Corporate Social Responsibility as a Brand: Practical Activity or Social Hypocrisy?
Jolita Vveinhardt, Egle Stonkute
Companies seek to promote social responsibility activities, as these activities are perceived as certain goodwill in societies. This becomes the particular brand of the organization. However, there is often a gap between what is declared by the organization and what real practices of the socially responsible organization are. However, the following problem questions arise: is imitation of social responsibility the natural state of the organizations that declare it (mimicry)? What are the fundamental reasons, which prevent the organization from actually implementing social responsibility rather than imitating it? Wouldn’t such social hypocrisy affect the brand of the organization itself? Purpose – after identification of corporate social responsibility becoming a brand, to evaluate the interest of companies in carrying out practical activity, avoiding social hypocrisy. Experimental design and methodology. The theoretical part of the research is based on the analysis, synthesis, induction and deduction methods. The empirical part provides the results of expert assessment. The research was conducted using the method of a semi-structured interview. Questions of the interview are made on the basis of results of the analysis of academic literature, i.e., the following categories are distinguished: socially responsible activity and its imitation; internal and external circumstances leading to imitation of socially responsible activity; the influence of social hypocrisy on the brand of the organization. Major finding. In the countries of different levels of social and economic development, corporate social responsibility is used as a brand, but the level of social hypocrisy is different, as social maturity of stakeholders is different as well. Discussion and conclusions. Scientists from different countries are critical of the practice of corporate social responsibility in their countries, emphasising that this is often a means of marketing, rather than practice. In particular, this problem is stressed by economically developing societies, where there are no old traditions of corporate social responsibility. Scientists from those countries with comparatively old traditions of corporate social responsibility emphasise the need to look at the processes of social responsibility optimistically rather than critically. However, using corporate social responsibility as a brand one can disappoint stakeholders. Research limitations. The results of this research may not fully reflect the situation in respect of all Lithuanian companies, they only show frequent problems, which should be examined in greater detail in the future studies and the results in different countries should be compared.
social responsibility, brand, ethics, morality, reputation.
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