Raising the bar: from corporate social responsibility to corporate social performance

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Rundle-Thiele, S
Ball, K
Gillespie, M
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2008
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Abstract

Purpose - Consensus is emerging that companies should be socially responsible although the nature and degree of responsibility continues to be the source of debate. This continued debate allows the buck to be passed. The paper aims to propose a shift in view from corporate social responsibility to corporate social performance (CSP) as a means to assess CSR policies and practices. A harmful product category was chosen to illustrate how corporate social performance using a consumer's point-of-view can be assessed. Design/methodology/approach - Literature concerned with alcohol knowledge was used to design a survey to consider whether consumers were adequately informed about alcohol. A convenience sample was used to survey Australian adults. A total of 217 surveys were analysed. Findings - Australian alcohol marketers are currently considered socially responsible promoting an "enjoy responsibly message" amongst many other policies and programs. A shift in view from corporate social responsibility to corporate social performance (CSP) would change the outcome. Consumers are not fully aware of safe consumption levels of alcohol and these data are consistent with US and UK studies. A shift in view would suggest that companies need to revise their policies and practices. Research limitations/implications - This study was based on a small convenience sample that varied slightly from the Australian population. Future studies, on a larger scale, are required to ensure representativeness, while replication in other countries is encouraged. Practical implications - To meet their social obligations, marketers must ensure consumers are armed with sufficient knowledge to make informed decisions. Consumers need to be able to distinguish between safe and risky alcohol consumption levels and they need to know the number of standard drinks/units in alcoholic beverages. Originality/value - The paper shows that there is considerable room for improvement from key players in the Australian

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Journal of Consumer Marketing
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25
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4
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Commerce, management, tourism and services
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