Corporate Social Responsibility in Asia Essay
The purpose of this assignment was to analyze on the article written by two Authors, Chapple and Moon (2005) on Corporate Social Responsibility in Asia: A Seven-Country Study of CSR Web Site Reporting.
The study found the flow of description of research problem and questions supported by relevant literatures on CSR in Western Europe and US to proof the Authors claims that CSR in Asia was limited in comparison to the Western.
Four research questions which framed into 4 hypotheses for testing through the information collected from web-site of 50 corporations in each seven respondent country in Asia. However, there were discrepancies found in the defining CSR and narrow the management problem to research problem, CSR advocates and CSR rejects in the literatures. Other shortcomings found are lack of evidence in the research design and analysis. However, overall the study found that the research has found the variation in CSR as a whole, its implementation mooted by various factors and the influences of globalization and national business systems in Asian countries.
The objective of this assignment is critique on the research article: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Asia: A Seven-Country Study of CSR Web Site Reporting by the two Authors, Chapple and Moon (2005), then systematically evaluate its strengths and weaknesses. So, this critique will address the following areas: Problem Definition and Literature; Research Design and Data collection; Analysis and Interpretation of this academic article.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a concept that created to show the employers’ obligation considering the interest of community, customers, employees, shareholders, and ecological arises from their operation (wikipedia).
2. Problem definition and Literature review
2.1 Problem Definition Process
In this section, it is to focus on how well background lead into the problem definition and set the context and scope of study.
At First, the Authors did so much researches and found that many CSR researches have been conducted in the western countries however limited done in Asia and it is less comparative studies done within Asia context through citing various researchers (Langlois ; Schlegelmilch 1990; Van Tulder ; Kolk 2001; Birch ; Moon 2004; Maignon ; Raiston 2002; Matten ; Moon 2004; Rossouw 2005; Ryan 2005; Wieland 2005; Welford 2004; Ramasamy ; Woan Ting 2004)*. This made the Authors to conduct this research report on CSR in Asia. This is the how research problem was defined.
* The in-text references of CSR article do not appear in the list of references of this assignment.
On the other hand, too limited information is on the problem definition e.g. the Author express what was research focused. This information is essential for the Authors to define the research problem, which would very much helpful in the research design and data collection (Sekaran 2000). The Authors also claimed that CSR in the Westerns were for many decades and differences in the application were seen. However, the Authors did not indicate on the variables of the CSR for the literature cited in their texts. This is very important for the Authors to define CSR for their research that was carried out in Asia.
2.2 How well is the problem defined?
‘Problem definition involves developing a clear statement of the general problem and identification of the specific components of the research problem. Start with broad statement as management see it (for applied research) and then it’s translated into a research problem and finally research questions/objectives’ (Lawley 2007).
The definition for CSR by Martin Wolf (2002), Clive Crook (2005), McWilliams & Siegal (2001) and others are not specific on which the Authors agreed. When the CSR was not sufficiently defined, the variables used might be similar or different than earlier researches and it would be difficult to use the concept of earlier researchers in the Authors’ research. Improper definition of a variable may lead to effect on the finding of the research’s outcome (Zikmund 2003).
The introduction to research were explained, however the management problem was not clearly defined e.g. the general scenario of the CSR was explained. According to Zikmund (2003), it has to explain what the research could do to decide and what are the information required (management problem) and this has to translate into specific objectives (research objectives), then only to specific questions (research questions).
The Authors’ claims that the Asia had a little previous researches on CSR was based on Kemp (2001) as stated in their text due to numerous obstacles such as institutions, standards and appeals system to achieving corporate responsibility in many developing countries.
Other examples on CSR achievement in Western countries given were practices within companies (staff, processes, codes, budget for CSR), corporate communication (web-site reporting, free standing CSR reports, corporate branding), demands (consumer, employees, investors, non-governmental organizations), etc. However, such kind of evidence was not seen much, as such, it was assumed that limited evidence in Asia. While this was a case, the Authors based on Davies (2000) and Whitley (1992) claimed that the investment in the developing countries by the MNC’s and globalization showed some improvement on consciousness of CSR through the monitoring of non-governmental organizations and also growth in awareness among the Asian consumers. With all the above argument, the research problem was explained and narrowed the scope of selecting of 7 countries’ organisation for comparing the practices of CSR. The authors’ raised 4 research questions:
* Does CSR vary among the 7 Asian countries or it relatively homogeneous? This question intended to check on differences of practices.
* If there was differences, whether the difference caused by development in each country or national business systems?
* With the confirmation of having CSR by the companies in all 7 countries, the research was to check whether CSR was enhanced or threatened by globalization.
* Whether the globalizing companies/MNCs brought their CSR practices in their home country to this country or they adapt to the national style of respective countries.
Based on the above research questions, the authors framed hypothesis. Hypothesis 1 was to test on variation of CSR in Asia based on earlier researches found to have variation in Western and US. This null hypothesis was tested under 5 factors: reporting, new development, communication, activities and models. Hypothesis 2 was to test on assumption that CSR was subjected to the development. This hypothesis was tested under 3 factors: economic development, social development and economic structures. Hypothesis 3 was to test on assumption that CSR enhanced by globalization pressures and tested with 2 factors: influenced by western companies in Asia and internationalization. The Hypothesis 4 was an extension of hypothesis 3 testing on assumption that CSR was inherited from national business system.
There was no evidence shown on CSR advocates and critiques to indicate on the importance and negative impact of having CSR in the organizations. Various research articles claiming CSR was good and in same time some researches found to be against e.g. WBCSD (2007), Norman & MacDonald (2004), MacDonald (2005), Milchen (2000), Friedman (1970), Maignan & Ferrell (2001) and so on.
2.3 Literature review
The literature review is a critical look at the published research that is significant to the work that you are carrying out. I have evaluated other researchers’ work in previous parts when to say about the problem definition, showed the relationships between different works.
Finally, I evaluate the weakness and strengths in brief:
Weaknesses usually found in literature review:
* Too limited information about the literature review
* Literature review is too descriptive
* Weak attempt to put things back together and add individual value
* Poor quality of resources used less use of academic journals.
* Literature review is critical
* Excellent attempt to put things back together and add individual values
* Wide range of relevant literature sourced.
3. Research design and Data collection
3.1 Research design
‘Once the research problem to be addressed has been properly defined, the next stage in the research process is to decide on the best way to gather the information to provide the answers to the research objectives. The plan by which this information is gathered is referred to as a research design’ (Lawley 2007, p.33).
Research design is another important aspect of a research piece. It meant that once the research has clearly defined the problem and appropriate literature was done, then appropriate data collection method was to select to collect information to answer the objectives. In another word, the research design is to help on type of evidence to be gathered from the identified source and later use the evidence to interpret to ascertain whether it supports the hypothesis or answering the research questions or not.
Based on the research questions, it has clear intention to investigate on the differences and reasons of CSR practiced e.g. first 2 questions were about variations on CSR whereas the second 2 questions were reasons of CSR and type of CSR. Similarly, there are 4 hypothesis framed where the first 2 hypotheses were to test on differences CSR and caused by development or national business system. The other 2 hypotheses were to test on the demanding factor of CSR and national business systems structure the character of CSR. Sekaran (2000) said that the type of research design subjected to objectives, available data sources, urgency of decision, cost, etc. The descriptive study is to assist the researcher to describe relevant information collected through the approaches 4Ws and 1H. The idea of having this descriptive study is to describe only the situation only and not to establish relationship of the variables (Zikmund 2003). Therefore, the study was seen to have aligned more to descriptive as such, it was a descriptive research design for comparative even though some elements of exploratory research design were notice as claimed in the conclusion column of the article.
3.2 Data collection
The population frame selected in the research was 7 countries and the basic reason given was methodological decision. The authors claimed that the total population chosen was wider than previous researches (Welford 2004; KPMG 2005) quoted in the text. The choice of population is appeared to be having discrepancies and following are the evidence: –
* The research titled as CSR comparison with western and US countries. The data collected were from the corporation and the main choice of selection should be the choice of corporation and not in terms of population of the country or level of development as quoted e.g. Japan was excluded due to economy reason. China was excluded on assumption that the firms were more to state-owned businesses. Singapore and South Korea included due to they are Asian tigers. No evidence included to confirm on the reasons claimed by the Authors.
* No evidence to confirm how religion or democratic versus other socialism influences the CSR in a corporation e.g. India versus Malaysia or Singapore. However, the sampling choice was made using these reasons as well.
* As such, it would difficult to claim that the population frame chosen in the study represented the Asian region. It must be said that the researchers did not clearly defined on the population frame for the study. It would much stronger in the choice of population frame if the researchers included some evidence as claimed in the text.
* No indication also found that the earlier researches (Welford 2004; KPMG 2005) did comparative studies in Asian where the earliest research has chosen 6 countries and the later was 5 countries. The variables used for choice of method of selection would be helpful to operate this study’s variables.
* The data collection method chosen was based on web-site reporting and no evidence included that this method was more appropriate than other methods available in the market such as interview, questionnaire, etc. However, the Authors realized the impact of choice method and possible of arguing that the finding would not be represented of Asian perspective due to limited sampling and methods for data collection. This can be referred as non-sampling error since the sampling was kept as easy as possible (Zikmund 2003).
* No evidence that the pre-test or pilot survey on factors used for data collection from web-site reporting. This measure is to analyze is similar to readable analysis to determine the ability to read and understand what is written or ask (Edwards & Thomas 1993). Beside this, it was to ensure that the instrument has minimum reliability and the cronbach value better to have 0.70 and above value (Cronbach 1951).
* Having the web-site by the corporation was more to product and own image promotion to the market and others who are interested to know. While this is the case, the forms of reporting in web-site by the corporation might have accelerated than the actual situation and this would indicate the real position of CSR. As such, the data collection source was found to be limited and it would have done better if some personnel in the corporations were interviewed to compare on the information obtained from web-site. Zikmund (2003) defined the secondary data as information that already exists whether within or external of the corporation for specific reasons whereas primary data referred to data collected specifically for the problems at hand. This indicated to us that the research used secondary data to arrive their findings.
3.3 Sampling Strategy
The respondents in the study was based on the selection of 50 corporations (sampling of the study) that having corporate website in the population frame of 7 countries. In respect of sampling choice following are notice:
* According to the Zikmund (2003), Sekaran (2000) and Smith (1991), in a sampling strategy, there must be addressed five basic steps clearly: Clear definition of population, sampling frame, sampling method, sample size included and sampling procedure.
* The population frame was clearly defined and the actual population (total corporation of having corporate website in each country was no indicated. As such, no assumption was able to make on how 50 sampling was selected and it might mislead on the findings e.g. 50 corporations in Singapore versus Indonesia may have differences based on country economic development, established corporations, growing corporations, etc. This raised questions on sampling methods whether the findings had represented well.
* Since the actual population was not able to determine, the samplings of 350 organizations were difficult to assess whether it met the basic requirement for sampling as suggested by Roscoe (1975). Sampling must be representative (reflect true population), reliable (sufficient accuracy to give stable results) and efficient (Zikmund 2003). Even though the researchers tried to establish reasons for choosing 7 countries and excluding other countries from the population, it must said that the technique used was convenient sampling.
4. Analysis and Interpretation
4.1 Data analysis techniques
In this column, the results were analyzed to look for the answers to hypotheses. Hypothesis 1 was accepted as CSR varied among the Asian countries due to no single pattern applied and variation was due to national factors and not development. As such, the hypothesis 2 was rejected. CSR in Asian was enhanced by globalization and the research found the migration of the western and US companies to Asian were obvious. Hypothesis 3 was accepted. Since the globalization enhanced the CSR implementation in Asian countries, there were chances the CSR structured by the MNCs, however the study found that the national business system was not imposed in Asian countries. No indication on whether the hypothesis was null or alternative and type I or II errors.
The analysis process as said by Zikmund (2003) must ensure that the data was accurate, consistent with other information, uniformly entered, complete and arrange to simplify coding and tabulation. No evidence was found how editing, coding and missing data were handled in the research. Beside this, no evidence whether data was parametric or non-parametric, measurement scale (nominal, ordinal, etc) data distribution, factor analysis conducted. This information is important to ascertain appropriate statistic tests e.g. Zikmund (2003) said appropriate test depend on central tendency or total distribution, variables involved, measurement scale, etc. If the research was parametric data, for comparison z or t test would be appropriate whereas for non-parametric, chi-square test to be used. Further to that bivariate analysis was to consider for comparisons. Some evidence was found the tests to measure association of variables were seen through correlation analysis. No indication on how the data were analyzed e.g. whether SPSS, simple excel, etc was used. As such, it is difficult to ascertain where appropriate data analysis techniques were used and whether the tests were appropriate to the research objectives and design.
4.2 Conclusions and Findings
However, from the findings and conclusion of the research, it could answer the 4 questions of the research. In brief, the research managed to conclude that there was a variation in CSR among the 7 countries caused by the national business system enhanced by globalization and MNCs; however it was not imposed on Asian countries. The literature reviews were confined and found to be appropriate compared with the findings of the research questions except no evidence on CSR advocates or critiques.
In the article, the Authors have highlighted some of shortcoming in their research and opened for further study in the future. First one is the finding masked sect oral issues that more or less reflect like national findings of the top 50 corporations. Second one is risk level of large corporations. Third one is conclusion based on single system and weakness of testing variables. Fourth is one common source for data collection. This showed that the Authors were franked and captured the limitation of their research and highlighted in the article so that readers were aware of the limitation.
5. Conclusions of Evaluation
Despite of some of the discrepancies highlighted in this evaluation, on overall the study has found that the research had managed to show the association or relationship among CSR, corporate and government policy in each respondent country led to see the different meaning in the CSR profile. Beside this, as claimed by many scholars that globalization has enhanced many challenges to the business world, in the research, the Authors showed the linked between globalization and CSR. As to sum-up, the research on CSR has some new information and findings are will be added to the body of knowledge for CSR in Asia and also other part of world for future references and researches.