Academic journal article European Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies

The People-Oriented Approach of CSR for the Banking Industry in Romania

Academic journal article European Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies

The People-Oriented Approach of CSR for the Banking Industry in Romania

Article excerpt

1.Introduction

The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a topic of great interest in the current global agenda, with multiple meanings and causal variations, being associated in Carroll's research with four significant pillars in the CSR design: economic, legal, ethical and discretionary (1979, p. 499). Considered one of the most valuable resources for other theoretical studies, Carroll's dimensional pyramid has suffered various interpretations, each stage of CSR development being carefully explored, from the basic concern of reaching high profits to the most philanthropic obligations, thus being deeply related to the corporate citizenship approach (Maignan et al., 1999, pp. 455-469).

Starting from the multidimensional CSR approach developed by Carroll in 1979, a number of theoretical constructs have emerged, including a revised CSR approach mixing up the philanthropic and the ethical dimensions into a simplified structure with only three dimensions of CSR: economic, legal and ethical (Schwartz and Carroll, 2003, p. 509). Considering the same original composition, García de los Salmones et al. (2005) noted the merging process of two key facets of CSR, ethical and legal responsibility, while Wood advanced the understanding of CSR to the corporate social performance model through a set of particular principles and process description, integrating in the same time some major results of corporate behaviour in the CSR analysis (1991).

Starting from the basic economic dimension, Elkington (1997) introduced two additional performances to improve the concept of CSR, which relies on both social and environmental performance. The social performance can be easily linked to the ethical values, by enhancing the importance of code of ethics for employees and for the development of a company. Moreover, an extended vision on CSR has constructively described it as „a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis" (Commission of the European Communities, 2001, p. 6), while Falck and Heblich (2007, p. 247) considered that „CSR is regarded as voluntary corporate commitment to exceed the explicit and implicit obligations imposed on a company by society's expectations of conventional corporate behaviour".

The main hypothesis of this paper is that there is a correspondence between the strategies followed by the banks from the sample and the 'triple bottom line' approach, with a clear focus on the People dimension. Considering this assumption, the encoded data will reveal the assumed positions of the banking institutions through their official websites, identifying the main directions in the corporate social responsibility field, the dominant themes of CSR activity and the key-issues that provide a useful insight in the current Romanian banking system analysis. In order to achieve this goal, the coding mechanism will focus on the repetitive terms, trying to identify the roots of the responsible banking in Romania through the leading directions and the common elements suggested by the process.

2.A New Insight in the „Triple Bottom Line" Theory

The roots of the modern CSR are deeply implanted in the concept of sustainable development in an attempt to mix the natural and the economic laws, being a basic condition for a long-term survival of a company by „providing products in such a manner so as not to enable the degradation of the natural and social capital" (Żak, 2015, p. 252). Introduced for the first time in 1994 by John Elkington and expanded in 1997 in the book "Cannibals with Forks: the Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century", the 'triple bottom line' (TBL) approach is based on the balance between the three Ps (People-Profit-Planet), clearly synthesized in three baselines within a company's business activity: the traditional profit („Profit and loss account"), the social responsibility measure („People account") and the environmental responsibility measure („Planet account"). …

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