri@um.edu.mt. Authors will be notified about the editorial decision during July 2020. The accepted chapters should be submitted before the 31st December 2020. The length of the chapters should be around 7,000 words (including references, figures and tables). The references should be presented in APA style (Version 6). All submitted chapters will be critically reviewed on a double-blind review basis. All authors will be requested to serve as reviewers for this book. They will receive a notification of acceptance, rejection or suggested modifications –before the 25th February 2021.

 

Note: There are no submission or acceptance fees for the publication of the book chapters. All abstracts / proposals should be submitted via the editor’s email.

 

Editor

Prof.  Dr. Mark Anthony Camilleri (Ph.D. Edinburgh)

Department of Corporate Communication,

Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences,

University of Malta, MALTA.

Email: mark.a.camilleri@um.edu.mt

 

Publisher

Following the double-blind peer review process, the full chapters will be submitted to Emerald for final review. For additional information regarding the publisher, please visit https://www.emerald.com/insight/. This prospective publication will be released in 2021.

 

References

Agenda 21.1992. United Nations Conference on Environment & Development. Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992. United Nations Sustainable Development. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/Agenda21.pdf.

Camilleri, M. (2014). Advancing the sustainable tourism agenda through strategic CSR perspectives. Tourism Planning & Development11(1), 42-56.

Camilleri, M. A. (2017). Closing the Loop of the Circular Economy for Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility. In Corporate Sustainability, Social Responsibility and Environmental Management (pp. 175-190). Springer, Cham.

Camilleri, M. A. (2018a). The circular economy’s closed loop and product service systems for sustainable development: A review and appraisal. Sustainable Development27(3), 530-536.

Camilleri, M. A. (2018b). Closing the loop for resource efficiency, sustainable consumption and production: A critical review of the circular economy. International Journal of Sustainable Development.21(1-4), 1-17.

Cooper, T. (1999). Creating an economic infrastructure for sustainable product design. Journal of Sustainable Product Design8, 7– 17.

Liu, Q., Li, H. M., Zuo, X. L., Zhang, F. F., & Wang, L. (2009). A survey and analysis on public awareness and performance for promoting circular economy in China: A case study from Tianjin. Journal of Cleaner Production, 17, 265– 270. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2008.06.003

Su, B., Heshmati, A., Geng, Y., & Yu, X. (2013). A review of the circular economy in China: Moving from rhetoric to implementation. Journal of Cleaner Production42, 215– 227. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2012.11.020

UNCSD (2012). Future we want—Outcome document. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 27 July 2012. United Nations General Assembly. http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/66/288&Lang=E.

UNDP (2015). Transforming our world. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015 http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/migration/generalassembly/docs/globalcompact/A_RES_70_1_E.pdf.

WCED (1987). Our common future. In World commission on environment and development. Oxford, U.K: Oxford University press.

WSSD (2002). United Nations report of the world summit on sustainable development. Johannesburg, South Africa, 26 August‐ 4 September 2002. http://www.un‐documents.net/aconf199‐20.pdf.

 

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Market Research – Whose job is it?

untitledWho should carry out the research is a very valid question. Do the marketing managers have the right skills and competences to do it themselves? Are they assigning an agency to do this job for them? These are basic considerations to take into account when addressing the captioned question.

Can the businesses dedicate sufficient time and resources to carry out the research themselves? The quality of the data to be collected during fieldwork may be threatened if the sponsor is identified as the surveyor. Marketing managers are expected to act in an assertive and vocal manner. They can sometimes encounter difficulties in adopting a neutral role, particularly when they are researching the market. However, it is important for managers to engage with customers. The research fieldwork would surely increase their understanding of the market in which they operate. It would also give them a better idea of what to expect from other researchers. It may be possible for the marketing managers to get involved in the fieldwork during the pilot stage of the questionnaire.

This will give them a greater appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of the questionnaire. Most businesses that are serious about customer-centric marketing will have dedicated market research departments; with at least some skilled and experienced members of staff, who would be capable of gathering and analysing data. For instance, airlines use their own staff to carry out day-to-day market research, including an ongoing flight survey analysis. However, airlines may occasionally recruit external  research consultants. External researchers will work in a more objective manner than internal researchers. They will also bring fresh ideas with them.

When external research is commissioned, the role of the airlines’ managers is to define the research problem. They are expected to specify to the researchers their objectives, and to clarify on the information required. It is crucial that they act on the research results after they have been carefully analysed and processed.

Preparing a Brief
The business that is commissioning research should consider a list of specialised agencies which may be appropriate for them. They should choose a reputable research organisation according to its capabilities and expertise. Once a research organisation is chosen, the business should provide a brief to the research organisation, which should include; the business and research objectives; suggestions on how market and consumer data can be collected; the type of research being envisioned (by clearly indicating what are the businesses expectations from this project); question areas to be covered during the research; a realistic time table; and a budget:

research brief

Some may argue that, by revealing to the agency that a large amount of money is available, there is a danger that they will find ways to spend the budgeted figures. It is advisable that the commissioning business will ask for quotes from several research agencies before committing itself with one of them.

The Research Agency’s Proposal
After the agency has been briefed, the agencies should then return a proposal to the business, by an agreed date. The proposal could include the following elements:

a) Statement of objectives: A statement of objectives should clearly reflect the list of objectives that were presented to them, in the brief;

b) Description of how the research will be done: This includes a description of the various research methods that will be used for data collection. They should give details on the sampling method. A breakdown of questionnaire content should be included, as should details on all the data analytical processes to be undertaken. That is, the coding of data and the statistical analysis of quantitative findings. Alternatively, they could explain how qualitative data will be analysed, et cetera. The agency should justify its decision for adopting specific methodologies;

c) Reporting: The proposal should highlight how the research findings will be presented. The proposal should give details on the presentation and tabulation of results.

d) Costs: The agency should also present a clear breakdown of the individual costs for the research project.

Implementation of the Research Plan
Once the management has defined the problem, delineated their research objectives and decided on what information they require, they should proceed to the next stage of the research process. They are expected to design the survey questionnaire and / or prepare a brief for their field interviews.

When the questionnaires have been constructed and tested, it’s time for them to start gathering the data. This entails engaging with a sample of respondents, and examining other research options. This process should be closely monitored (by the marketing manager or the research agency, as appropriate) to ensure that the collected data is valid, reliable and trustworthy.

This stage is the most expensive part of the data collection process, and the agency or the organisations’ management should continuously monitor how the research is being is carried out.

The members of staff who are gathering data have be objective whilst collecting their data, throughout the research fieldwork.

Data Analysis
Having collected the data, marketers must then interpret their findings. Interpretation is easier if the data analytical methods are carefully planned in the research process. The results of the collected data may be a large pile of completed survey questionnaires (if the researchers have used printed questionnaires). Alternatively, the researchers could have annotated their qualitative data in the form of transcripts. The way how the gathered data is analysed and presented is an influential factor of how valuable the research will be. Many research agencies are increasingly using computer software packages to statistically analyse their quantitative findings.

The researchers will draw their own conclusions in writing and may also use data tables. The statistical analyses usually focus on the results, and on what deviates from the variable being measured. These findings will be analysed and interpreted by the researchers, and presented to the respective marketing managers. It is important that they will be in a position to understand the main findings and the research implications.

Preparation and Presentation of a Research Report
The following section provides a useful guideline of what should be featured in a research report. The report will communicate the research findings and the implications of study to the decision makers. Key elements in the report are presented here:

1) Title Page (this area lists the title, client, research agency, date, et cetera);

2) List of Contents;

3) Preface;

4) Summary of the Findings or Conclusions (the summary of the main findings may be accompanied by recommendations);

Points 1-4 provide a concise report of the nature and outcome of the research programme.

5) Previous Related Research (This section indicates how previous knowledge may have a bearing on the research at hand);

6) Research Method (Procedures that are used to collect information; How was the research conducted? – How was the research carried out? – Who were the research participants? – What were the research techniques that were used in the analysis? – The characteristics and size of samples should also be recorded;

7) Results (It is important to provide clear, simple and a logical presentation of the research findings. The results are usually presented through paragraphs, tables and graphs);

8) Conclusions;

9) Appendices.

Points 5-9 provide the detailed evidence from which conclusions, implications and recommendation are derived.

Generally, a report seldom provides answers to all of the research questions under investigation. Thus, the research limitations will have to be pointed out in the report, along with reasonable explanations of the potential weaknesses of the research methodologies, sampling frames and analytical techniques that were employed in the study. Moreover, the research report will only be valuable to the commissioning business it the marketing managers would make a good use of its key findings and recommendations.

 


This is a excerpt from one of my latest chapters.

How to Cite: Camilleri, M. A. (2018). Understanding customer needs and wants. In Travel marketing, tourism economics and the airline product (pp. 29-50). Springer, Cham. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-49849-2_2

 

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Submit your paper to Sustainability’s special issue on smart cities and digital innovation

I am co-editing a Special issue for Sustainability (IF: 2.592). Your contributions should be related to “The Sustainable Development of Smart Cities through Digital Innovation”

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2020.

Special Issue Information

The ‘smart city’ concept has been wrought from distinctive theoretical underpinnings. Initially, this term was used to describe those cities that utilized advanced computerized systems to provide a safe, secure, green, and efficient transportation services and utilities to meet the demands of their citizens (Caragliu, Del Bo & Nijkamp, 2011; Hall, Bowerman and Braverman, Taylor, Todosow and Von Wimmersperg, 2000). A thorough literature review suggests that several cities are already using disruptive technologies, including advanced, integrated materials, sensors, electronics, and networks, among others, which are interfaced with computerized systems to improve their economic, social and environmental sustainability (Camilleri, 2015, 2017; Deakin and Al Waer, 2011; Hall et al., 2000). These cities are increasingly relying on data-driven technologies, as they gather and analyze data from urban services including transportation and utilities (Ramaswami, Russell, Culligan, Sharma and Kumar, 2016; Gretzel, Sigala, Xiang and Koo, 2015). Their underlying objective is to improve the quality of life of their citizens (Ratten, 2017; Buhalis and Amaranggana, 2015). Hence, ‘smart cities’ have introduced technological innovations to address contingent issues like traffic congestion; air pollution; waste management; loss of biodiversity and natural habitat; energy generation, conservation and consumption; water leakages and security, among other matters (Camilleri, 2019; 2014; Ahvenniemi, Huovila, Pinto-Seppä and Airaksinen, 2017; Ratten and Dana, 2017; Ratten, 2017).

Ecologically-advanced local governments and municipalities are formulating long-term sustainable policies and strategies. Some of them are already capturing data through multisensor technologies via wireless communication networks in real time (Bibri, 2018; Bibri and Krogstie, 2017). Very often, they use the Internet’s infrastructure and a wide range of smart data-sensing devices, including radio frquency identification (RFID), near-field communication (NFC), global positioning systems (GPS), infrared sensors, accelerometers, and laser scanners (Bibri, 2018). A few cities have already started to benefit from the Internet of Things (IoT) technology and its sophisticated network that consists of sensor devices and physical objects including infrastructure and natural resources (Zanella, Bui, Castellani, Vangelista and Zorzi, 2014).

Several cities are crunching big data to better understand how to make their cities smarter, more efficient, and responsive to today’s realities (Mohanty, Choppali and Kougianos, 2016; Ramaswami et al., 2016). They gather and analyze a vast amount of data and intelligence on urban aspects, including transportation issues, citizen mobility, traffic management, accessibility and protection of cultural heritage and/or environmental domains, among other areas (Angelidou, Psaltoglou, Komninos, Kakderi, Tsarchopoulos and Panori, 2018; Ahvenniemi et al., 2017). The latest advances in technologies like big data analytics and decision-making algorithms can support local governments and muncipalities to implement the circular economy in smart cities (Camilleri, 2019). The data-driven technologies enable them them to reduce their externalities. They can monitor and control the negative emissions, waste, habitat destruction, extinction of wildlife, etc. Therefore, the digital innovations ought to be used to inform the relevant stakeholders in their strategic planning and development of urban environments (Camilleri, 2019; Allam & Newman, 2018; Yigitcanlar and Kamruzzaman, 2018; Angelidou et al. ,2018; Caragliu et al., 2011).

In this light, we are calling for theoretical and empirical contributions that are focused on the creation, diffusion, as well as on the utilization of technological innovations and information within the context of smart, sustainable cities. This Special Issue will include but is not limited to the following topics:

  • Advancing the circular economy agenda in smart cities;
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning in smart cities;
  • Blockchain technologies in smart cities;
  • Green economy of smart cities;
  • Green infrastructure in smart cities;
  • Green living environments in smart cities;
  • Smart cities and the sustainable environment;
  • Smart cities and the use of data-driven technologies;
  • Smart cities and the use of the Internet of Things (IoT);
  • Sustainable energy of smart cities;
  • Sustainable financing for infrastructural development in smart cities;
  • Sustainable housing in smart cities;
  • Sustainable transportation in smart cities;
  • Sustainable tourism in smart cities;
  • Technological innovation and climate change for smart cities;
  • Technological innovation and the green economy of smart cities;
  • Technological innovation and the renewable energy in smart cities;
  • Technological innovation and urban resilience of smart cities;
  • Technological innovation for the infrastructural development of smart cities;
  • The accessibility and protection of the cultural heritage in smart cities;
  • The planning and design of smart cities;
  • The quality of life of the citizens and communities living in smart cities;
  • Urban innovation in smart cities;
  • Urban planning that integrates the smart city development with the greening of the environment;
  • Urban planning and data driven technologies of smart cities.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Mark Anthony Camilleri E-Mail Website
Department of Corporate Communication, University of Malta, Msida, MSD2080, Malta.
Interests: sustainability; digital media; stakeholder engagement; corporate social responsibility; sustainable tourism
Prof. Dr. Vanessa Ratten E-Mail Website
Department of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Marketing, La Trobe University – Melbourne, Australia
Interests: innovation; technology; entrepreneurship

 

References:

  1. Ahvenniemi, H., Huovila, A., Pinto-Seppä, I., & Airaksinen, M. (2017). What are the differences between sustainable and smart cities?. Cities60, 234-245.
  2. Allam, Z., & Newman, P. (2018). Redefining the smart city: Culture, metabolism and governance. Smart Cities1(1), 4-25
  3. Angelidou, M., Psaltoglou, A., Komninos, N., Kakderi, C., Tsarchopoulos, P., & Panori, A. (2018). Enhancing sustainable urban development through smart city applications. Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management9(2), 146-169.
  4. Bibri, S. E., & Krogstie, J. (2017). Smart sustainable cities of the future: An extensive interdisciplinary literature review. Sustainable cities and society31, 183-212.
  5. Bibri, S. E. (2018). The IoT for smart sustainable cities of the future: An analytical framework for sensor-based big data applications for environmental sustainability. Sustainable Cities and Society38, 230-253.
  6. Buhalis, D., & Amaranggana, A. (2015). Smart tourism destinations enhancing tourism experience through personalisation of services. In Information and communication technologies in tourism 2015 (pp. 377-389). Springer, Cham.
  7. Camilleri, M. (2014). Advancing the sustainable tourism agenda through strategic CSR perspectives. Tourism Planning & Development11(1), 42-56.
  8. Camilleri, M. A. (2015). Environmental, social and governance disclosures in Europe. Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal6(2), 224-242.
  9. Camilleri, M. A. (2017). Corporate sustainability and responsibility: creating value for business, society and the environment. Asian Journal of Sustainability and Social Responsibility2(1), 59-74.
  10. Camilleri, M. A. (2019). The circular economy’s closed loop and product service systems for sustainable development: A review and appraisal. Sustainable Development27(3), 530-536.
  11. Caragliu, A., Del Bo, C., & Nijkamp, P. (2011). Smart cities in Europe. Journal of urban technology18(2), 65-82.
  12. Deakin, M., & Al Waer, H. (2011). From intelligent to smart cities. Intelligent Buildings International3(3), 140-152.
  13. Gretzel, U., Sigala, M., Xiang, Z., & Koo, C. (2015). Smart tourism: foundations and developments. Electronic Markets25(3), 179-188.
  14. Hall, R. E., Bowerman, B., Braverman, J., Taylor, J., Todosow, H., & Von Wimmersperg, U. (2000). The vision of a smart city (No. BNL-67902; 04042). Brookhaven National Lab., Upton, NY (US).
  15. Mohanty, S. P., Choppali, U., & Kougianos, E. (2016). Everything you wanted to know about smart cities: The internet of things is the backbone. IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine5(3), 60-70.
  16. Ramaswami, A., Russell, A. G., Culligan, P. J., Sharma, K. R., & Kumar, E. (2016). Meta-principles for developing smart, sustainable, and healthy cities. Science352(6288), 940-943.
  17. Ratten, V., & Dana, L. P. (2017). Sustainable entrepreneurship, family farms and the dairy industry. International Journal of Social Ecology and Sustainable Development (IJSESD)8(3), 114-129.
  18. Ratten, V. (2017). Entrepreneurship, innovation and smart cities. Routledge: Oxford, UK.
  19. Yigitcanlar, T., & Kamruzzaman, M. (2018). Does smart city policy lead to sustainability of cities? Land Use Policy73, 49-58.
  20. Zanella, A., Bui, N., Castellani, A., Vangelista, L., & Zorzi, M. (2014). Internet of things for smart cities. IEEE Internet of Things journal1(1), 22-32.

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • Sustainability
  • Smart Cities
  • Digital innovation
  • Technological innovation
  • Sustainable innovation
  • Big Data
  • Internet of Things
  • Artificial Intelligence

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Filed under Analytics, Big Data, blockchain, Business, Circular Economy, Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, CSR, destination marketing, digital media, ESG Reporting, Impact Investing, Integrated Reporting, responsible tourism, Shared Value, smart cities, Socially Responsible Investment, SRI, Stakeholder Engagement, Sustainability, sustainable development

Promoting strategic corporate social responsibility among practitioners

What is Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility?

Organisations engage in Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility (Strategic CSR) when they integrate responsible behaviours in their corporate practices (Camilleri, 2018; Porter & Kramer, 2011). Therefore, Strategic CSR is often evidenced by the businesses’ engagement with key stakeholders, including customers, employees, shareholders, regulatory authorities and communities as their non-financial activities can have an effect on society and the natural environment (Camilleri, 2017a). The ultimate goal of strategic CSR is to create both economic and social value (Carroll & Shabana, 2010; Falck & Heblich, 2007).


Introduction

The businesses’ CSR practices may result in a sustained competitive advantage if they are willing to forge strong relationships with their stakeholders (Camilleri, 2015a; Freeman,  & McVea, 2001). Therefore, businesses ought to communicate with employees, customers, suppliers, regulatory stakeholders as well as with their surrounding community (EU, 2016; Bhattacharya, Korschun & Sen, 2009). Positive stakeholder relationships can lead to an improved organizational performance, in the long run (Camilleri, 2015a).

The most successful businesses are increasingly promoting the right conditions of employment for their employees, within their supply chains (Camilleri, 2017b). They are also instrumental in improving the lives of their suppliers (Camilleri, 2017c; Porter & Kramer, 2011). They do so as they would like to enhance the quality and attributes of their products or services; which are ultimately delivered to customers and consumers. Hence, their long-term investments on strategic CSR activities are likely to yield financial returns for them. At the same time they will add value to society (McWilliams et al., 2006; Falck & Heblich, 2007). Therefore, the strategic CSR involves the promotion of socially and environmentally responsible practices they are re-aligned with the businesses’ profit motives (Camilleri, 2017b,c).


Key Theoretical Underpinnings

The Strategic CSR perspective resonates well with the agency theory. In the past, scholars argued that the companies’ only responsibility was to maximise their owners’ and shareholders’ wealth (Levitt, 1958; Friedman, 1970). Hence, companies were often encouraged to undertake CSR strategies which can bring value to their businesses and to disregard those activities which are fruitless. However, at times, the fulfilment of philanthropic responsibilities can also  benefit the bottom line (Lantos, 2001).

Although, it could be difficult to quantify the returns of responsible behaviours, relevant research has shown that those companies that practiced social and environmental responsibility did well by doing good (Falck & Heblich, 2007, Porter & Kramer, 2011).Some of the contributions on this topic suggest that corporate philanthropy should be deeply rooted in the firms’ competences and linked to their business environment (Camilleri, 2015; Porter & Kramer, 2002; Godfrey, 2005). Many authors often referred to the CSR’s core domains (economic, legal and ethical responsibilities) that were compatible and consistent with the relentless call for the business case of CSR (Camilleri, 2015b; Carroll & Shabana, 2010, Vogel, 2005).

Many commentators argued that the strategic CSR practices may result in a new wave of social benefits as well as gains for the businesses themselves (Fombrun et al., 2000; Porter & Kramer, 2011) rather than merely acting on well-intentioned impulses or by reacting to outside pressures (Van Marrewijk, 2003). Lozano (2015) indicated that the business case is the most important driver for CSR engagement. Thus, proper incentives may encourage managers ‘to do well by doing good’ (Falck & Heblich, 2007). If it is a company’s goal to survive and prosper, it can do nothing better than to take a long-term view and understand that if it treats society well, society will return the favour. Companies could direct their discretionary investments to areas (and cost centres) that are relevant to them (Gupta & Sharma, 2009). The reconciliation of shareholder and other stakeholders addresses the perpetual relationship between business and society, as companies are expected to balance the conflicting stakeholder interests for long term sustainability (Orlitzky et al., 2011; Camilleri, 2017c; Camilleri 2019).

 

Conclusion
Many companies are increasingly recognising the business case for CSR as they allocate adequate and sufficient resources to financial and non-financial activities that will ultimately benefit their stakeholders. Their motivation behind their engagement in strategic CSR practices is to increase their profits and to create shareholder value. At the same time, they strengthen their competitive advantage through stakeholder management.

References

Bhattacharya CB, Korschun D, Sen S (2009). Strengthening stakeholder–company relationships through mutually beneficial corporate social responsibility initiatives. J Bus Ethics 85(2):257–272.

Camilleri, M.A. (2015a). Valuing Stakeholder Engagement and Sustainability Reporting. Corporate Reputation Review, 18 (3), 210-222.

Camilleri, M.A. (2015b) The Business Case for Corporate Social Responsibility. In Menzel Baker, S. & Mason, M.(Eds.) Marketing & Public Policy as a Force for Social Change Conference. (Washington D.C., 4th June). Proceedings, pp. 8-14, American Marketing Association.

Camilleri M.A. (2017a) Corporate sustainability, social responsibility and environmental management: an introduction to theory and practice with case studies. Springer, Cham, Switzerland.

Camilleri, M.A. (2017b). Corporate Citizenship and Social Responsibility Policies in the United States of America. Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal. 8 (1), 77-93.

Camilleri, M.A. (2017c). The Rationale for Responsible Supply Chain Management and Stakeholder Engagement. Journal of Global Responsibility. 8 (1), 111-126.

Camilleri, M.A. (2018). The SMEs’ Technology Acceptance of Digital Media for Stakeholder Engagement. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development.  26(4), 504-521.

Camilleri, M.A. (2019). Measuring the corporate managers’ attitudes toward ISO’s social responsibility standard. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence. 30(14), 1549-1561.

Carroll AB, Shabana KM (2010). The business case for corporate social responsibility: a review of concepts, research and practice. Int J Manag Rev 12(1):85–105.

European Union (2016). Corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the EU. European Commission Publications, Brussels, Belgium http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=331.

Falck O, Heblich S (2007). Corporate social responsibility: doing well by doing good. Business Horizons 50(3):247–254.

Freeman, R. E., & McVea, J. (2001). A stakeholder approach to strategic management. The Blackwell handbook of strategic management, 189-207.

Friedman M (1970). The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. New York Times Magazine 13:32–33.

Godfrey PC (2005). The relationship between corporate philanthropy and shareholder wealth: a risk management perspective. Acad Manag Rev 30(4):777–798.

Gupta S, Sharma N (2009). CSR-A business opportunity. Indian Journal of Industrial Relations:396–401.

Lantos GP (2001). The boundaries of strategic corporate social responsibility. J Consum Mark 18(7):595–632.

Levitt T (1958). The dangers of social-responsibility. Harv Bus Rev 36(5):41–50.

Lozano R (2015). A holistic perspective on corporate sustainability drivers. Corp Soc Responsib Environ Manag 22(1): 32–44.

Orlitzky M, Siegel DS, Waldman DA (2011). Strategic corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability. Business & society 50(1):6–27.

Porter ME, Kramer MR (2011). Creating shared value. Harv Bus Rev 89(1/2):62–77.

Van Marrewijk M (2003). Concepts and definitions of CSR and corporate sustainability: between agency and communion. J Bus Ethics 44(2):95–105.

Vogel DJ (2005). Is there a market for virtue? The business case for corporate social responsibility. Calif Manag Rev 47(4):19–45.

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