Academic journal article SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

Toward the Development of a Corporate Social Responsibility Leadership Questionnaire: An Adaptation of the LBI-2

Academic journal article SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

Toward the Development of a Corporate Social Responsibility Leadership Questionnaire: An Adaptation of the LBI-2

Article excerpt


Business is one of the most powerful forces of change in the 21st century (Carroll & Shabana, 2010; Ferrell, Thorne & Ferrell, 2011); however, one of the major challenges facing business today is to harness their potential for change and to accurately allocate resources where they will be most effective and make the biggest difference. Fortuitously, business leaders around the world are increasingly acknowledging that new business models are emerging that can successfully combine responsible citizenship and profitability, increasing returns to shareholders, instead of forgoing them.

In recent years, organisations and the business community have realised that they have responsibilities towards the environment and the communities they operate in and that their responsibilities go beyond that of only making profits for their shareholders. This growing awareness amongst them has caused the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) to grow in importance and significance (Carroll & Shabana, 2010).

CSR can broadly be defined as:

situations where the firm goes beyond compliance and engages in actions that appear to further some social good, beyond the interests of the firm and that which is required by law. (McWilliams & Siegel, 2001, p. 118)

It can also be described as 'a commitment to improve [societal] well-being through discretionary business practices and contributions of corporate resources' (Du, Bhattacharya & Sen, 2010, p. 8). However, Carroll (as cited in Carroll & Shabana, 2010) argues that organisations' social responsibilities comprise more than just philanthropic activities. According to Carroll, 'the social responsibility of business encompasses the economic, legal, ethical, and discretionary (later referred to as voluntary) expectations that society has of organisations at a given point in time' (as cited in Carroll & Shabana, 2010, p. 89).

Businesses in South Africa can play, and more importantly should play, a role in confronting the problems mentioned above. They can align their CSR initiatives to achieve the country's stated goals of reducing poverty, accelerating and sustaining economic growth and providing better goods and services for their citizens in terms of the National Development Plan 2030 (NPC, 2011). Further to this, CSR initiatives that are aligned with socio-economic development initiatives can also contribute towards organisations' BEE scorecard, benefiting all the organisation's stakeholders whilst simultaneously strengthening the organisation's socioeconomic development pillar of the seven pillars of broad-based Black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) (Phillips, 2013).

CSR initiatives have an important role to play in bridging the skills and education gap and overcoming critical socioeconomic, health and educational challenges threatening the growth and well-being of the nation. Apart from being a powerful and positive force for social change, organisations can also gain multifaceted business returns from their CSR endeavours. According to Porter and Kramer (2006, p. 80), 'CSR can be more than a cost, a constraint or a charitable deed; instead, it has turned out to be a source of opportunity, innovation and competitive advantage'.

CSR does not happen spontaneously in organisations. Organisations need to embrace the philosophy of social responsibility and then follow through with the implementation of CSR initiatives. CSR is not only about the organisation giving verbal and written commitment that it will be socially responsible, but requires both action and results. The successful adoption of CSR requires a strategic focus and should form part of the organisation's vision and values and incorporate a multilevel approach over numerous human resource and organisational domains (Aguinis & Glavas, 2012; Ferrell et al., 2011; Morgeson, Aguinis, Waldman & Siegel, 2013).

In order for CSR to be successful, strategic coordination and collaboration are needed between the organisation's various departments and business units, as well as with relevant stakeholders. …

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