Developing a corporate personality measuring instrument based on an established CSR framework
Van Wyk, Louis Johannes
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The increasing amount of power and potentially negative impacts that corporations exert within society has become a growing concern for many people. In response to this and due to the changing role of business in society, more and more members of social groups, who are affected by corporate activities, are claiming their rights to be better informed of and more involved in corporate decision-making. Consequently, the need for companies worldwide to be more accountable for the ways in which they conduct their business has grown at a tremendous rate. Especially during the last decade, companies have globally been placed under increasing pressure from different stakeholder groups to demonstrate and prove their commitments to the idea of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). In order to facilitate and guide these CSR-commitments, society has for many years already begun to implement various standards of behaviour/performance, which corporations need to achieve in order to be accepted as being part of the citizenry. However, despite an abundance of such standards in terms of CSR-related guidelines and codes, a clear need has been identified for the development of better measuring tools of CSR, in order to efficiently assess and monitor companies’ performance. The Bench Marks is one of the most comprehensive sets of social and environmental criteria and business performance indicators available. It offers an ethical standard on which to base decisions about global corporate social responsibility. Consequently, the need arose from the Bench Marks Foundation - in collaboration with the Bench Marks Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility at the North-West University – to develop the current Bench Marks CSR Framework into a practical measuring instrument. This need has successfully been fulfilled through this research by means of two methods, namely a literature review and an empirical study. During the literature study, the concepts CSR and Corporate Personality were contextualised - particularly with the investigation of related concepts; as well as critically examined - specifically in terms of their theoretical measurement properties. During the empirical research, quantitative research techniques have been utilised which involved: the application of certain ‘theoretically recognised phases’ of measuring instrument development; as well as a survey in the form of a ‘preliminary measuring instrument’ (in questionnaire format) that was administered on a random sample respondents (n = 350), including the statistical analysis of the results. 189 Questionnaires were completed, which gave a response rate of 54%. The statistical analysis mainly served as an effective guideline for determining the best CSR items (in terms of reliability and validity) to be included in the final version of the instrument. Apart from measuring CSR performance in line with the Bench Marks, the instrument that has been developed by this study, can also be used as a measuring mechanism for Corporate Personality. This is achieved by assessing company behaviour in terms of the theoretical dimensions of CSR (economic, legal, ethical and philanthropic) and Sustainable Development (economic, social and environmental). In doing so, this instrument provides companies with a unique way of identifying their status of being true Corporate Citizens.
- Humanities 
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