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TitleExploring the social innovation orientation of corporate social responsibility practitioners
SubjectSocial Innovation Orientation
SubjectCorporate Social Responsibility
TypeMaster Thesis
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to conduct a qualitative examination which explored the Social Innovation Orientation (SIO) of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practitioners as part of a broader contribution towards developing an augmenting and or an alternative mechanism to address the challenges faced by CSR practitioners and companies in fulfilling societal expectations in developing countries. The study sought to answer the question: In what ways are CSR practitioners building an SIO? The study also aimed to answer questions on whether any profound change or challenge was posed by CSR practitioners to the current systems through basic routines, authority flows, beliefs and resources (Westley and Antadze, 2010). The status of CSR advancement by companies was also explored. These questions were answered in the context of a developing country, more specifically South Africa. In order to set a relevant contextual background, the literature review covered two main broad variables, CSR and social innovation, as well as a detailed description of an SIO through four facets, namely: social experimentation, collaboration and inclusivity, scale mind-set, and institutional impact. The sample comprised CSR practitioners who met the sampling criteria. Information was gathered from these CSR practitioners using a semi-structured interview protocol. An analysis of the data gathered led to the description of the patterns which emerged, which presented across a continuum both narratively and graphically those CSR practitioners who were making the strides on the SIO continuum and those that were not. The study found that even with the CSR practitioners" strong desire to be viewed as delivering results, they needed to manage the expectations of stakeholders, particularly within their own companies, regarding what success was and what it was not. It was discovered that being more deliberate contributes to the building of an SIO. Through a focus on not repeating past mistakes while still working together with stakeholders in a manner which is proactive instead of defensive, CSR practitioners could be building an SIO. The results showed that fostering a participatory and inclusive environment from an early stage was beneficial in the development of an SIO. Another discovery was that the size of an intervention was of less importance than the significance of its potential impact. Practical contributions are proposed for companies and CSR practitioners as a result of this research, some of which are: a support approach to existing mechanisms, a component to be used in recruitment and performance appraisal, and a view to understanding social innovation and what it can mean for the company-centric perspective. Overall, the study revealed that CSR practitioners are building an SIO. Social experimentation, and collaboration and inclusivity were found to be more prevalent than the scale mind-set and institutional impact. SIOs were not void of the latter elements. These two elements should not be discarded. Whilst the SIO elements have been positioned as non-linear, it was revealed that some categorical features and linearity did exist.
PublisherFaculty of Commerce
PublisherGraduate School of Business (GSB)