Monthly Archives: November 2019

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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Filed under Business, Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility, CSR, Shared Value, Small Business, SMEs, Stakeholder Engagement, Sustainability, sustainable development

The online users’ engagement with e-Government services

This is an excerpt from my latest academic contribution.

How to Cite: Camilleri, M.A. (2019). The online users’ perceptions toward electronic government services. Journal of Information, Communication & Ethics in Society. 10.1108/JICES-09-2019-0102


tech

Several governments around the globe are utilizing the digital and mobile technologies to enhance the provision of their public services (EuroParl, 2015; Zuiderwijk Janssen & Dwivedi. 2015). Digital and mobile services are the facilitating instruments that are enabling all levels of the governments’ operations, to better service their citizens, big businesses, small enterprises and non-profit organizations (Wirtz & Birkmeyer, 2018; Rana & Dwivedi, 2015; Evans & Campos, 2013). The-governments are increasingly relying on ICT, including computers, websites and business process re-engineering (BPR) to engage with online users (Isaías, Pífano & Miranda, 2012; Weerakkody, Janssen & Dwivedi, 2011). Hence, the delivery of e-government and m-government services may usually demand the public service to implement specific transformational processes and procedures that are ultimately intended to add value to customers (Pereira, Macadar, Luciano & Testa, 2017).  Previously, the-governments’ consumers relied on face-to-face interactions or on telephone communications to engage with their consumers. Gradually, many governments had introduced interactive communications as departments and their officials started using the emails to engage with online users. Today, citizens and businesses can communicate and interact with the-government departments and agencies in real-time, through virtual call centers, via instant-messaging (IM), graphical user interfaces (GUI) and audio/video presentations.

In the past, the-governments’ services were operated in administrative silos of information (EuroParl, 2017). However, the electronic governance involves the data exchange between the-government and its stakeholders, including the businesses as well as the general public (Pereira et al., 2017; Rana & Dwivedi, 2015; Chun et al., 2010). The advances in interactive technologies have brought significant improvements in the delivery of service quality to online users of the Internet (Sá, Rocha & Cota, 2016; Isaías et al., 2012). As a result, the e-government and m-government services have become refined and sophisticated. Thus, the provision of online services is more efficient and less costly when compared to the offline services.

However, there are still many citizens and businesses who for various reasons may not want to engage with the-governments’ electronic and/or mobile services (Shareef, Kumar, Dwivedi & Kumar, 2016; 2014). This argumentation is conspicuous with the digital divide in society as not everyone is benefiting from an equitable access and democratic participation in the Internet or from the e-government systems (Ebbers, Jansen & van Deursen, 2016; Friemel, 2016; Luna-Reyes, Gil-Garcia & Romero, 2012; Isaías, Miranda & Pífano, 2009). The low usage of e-government systems impedes the ability of many governments to connect to citizens (Danila & Abdullah, 2014). Mensah (2018) held that the government authorities should promote the utilization of user-friendly mobile applications as the majority of citizens are increasingly engaging with their smartphones for different purposes, including to access information and services. Many countries around the world have introduced online government portals can be accessed through desktop computers as well as via mobile-friendly designs (Camilleri, 2019a; Ndou, 2004). Massey et al. (2019) posited that the government’s electronic services can be integrated among different devices in order to ensure an effective service delivery. These authors also maintained that the citizens are increasingly relying on the features of the mobile technologies as they are always connected to wireless networks. Their portable, mobile devices can provide access to a wide array of public information at any time and in any place (Camilleri & Camilleri, 2019; Wirtz & Birkmeyer, 2018; Sareen, Punia, & Chanana, 2013).

In a similar vein, many citizens may easily access their respective government’s online portal via virtual, open networks. They can also receive instantaneous messages and responses from the governments’ public service systems in their mobile devices, including smart phones or tablets (Shareef et al., 2016). Therefore, m-governance can possibly enhance the quality of the public services in terms of improved efficiency and cost savings (Madden, Bohlin, Oniki, & Tran, 2013). Notwithstanding, in the near future, the government’s electronic systems will be in a better position to exceed their citizens’  expectations, in terms of quality of service (Li & Shang, 2019). The advances in technology, including the increased massive wireless data traffic from different application scenarios, as well as the efficient resource allocation schemes will be better exploited to improve the capacity of online and mobile networks (Zhang, Liu, Chu, Long, Aghvami & Leung, 2017). For instance, the fifth generation (5G) of mobile communication systems is expected to enhance  the citizens’ service quality as they may offer higher mobile connection speeds, capacities and reduced latencies (Osseiran, Boccardi, Braun, Kusume, Marsch, Maternia & Tullberg, 2014; Zhang et al., 2017).

Nevertheless, despite these technological breakthroughs, there are many citizens who are still reluctant to use the-governments’ electronic and/or mobile services as they hold negative perceptions toward public administration (Wirtz & Birkmeyer, 2018; Shareef, Dwivedi, Stamati, & Williams, 2014). These individuals are not comfortable to share their personal information online (Van Deursen & Van Dijk, 2014). They may perceive that e-government and/or m-government platforms are risky and unsecure (Conradie & Choenni, 2014; Bélanger & Carter, 2008). Consequentially, they will decide not to upload their data as they suspect that it can be used by third parties (Picazo-Vela et al., 2012; Bélanger & Carter, 2008).

References (these are all the references that appeared in the bibliography section of the full paper).

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Camilleri, M. A. and Camilleri, A.C. (2017a), “The technology acceptance of mobile applications in education”, In 13th International Conference on Mobile Learning (Budapest, April 10th). Proceedings, International Association for Development of the Information Society.

Camilleri, M.A., and Camilleri, A.C. (2017b), “Digital learning resources and ubiquitous technologies in education”, Technology, Knowledge and Learning, Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 65-82.

Camilleri, M. A. (2019a), “Exploring the Behavioral Intention to Use e-Government Services: Validating the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology”. 9th International Conference on Internet Technologies & Society, Lingnan University, Hong Kong. IADIS.

Camilleri, M. (2019b), “The SMEs’ technology acceptance of digital media for stakeholder engagement”, Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 26 No. 4, pp. 504-521.

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Ebbers, W. E., Jansen, M. G. and van Deursen, A. J. (2016), “Impact of the digital divide on e-government: Expanding from channel choice to channel usage”, Government Information Quarterly, Vol. 33, No. 4, pp. 685-692.

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Evans, A. M. and Campos, A. (2013), “Open government initiatives: Challenges of citizen participation”, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Vol. 32, No. 1, pp. 172-185.

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Isaías, P., Pífano, S. and Miranda, P. (2012), “Web 2.0: Harnessing democracy’s potential”, In Public Service, Governance and Web 2.0 Technologies: Future Trends in Social Media (pp. 223-236). Hershey, USA: IGI Global.

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Mensah, I. K. (2018), “Citizens’ Readiness to adopt and use e-government services in the city of Harbin, China”, International Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 41, No. 4, pp. 297-307.

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Sá, F., Rocha, Á. and Cota, M. P. (2016), “From the quality of traditional services to the quality of local e-Government online services: A literature review”, Government Information Quarterly, Vol. 33, No. 1, pp. 149-160.

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Shareef, M. A., Dwivedi, Y. K., Stamati, T. and Williams, M. D. (2014), “SQ m gov: a comprehensive service-quality paradigm for mobile-government”, Information Systems Management, Vol. 31, No. 2, pp. 126-142.

Shareef, M. A., Kumar, V., Dwivedi, Y. K. and Kumar, U. (2016), “Service delivery through mobile-government (m gov): Driving factors and cultural impacts”, Information Systems Frontiers, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 315-332.

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