''Doing it the right way''
A qualitative study of the development of corporate social responsibility among U.S. Fortune 500 global companies
Berger, Denise D.. Pepperdine University, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2013. 3567736.
This qualitative, phenomenological study provides a detailed look at corporate social responsibility (CSR) among selected U.S. Fortune 500 global corporations that show evidence of advanced stages of CSR development, herein referred to as itCSR.
While CSR broadly conveys business' role in society, itCSR is a construct meant to indicate business' ideal contribution in society that epitomizes meaningful triple bottom line (TBL) impact.
Using the Global Leadership Network Framework of business strategy, leadership, operational excellence, and engaged learning, this research explored what motivates executives to develop itCSR and the success strategies for instituting itCSR practices at America's largest publicly-traded multinational corporations (MNCs).
The findings are particularly relevant in comparing the values, practices, initiatives, and drivers of itCSR development among the leading American global companies. Consequently, this study identified 10 U.S. Fortune 500 global corporations that met the itCSR criteria for this study from an analysis that included (a) cross-referencing five indices/lists that measure various parameters of the itCSR criteria, and (b) evaluating total trailing financial returns for 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year periods compared to the S&P 500 Index results.
Overarching themes from the study include:
a) a strong presence of core ideologies has been in place from the origin of each company and represent the essence of the corporate character, and thus its soul;
b) the core ideologies are centered on improving life and communities and are grounded in circular wisdom, eudaemonics, and virtuousness, all tied to ethical governance and a moral consciousness;
c) there is purposeful connectivity cultivated by leadership for all levels of employees to engage in a shared responsibility;
d) executive efficacy in itCSR efforts and undertaking cannot be underscored enough, even though leadership may manifest in different ways;
e) it is necessary to embrace and promote itCSR development as a continuous, never-ending, imperfect journey;
f) it is necessary to activate all aspects of the business' operations, and at the same time, recognize that the process is more of an art than a science;
g) including the customer on the itCSR journey is predicated on authenticity, vulnerability, and risk-taking;
h) developing multi-stakeholder partnerships is proactive, strategic, selective, action-oriented, focused on collaborative learning, and absolutely designed for meaningful and sustainable triple bottom line impact; and
i) itCSR development operates from a platform of innovation.