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DEPICTION OF CSR IN 100 COMPANY WEBSITES IN INDIA By SUCHITRA RAJAN A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS F OR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN MAS S COMMUNICATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2014
2014 Suchitra Rajan
To my family
4 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I am extremely thankful and grateful for my thesis chair, Dr. Ma ry Ann Ferguson. She has always guided me and been a true anchor and support while I was writing my thesis. She has been extremely patient when I made several mistakes and assisted me in correcting them. I would also like to thank Dr. Juan Carlos Molleda a nd Professor Deanna Pelfrey for giving me important suggestions which in turn improved my thesis significantly. I would also like to express my gratitude for my family for supporting me unconditionally while I was writing my thesis. They have been a true support and instilled confidence and strength in me. I would also like to thank my friends for being supportive and understanding while I was away writing my thesis.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 7 CHAPTER ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 8 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 9 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 12 What is Corporate Social Responsibility? ................................ ................................ ........... 12 Internet and its Role in Corporate Social Responsibility and Interactivity ........................... 15 Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Websites ................................ .................... 19 Corporate Social Responsibility in India ................................ ................................ ............. 22 3 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 27 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 27 What seems to be Popular CSR Focus for Companies? ................................ ................ 27 What is the Most Popular Format Used to Communicate CSR Messages? ................... 28 What is the Extent of the CSR Coverage seen in Corporate Websites? ......................... 28 What Kind of Communication/Interactivity is seen in the Corporate Websites? ........... 29 Do CSR Activities get Affected Depending on the Company Being National or Multinational? ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 29 The Coders and Coder Training ................................ ................................ .......................... 29 Coder Reliability ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 30 4 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 32 What seems to be the Popular CSR Focus for Companies? ................................ ................. 32 What is the Most Popular Format Used to Communicate CSR Messages? .......................... 34 What is the Extent of the CSR Coverage seen in Corporate Websites? ................................ 34 What Kind of Communication/Interactivity is seen in the Corporate Websites? .................. 35 Do CSR get Activities Affected Depending on the Company Being National or Multinational? ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 37 5 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 40 What seems to be the Popular CSR Focus for Companies? ................................ ................. 41 What is the Most Popular Format Used to Communicate CSR Messages? .......................... 42 What is the Extent of the CSR Coverage seen in Corporate Websites? ................................ 42 What Kind of Communication/Interactivity is seen in the Corporate Websites? .................. 43
6 Do CSR Activities get Affected Depending on the Company Being National or Multinational? ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 44 Limitations of the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 45 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 4 6 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 48 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 52
7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3 1 Intercoder reliability percent of agreement for CSR categories ................................ ....... 30 3 2 Intercoder reliability percent of agreement for medium of communication ..................... 31 3 3 Intercoder reliability of percent of agreement for interactivity ................................ ........ 31 3 4 Interc oder reliability of percent of agreement for type of companies .............................. 31 4 1 Company websites analyzed with and without CSR information ................................ .... 32 4 2 Number of companies with CSR programs in the following categories .......................... 32 4 3 Number of paragraphs for CSR category ................................ ................................ ....... 33 4 4 tegories ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 34 4 5 Medium of communication ................................ ................................ ............................ 34 4 6 Number of sections ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 35 4 7 Communication ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 36 4 8 Social interactivity ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 36 4 9 Comparison of variables among multinational/national companies ................................ 38 4 10 Positive and negative correlations with assets and revenues ................................ ........... 39
8 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fu lfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communication DEPICTION OF CSR IN 100 COMPANY WEBSITES IN INDIA By Suchitra Rajan May 2014 Chair: Mary Ann Ferguson Major: Mass Communication This paper studied the depiction of corporate social responsibility in the websites of the top 100 company in India through content analysis. The results exhibited that most of the top companies are taking active interest in depicting CSR activities on their website. The findings showed tha t topics related to education, health and environment were the most often mentioned CSR issues that companies were keen to depict. The preferred format of communication was also analyzed and the findings suggested that text followed by text with pictures w ere the most popular. Providing contact details for CSR purposes as well as creating exclusive CSR social media pages were not seen in many companies. One of the significant findings was that multinational companies were more inclined to depict CSR activit ies as compared to national companies. Another significant finding was that CSR campaigns related to education was seen remarkably more in multinational companies as compared to national companies.
9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Comp anies have faced a lot of pressure over the past few years to aid in protecting the environment, reducing social problems in their communities and donating money to charitable causes (Mohr, Webb and Harris, 2001). Now a days people expect organizations to conduct themselves in a socially responsible way. Adding to this, numerous studies have revealed that corporate social responsibility is certainly valued by different publics be they journalists, employees, consumers, communities, investors and so on, all who scrutinize the socially responsible behavior of firms and gauge them accordingly (IPSOS, 2004;MORI, 2004; PriceWaterh ouseCoopers, 2005; Capriotti & Moreno, 2007). Clark (2000) has shown in her study that the link between public relations and corporate social responsibility (CSR) has gone a long way and has spanned over decades. One of the major exercises of public relations is to maintain and build a reputation of a firm and that is one of the goals CSR campaigns hope to achieve. Being in the eyes of t he public, while performing good charitable work, may help increase the respect the people have for the company and help in firms have to display that the predeterm ined social and ethical standards and principles have been met, lest failing to do so might endanger the reputation built by the company (Fombrun, 2005). Acc ording to a study by Esrock and Leichty (1998), the internet is a good medium through which a compa ny and a public relations practitioner can discuss its CSR activities and convey them to the concerned publics of suppliers, employees, media, stakeholders, consumers and so on.
10 Esrock and Leichty (1999, p.456 457) provide an explanation as to why corpora te webpages might be an excellent option for companies to list their socially responsible activities. Web pages have several attractive features for corporations. They tend to serve more active, information seeking audiences than the more passive publics who are reached via traditional mass media. Accordingly, an organization can assume that visitors to its Web site have some kind of active interest in the entity. Web pages can also employ interactive features to collect information, monitor public opinio n on issues, and proactively engage citizens in direct dialogue about a variety of matters. The developing medium further allows an organization to speak to and serve a variety of different publics. While a traditional mass media vehicle may be aimed at a particular group, a single Web site may have a number of sections that target the unique wants and needs of several audiences. B earing this in mind, this thesis studies and examin es the corporate web pages of 100 companies from India to analyze the conten t, interactivity and most importantly how these CSR activities are framed. Now why India? Usually corporate social responsibility in India is associated with philanthropic work with businesses associated with social development needs. Moreover, corporate social responsibility has also seemed to have been given a boost thanks to the rise of non Chaudhri & Wang, 2007). A survey conducted by Welford (2004, p.51) revealed t hat internal aspects of corporate social responsibility campaigns perform quite well in countries in North America (excluding Mexico) and Europe but not so much in Asia. When it comes to the external aspects the survey showed that the picture between Europ e, North America and Asia are much more mixed. Issues chain management and they seemed to be more developed as compared to the ethical issues cropping up such as indigenous populations, fair trade and human rights (Welford, 2004, p.51). So as per this survey U.S and Europe are doing very well as compared to the countries in Asia.
11 As per the study by Chaudhri & Wang (2007), developing countries are exhibiting a mplified pressure for displaying improved transparency and enhanced corporate citizenship. But, unfortunately, very little is known about the way CSR activities are practiced in these upcoming markets. India, being one of these emerging countries with resp ect to it being one of Previous studies have not been very encouraging when it comes to reporting CSR activities on corporate webpages in India (Chaudhri &Wang, 2007, Gautham & Singh, 2010). Keeping this in mind, the thesis conducts a content analysis of 100 companies from India. The research study closely follows the parameters set with the study by Chaudhri & Wang (20 07). What makes this study important is that it was conducted six years ago. Internet and social media have certainly gained a huge leap these past few years. Unlike the study by Chaudhri &Wang (2007) which specifically talked about the CSR activities of the I.T. industry. This study will not look into any sector particularly. It would be the top 100 Indian companies. The research questions the paper will be investigating are: RQ 1 : What seems to be the popular CSR focus for companies? RQ 2 : What is the most popular format used to communicate CSR messages RQ 3 : What is the extent of the CSR coverage seen in corporate websites? RQ 4 : What kind of communication/interactivity is seen in the corporate websites? RQ 5 : Do CSR activities get affected depending on the company being national or multinational?
12 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW What is Corporate Social Responsibility? In the past, corp has been given several definitions and constructs which have evolved over several year s. The study by Chaudhri & Wang (2007) mentions that if one looks at it from a conceptual view point, the theoretical framework of corporate social responsibility is generally aiming to the study of corporate social responsibility (CSR) become more extensive and in depth, the constructs, definitions and paradigms have undergone major changes with more and more authors providing their outlook on the concept. According to authors like Mohr, Webb and Harris (2001) and Sen and Bhattacharya (2001), the idea of CSR is certainly enormous. Coming up with a correct and concise definition for the concept is definitely not an easy option. The four kinds of social resp onsibilities as mentioned in the study by Carroll (1991) are: economic responsibilities, legal responsibilities, ethical responsibilities and philanthropic responsibilities. As per Mohr, Webb and Harris (2001), these four dimensions provided by 1991) pyramid model could be analyzed with respect to the several stakeholders of the firm including consumers, community, public and the owner. The economic one talks about how the major duty of the business is to ensure and turn in profit and grow. Playi ng by the book and to obey the law seems to come under the legal section of the pyramid. The ethical part addresses the responsibilities placed on to them by the community and to respect the rights of people. Lastly, the charitable activities that support the larger society seem to fall under the discretionary component (Snider, Hill & Martin, 2003).
13 A study by Petkus and Woodruff (1992) comes up with similar definitions, akin to d Woodruff (1992) decrease the hazardous effects and in turn to increase its long running promising behavior on society (Mohr, Webb and Harris, 2001). The authors, Petkus and Woodruff (1992), also elucidate the pyramid model (Carroll, 199) more and keeping in mind the definition just explained, the concept of CSR comprises important responsibilities such as environmental protection, donating to charities, fair treat ment of employees, following laws and ethical norms and so on (Mohr, Webb and Harris, 2001). As per Kok et al (2001, 288), corporate social responsibility can be defined as ugh committed participation as a member of society, taking into account the society at large and This definition sums up the reason why corporate social responsibility (CSR) is practiced. But companies need to be careful in how corporate social responsibilities are projected. If a would be called into question as people might suspect the charitable work is simply to hide the mediocre performance or deviating the public from the real problem (Coope, 2004). This is one of the dilemmas the organization faces: How to make the corpora te social responsibility message engaging to the public? According to their study, if the message is made dull and boring, then chances are that the message will not be read but if it is made interesting/engaging, then it is possible that they may be accus ed of distorting the facts.
14 The scholars, Chaudhri and Wang, (2007) are of the opinion that fake and deceptive a days stakeholders comprising of customers are havin g a lot of expectations with respect to the companies and thus logically the firms feel pressurized to maintain transparency and be proactive in engaging with the public. At the same time one can also agree that, with cut throat competition, corporate soci al responsibility is simply not just practiced to endorse charitable activities (Bronn and Vrioni, 2001). One of the many assumptions for practicing corporate social responsibility is to maintain the reputation of the company. Meeting pre determined social and ethical norms and principles appears to be the norms in which organizations have to engage. If one is unable to meet the criteria, the reputation of the company could seriously be endangered (Fombrun, 2005). According to several scholars such as Sen& Bhattacharya (2001) and Lii (2011), corporate social responsibility issues are discussed in apparently more than eighty percent of the significant in national as we ll as international arena seems to come across really well f rom the previous statement (Sen & Bhattacharya, 2001; Lii, 2011). As per Kay (1993), brand awareness may be enhanced courtesy of a good reputation which could in turn aid in brand differentiation w hich in turn could eventually help a firm gain competitive advantage (Bronn & Vrioni, 2001). So as per the above statement, it is vital for a company to have good reputation cause related marketing can really build reputation and enhance customer loyalty. Therefore it could be extremely significant for organizations to have the audience view them as a socially responsible company that cares about the grievances of the audience and
15 wants to make a difference. Moreover, it seems important, for the sake of t he company, that the publics are aware of its socially responsible activities. At the end of the day, it can be comprehended that both awareness and reputation are two of the many factors that are featured as the reasons why corporate social responsibility is practiced. Practicing corporate social responsibility sometimes may not give the desired results the company/organization hopes to achieve. At times, it may cause a negative reaction as skeptics may find it hard to trust that the campaigns came out of purely philanthropic intentions. According to Mohr et al (1998), the higher the level of skepticism, the more negative the response would be to CRM activities but the case may be completely different with consumers displaying lower levels of skepticism (Bronn & Vrioni, 2001). As per the authors, Mohr et. al. (1998), the way the consumers look at an organization differs since several motivation factors may play a role in this (Bronn & Vrioni, 2001). Now that the concept of corporate social responsibility and why it is practiced has been discussed, the literature review further delves into the topic of CSR and how it is now practiced extensively on the internet. The paper will now study how the internet or rather web 2.0 has become a wide medium and compani es are looking at this medium to promote their corporate social responsibility campaigns. Internet and its Role in Corporate Social Responsibility and Interactivity According to Chaudhri & Wang (2007), digital revolution has pl ayed a role in the development and evolution of witnessing CSR engagement on the internet. A study reveals that although conventional means of mass media were and still seem to be the ideal form of interaction and engagement, more and more companies have o pted to use the internet due to its wide reach (Snider, Hill & Martin, 2003). The same study is of the opinion that people who are
16 interested in acquiring more information can anytime and anywhere during the day very easily due to the access the World Wide Web provides. A study by Jones, Temperley & Lima (2009) delves and studies in detail about web 2.0 and its association with corporate social responsibility campaigns. The authors are of the opinion that the World Wide Web is an instrument for citizen and consumer empowerment. In the world of internet, it is a requisite that various stakeholder participants work coherently to bring reputation and effective branding. As per Marken (September 1995), companies have the resources with search engines to build l arge web data archives which can cater to consumers, investors, journalists and employees (Esrock & Leichty, 1998). Another scholar L. Weber (1996) talked about the necessity to tailor the messages in a way that would make having one to one relationships i n the internet environment possible. Moreover, he suggests that this could be aided by getting opinion leaders, reporters and analysts to register on the website where they can state the kind and type of information they need, be it CSR activities, financi als, employment opportunities and so on (Esrock & Leichty, 1998). The study by Heath & Ryan (1989) stated that the dawn of the net allows public relations professionals to deliver the information to the targeted audience at the correct time. Moreover, this socially responsible activities and campaigns. The same study suggests that social responsibility issues can also be addressed and can play a role in enhancing public i nteractivity (Esrock & Leichty, 1998). As per Coombs (1998), the stakeholder theory proposes that web 2.0 provides the opportunity to the audience to decrease the capability of the firms to carry themselves as
17 gatekeepers of knowledge that the stakeholder s desire. The web provides the scattered public access to one another and aids people in forming a collective mass, a given number that is required by companies to take a situation seriously. But with the companies unable to act as gatekeepers of informati on (Esrock & Leichty, 1999), firms are now unable to regulate the way information flows among the affected parties (Snider, Hill & Martin, 2003). As per a study by Aikat (2000), the World Wide Web delivers several new content features for organizations to utilize that could greatly improve the effectiveness of mediums such as electronic search retrieval, multimedia applications and search capabilities (Snider, Hill & Martin, 2003). Of course this was back in the year 2000 when internet was just about beginn ing to get a foothold and corporations already had started using the web for the purpose of interactivity. More than a decade later, these vehicles have increased steadily with the advent of social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube and so on. The study by Major (1995) stated that the internet is a medium which can serve as an interactive form for publics to engage in several discussions about the organization. The scholar mentioned that the firm can respond back as the web offers en hanced elasticity, timeliness in wants professionals to think with respect to aiding web sessions by getting visitors to return to the website repeatedly. To ensu re visits to be repeated, Skuba (1996) suggests that the organization needs to keep the content current and facilitate ways for feedback and communication (Esrock & Leichty, 1998, p.308). Firms are required to be honest and transparent so as to capture an d interact efficiently with the intended audience (Jones, Temperley & Lima, 2009). One of the problems in talking about corporate social responsibility on the internet is to balance both the accountability of the
18 campaign and the interactivity of the campa ign effectively. Sometimes companies have failed to do that. The study by Coope (2004), talks about how certain companies have achieved one goal but were unable to get the other. For instance, the accountability of the social responsibility activity was ta ken care of but the campaign was dull and insipid. One would wonder if the campaign is less effective if people were not buying the social responsibility angle even if the interactivity message was creative and imaginative or is the campaign less successfu l if the accountability angle appeared genuine but the engagement activity was boring. It is advantageous that the web provides the opportunity for direct access and communication with customers on the web, something from which marketers can benefit. This same aspect of technology can also be applied to discuss about the social responsibility campaigns carried out by companies (Esrock & Leichty, 1998). Coope (2004) further explained that corporate responsibility did not rank very high in organizations. But Coope is of the opinion that the internet is the perfect place to talk about corporate social responsibility since it seems to be capable of reaching out to lot more people be it customers, analysts or employees. Furthermore, it was discussed that leading learned the art of campaigning through the internet and do it well. Moreover, he states that organizations should learn from these social responsibility campaigns by non profit organizations. According to a study by Sicilia, Ruiz, and Munuera (2005), when a web site is displayed in an interactive medium, the people viewing the website appears to process information more thoroughly than people exposed to a website that was non interactive. The above study appears to point that interactivity is p articularly significant in increasing information processing for low NFC (Need for Cognition) people. People seemed to process more details in the website which
19 had a more interactive design. This seems to propose that their effort to process grows under i nteractive conditions. Not just for processing, but the above study also indicates the value of interactivity when they are assessing the consumer experiences. Individual flow intensity appears to grow when a website is interactive. It seems to propose tha t this variable is extremely beneficial when describing consumer experiences in interactive environments. As flow intensity is increased by interactivity, preceding work describing the magnitude of this experience ought to be confirmed in interactive envir onments. Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Websites We learned from the above literature that the internet can be a great source of medium for firms to promote corporate so cial responsibility. And what better way to start than with the According to Esrock & Leichty (1999), webpages in company websites are not an alien concept. Every company has its own official website. The authors further stated in the year 1999, that the companies that do not have a website are actually quite small. Thus it is noted that even back then, the organizations that did not have a webpage were in minority. The situation now appears to be quite different. It appears to be more or less of a standard norm. The stud y (Basila and Erlandson, 2008) displays a huge growth in the exhibition of a code of ethics on company websites. Firms appear to show greater likelihood in showing their commitment to ethics by posting a code on the websites. Several corporate scandals lik e Enron and Worldcom have occurred in the recent past which has made companies feel the need to address the issue of lack of ethics in business. According to Esrock & Leichty (1999), the websites do provide various striking features for organizations. It i s said that webpages can be used to cater to the more aggressive and
20 knowledge seeking publics rather than the passive audience who are reached by the conservative form of media. Moreover, a firm can determine the rate of interest based on the amount of hi ts a website receives. WebPages can also be used to examine public opinion on issues, actively employ citizens in direct dialogue about several issues and gather information. Compared to the conservative medium of mass media, the new media can focus on cat ering to the needs and requirements of different types of publics at the same time. Several authors have discussed the importance of corporate websites and the level of communication they engage. Two different approaches have been recognized cultivating relationships between different types of publics and the firm and the dissemination of the message (Esrock & Leichty, 1998, 2000; Kent & Taylor, 1998; Ryan, 2003; Taylor, Kent, & White, 2001; White & Raman, 1999; cited in Capriotti &Moreno, 2007). The fir st type has low levels of interactivity and the utilization of the net is one sided. It basically tries to spread the image of the company that the audience seems to have. The second type has a higher level of interactivity since the communication is two s ided and engagement is seen from both the ends organization and the different kinds of publics (Capriotti &Moreno, 2007). The study by Gomes & Chalmeta (2010) mentioned that out of all the companies evaluated only half of them seemed to present charts an d video or audio to highlight CSR information. Around 70% exhibited a CSR annual report link on the CSR website for boosting and supplying easy access to this material. The results indicated that CSR content features were not as significant as presentation al features. It was simpler to exhibit a striking web design as opposed to displaying a CSR news/CSR engagement. Common characteristics seen were CSR goals/objectives, CSR achievements. The least common seemed to be future plans and involvement from the bo ard of directors.
21 The study by Basila and Jill Erlandson (2008) displayed a remarkable growth in the exhibition of CSR activities on company websites over the three year study duration. It was seen that the self presentation of CSR on company websites incr eased from 27% to 67%. A lot of websites seemed to be including the code of ethics on their websites. That seemed to show the utmost increase. Moreover, the study seems to suggest that business scandals over the years that have negatively affected the per ceptions of business (Williamson, 2006) have increased sensitivity toward business ethics. To deal with this problem, companies were obligated to give more importance to CSR related efforts to reassure the people of their dedication towards ethical practic es. The study argues that the above two arguments suggests the potential to exhibit internal self presentation of CSR activities via company websites. The result stresses that the internal self presentations on web seemed to show more growth as compared to the external CSR activities during the course of the study. The self presentation of internal CSR activities on company websites could be a tool used to assure consumers and external stakeholders (Basila and Erlandson, 2008). As per the study by Gomes & C halmeta (2010), currently firms are building a huge CSR presence on their websites. The study mentions that the out of the assessed companies, around 82% displayed CSR information on their websites and about 80% had a working CSR website. The above study n otes that firms ought to take into account that to enhance and better the stakeholder relations, the need of a striking and attention grabbing content and web design is required for effective dissemination of CSR activities. The study by Capriotti & Moren o (2007) found that the most current and topical issues are those associated to the exhibition of the general characteristics of the firm (corporate profile)
22 and of its services and products. This appears to strengthen the notion of the self presentation f unction of company websites. One particular issue that was specifically seen quite high is corporate governance. But it was said that it was mainly due to legislation, thus making it an obligation for firms to present such information on their websites. Un like the study by Basila and Erlandson (2008), the above study noted that the issue of corporate ethics does not appear to get any significant mention on the company websites as almost 80% of the enterprises do not treat it explicitly as it is mostly dilut ed. About 80% of the companies evaluated in the study by Gomes & Chalmeta (2010) had a CSR yearly report on their websites (from 2008) and around 47% had past CSR annual reports. But, the lowest scores in this category belonged to CSR related news which w as found to be 37% as well as key stakeholders (30%). The above study found out that communication/information support appeared to be poorest when pitted against presentational and content features. Over 50% of the firms failed to provide fundamental conta ct information like CSR staff names, physical addresses, and phone numbers or email addresses (27%). Merely 22% of the companies provided email address and that seemed to be the most common contact information (22%). These results signify that organization s are not giving out basic contact information that could enhance and better the association with stakeholders. Corporate Social Responsibility in India The study by Hakhu (2010) mentions that while CSR is significant for business in all societies, it is predominantly more important for developing countries such as India where the resources are less which makes the process of sustainable development even more challenging and difficult. As p er a study by Balasubramaium et al (2005 ), the idea of corporate social responsibility is not something that is unknown to India. It is quite a deeply rooted tradition in
23 several firms, especially family based enterprises which have a particularly powerful community code. The study by Gautam & Singh (2010), states that corporate philanthropy in India has apparently been in practice since the late 1800s. It is said to be similar to western philanthropy forms in the 1990s such as charity, philanthropic donations, improving employee welfare, service to the community and endorsing religious conduct. Firms used to donate funds to educational institutions and charitable causes and used to reason that they are humanitarian deeds but actually they were just buying goodwill for their company. In the 1950s, the notion of CSR in India was simply that it was a commitment on behalf of the business community towards the betterment of society (Gautham & Singh, 2010). As per Sharma & Thyagi (2010), after the 1980s, the traditional philanthropic contribution eventually lessened in India and the concept of stakeholder and multi stakeholder approach came into being. Taking this approach into consideration, businesses were keen on multi stakeholders which included society and stretching their horizon. But, the multi stakeholder approach was pretty undeveloped owing to the infrequent communications among businesses, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and trade unions. Hakhu (2010) states that the idea of CSR is not new as corporate giants like Tata Group, Aditya Birla Group and Indian Oil Corporation among a few others have been involved in serving the society ever since they were established. Several firms have being partic ipating in CSR via charity events and donations. Today, CSR in India is more than just donations and charity. It is now structured, regulated and included in the corporate strategy. These days, enterprises have teams assigned to carry out corporate social responsibility activities that come
24 up with definite tactics, goals and strategies for their CSR campaigns and allot budgets to support them. Several CSR activities are carried out by companies in association with NGOs who are well equipped in working with local communities as well as proficient in addressing particular social problems. Almost all corporate giants in India are said to practice CSR in specific areas that encompass health, livelihood creation, skill development, education and empowerment of t he weaker sections of the society. CSR in India appears to be derived from corporate responsiveness to charity and support of under privileged people, state driven ideas of responsibility carried out by legal necessities, the requirement to survive busine necessity to be responsible for all those affected by decisions taken by companies and how it encompasses society and the environment as well as the stakeholders (Balasubramaium et al 2005) The results of the study by Chaudhri & Wang (2007) indicates that in spite of the recognition and importance of corporate social responsibility in India, the amount of IT companies that have CSR information on their company website is alarmingly low (30%). Th e study suggests that these enterprises that were evaluated did not appear to completely comprehend the importance of open communication about CSR activities to meet the requirements of a growing transparent marketplace and to aid in building corporate rep utation. Another reason given was that though internet appear to be extremely popular, websites may not be the only communication medium that are available to firms and it also may not be the most favored interactive tool. The study by Gaut am & Singh (201 0) looked into the company websites of the top 500 companies in India. The companies were rated from a scale of 0 5 based on details from the
25 they were either m anufacturing cigarettes/tobacco products & liquor. Around 26 companies were 245 enterprises were examined. Around eighteen GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) soci al aspects which are globally accepted were used to test. It was combined with Human Rights Performance Indicators, labor practice & decent work indicators, Society Performance Indicators and Product Responsibility indicators. Because few companies realiz e the significance of CSR activities by placing the details in noticeable sections of the website, they are not wielding the power of communication technology to their advantage. The internet provides unrestricted free space that could be wisely used for c ommunicating CSR activities. A huge fraction (43.3%) of enterprises appears to have very little information (only one or two pages). The study disputes that the effort taken for creating a CSR page which goes further than the brief and superficial listing of the activities carried out is an In India, the government is having a significant role in mobilizing the CSR activities and the kinds of organizations involved and their various t ypes of activism and association with business. It also appears to point out different means in which big businesses are participating and attempt ing to influenc e the CSR activities. The roles that government and business play have altered. Government appe ars to be now more concentrated on public policy development and enforcement which simultaneously offering businesses the chance to add on prescribed laws and regulations along with voluntary endeavors The author is of the opinion that the government iden tifies ways in which big businesses shapes up CSR agenda. (Hakhu, 2010).
26 According to Jayakumar, Anbalagan & Kannan (2012), in 2009, the government made it compulsory that for all the public sector oil companies, two percent of the net profits have to be spent on corporate social responsibility. According to the Economic Times (Aug 11, 2010), the government has asked that all organizations dole out the specifications of their investments made as part of their CSR initiative. This is because several companies have abused the rights that are given to them when it comes to using resources for CSR. Th e voluntary guidelines stated that organizations need to assign money towards CSR in proportions to their profits after tax. But how a firm decided to spend money for CSR activities was left for the companies to decide on their own. This guideline has been misused. This is the reason that is cited for which the government in consultation with the planning commission is making an effort to make CSR The study from Gautam & Singh (2010) reported that most of the firms analyzed were renovating schools in villages, mid day meals and donations. Usually companies spend around 0.2% of their revenue on CSR campaigns but in most reports, there is no mention of it be it in annual reports or their balance sheet. Several firms were only making a token gesture towards CSR as through donations, charitable events, NGOs and so on thinking that philanthropy equals to CSR. It can also be utilized as a marketing gimmick, for example donating a token amount for a particular cause of a specific p roduct. Most of the enterprises do not seem have a definite CSR philosophy and seem to execute it in a n ad hoc manner that is not connected to their business in any way. They are spreading CSR activities across several issues which somehow lose the purpose of executing the activity. The overall method of CSR in India seems to be focusing on philanthropy rather than combin in g it with the business as it seems to happen in the W est (Gautam & Singh, 2010).
27 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY The stud y will conduct a content analysis of the top 100 Indian companies based on their annual revenue and sourced from Economic Times ET 500 List While the study by Chaudhri & Wang (2007) looked into the top hundred companie s from India, they only concentrated on the IT sector. This study is different from Chaudhri & Wang (2007), as it is not just focused on the IT industry but is a mixed bag of industries ranging from refineries, transportation, finance to textiles and bever ages, oil drilling and exploration, auto industry, steel, aluminum, diversified, mining, power generation and distribution, engineering, petroleum, cigarettes, personal care, computer software, telecommunications, retail, trading, consumer goods, pharmaceu ticals, fertilizers and cement. Research Questions What seems to be Popular CSR Focus for Companies? This addresses the research question as to which CSR topic is prominent in each industry. Several categories were determined in the pre testing process (10 of 100 companies). The literature review mentions that according to Carroll (1991), the four types of social responsibility are: (1) economic responsibilities, (2) legal responsibilities (3) ethical responsibilities and (4) philanthropic responsibilities. Except for ethical or legal responsibilities, which were not clearly seen in the 10 pretested companies the companies that were examined did appear to follow economic and philanthropic responsibili ties. Based on the pretest, this has been divided into nine categories: Education, Health, Rural development, Relief for natural calamities, Employee welfare, Women empowerment, Community/Society welfare, and Environment and Others. The definitions for e ach of these categories are below:
28 E DUCATION Anything related to literacy programs or schools/colleges/universities, or training centers will come under this category. H EALTH Related to health programs, disease control, medication, and hospitals. R URAL DEVELOPMENT Adoption of villages, providing infrastructure on village roads and empower villagers. R ELIEF FOR NATURAL CA LAMITIES Any natural disaster like tsunami, Gujarat earthquakes and relief provided to the victims, aid and supplies sent, and d onations. E MPLOYEE WELFARE Training programs and welfare programs provided to employees and better conditions at the workplace. W OMEN EMPOWERMENT Related to educating women, training them and treating them. Anything and everything related to women. C O MMUNITY / SOCIETY WELFARE Related to w ater development, improving infrastructure, protecting heritage monuments and improving the society and the community. E NVIRONMENT Planting trees, effective waste disposal, and undertaking programs which ensure less pollution. O THERS Any CSR campaign which does not fall under the above categories. What is the Most Popular Format Used to Communicate CSR Messages? The next research question talks about the format in which information is exhibit ed in the company webpages. Does it take on primarily a text format? Does it use multi media aids like videos, pictures, tables, charts, and pie diagrams? What is the Extent of the CSR Coverage seen in Corporate Websites? The subseq uent research question deals with the coverage of CSR communication on the webpages and its exhibition. For example, how many sections/subheads are devoted to it
29 (Cha udhri & Wang, 2007; Chambers et al., 2003; Pollach, 2003)? Similar to the study by Chaudhr i & Wang (2007), this research paper also examines the prominence given to CSR by assessing the number of sections devoted to the activities and campaigns. What Kind of Communication/Interactivity is seen in the Corporate Websites? This research question tackles the issue of communication/interactivity of corporate websites with respect to CSR issues to see if the website engages in two sided or one sided communication. One way to see this is to find out if feedback/comments are al lowed to be given with respect to CSR campaigns. Next the website also needs to be contact information friendly if people/organizations want to contact the company. As per Gomes & Chalmeta (2010) over 50% of the companies analyzed failed to provide fundame ntal contact information like CSR staff names, physical addresses, and phone numbers or email addresses. The study will also see if social media links with respect to CSR are present in the company websites or not; for instance, CSR Facebook pages or CSR t witter account or YouTube accounts pertaining to CSR. Do CSR Activities get Affected Depending on the Company Being National o r Multinational? The study also categorized the 100 companies as national and Indian multinational, i.e., headquartered in India and have subsidiaries in other countries, and whether this affects the CSR activities covered. The Coders and Coder Training The author completed the entire coding of 100 companies singlehandedly. Each bul letins or section was checked for CSR related information. The keywords used to find CSR related information on company websites were corporate social responsibility, corporate citizenship, stakeholder engagement, community development, social contribution and philanthropy
30 (Waddock, 2004; Chaudhri & Wang, 2007). The data was then entered into a spreadsheet after they browsed through the company websites for CSR related information. Coder Reliability A pretest with ten companie s (10% of the 100) was conducted along with another coder to ensure intercoder reliability. The second coder was a 21 year old Indian citizen who is in her 4th year of engineering in college. Every 10th company in the list was coded for intercoder reliabil ity. The companies were: Indian Oil Corporation, Hindalco Industries LTD, Steel Authority of India (SAIL) Ltd, Canara Bank, Reliance Infrastructure Ltd, Bajaj Auto Ltd, UCO Bank, Ashok Leyland Ltd, MRF Ltd, Asian Paints Ltd & Jindal Stainless Ltd. UCO Ban k and Canara Bank did not have any CSR related activities on their website. The percent of agreement that were seen among the variables by the two coders are depicted in the following four tables. Table 3 1 Intercoder rel iability percent of agreement for CSR categories CSR topic Agreement Education 90% Health 80% Rural Development 90% Relief for Natural Calamities 100% Employee Welfare 90% Women Empowerment 100% Community Welfare 80% Environment 50% Relief for n atural calamities and women empowerment had 100% agreement. It was seen that education, rural development and employee w elfare was seen with 90% agreement. Community welfare and environment showed 80% and 50% agreement respectively. It was significant to note that environment as a variable had a significant difference among the two coders.
31 Table 3 2 Intercoder reliability percent of agreement for medium of communication Medium of communication Agreement Sections 90% Text 100% Video 90% Table 70% Pictures 60% Charts/Pie Diagrams 100% Text and charts/pie diagrams had 100% ag reement each while sections and video had 90% agreement respectively. Subsequently table and pictures were seen with 70% and 60% agreement correspondingly. Table 3 3 Intercoder reliability of percent of agreement for inter activity Interactivity Agreement Staff Names 100% Physical Address 100% Phone Numbers 100% E mail Address 100% Comments 100% Facebook 100% Twitter 100% YouTube 100% Interactivity section had both the coders agreeing 100% with each all the v a riable s Table 3 4 Intercoder reliability of percent of agreement for type of companies Type of Companies Agreement Multinational/National 90% The above table indicates that the two coders had an agreement of 90% when it came to the kind of companies they were coding. The overall average for the analysis of reliability of all t he variables tested was 91% which is acceptable.
32 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS Out of the 100 companies that were analyzed, 17 companies did not have any corporate social responsibility activity on their websites. They are: ICIC I Bank, Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, Bank of India, Housing Development Finance Corporation, IDBI Bank LTD, Idea Cellular Ltd, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Syndicate Bank, Uco Bank, Motherson Sumi Systems Ltd, Corporation B ank, Indian Bank, Andhra Bank, Tata Communications and Bhushan Steel Ltd. Table 4 1 Company websites analyzed with and without CSR information Company websites Number Percentage CSR information on company websites 83 83% No CSR information 17 17% Total 100 100% What seems to be the Popular CSR Focus for Companies? The categories for which programs were f ound were: education, health, rural development, relief to natural calamities, employee welfare, commu nity welfare and environment. Table 4 2 Number of companies with CSR programs in the following categories CSR Categor y Number (n=100) Percentage Health 62 62% C ommunity Welfare 58 58% Education 56 56% Rural Development 40 40% Employee Welfare 23 23% Women Empowerment 22 22% Relie f during Natural Calamities 21 21% No CSR found 17 17% As seen in Table 4 2 health and environment CSR programs were leading as 62 companies were carrying out CSR campaigns re lated to these issues. Community welfare related
33 CSR campaigns were seen in 58 companies. Education and rural development based programs were presented in 56 and 40 companies, respectively. Employee welfare associated programs were exhibited in 23 companie s and lastly, programs related to women empowerment and relief to natural calamity victims were provided by 22 and 21 companies respectively. To measure the prominence, the number of paragraphs that were devoted to each category was also measured and the results f ollow Environment led with 605 paragraphs in total from 62 companies. Then it was health with 435 paragraphs. After that was education with 396 paragraphs and community welfare was seen with 385 paragraphs and rural development with 232 paragraphs. Subsequently, employee welfare was seen with 120 paragraphs, women empowerment had 77 paragraphs and lastly relief for natural calamities was given 71 paragraphs. Table 4 3 Number of paragraphs for CSR category CSR Category Number (n=2321) Percentage Environment 605 26% Health 435 19% Education 396 17% Community Welfare 385 17% Rural Development 232 10% Employee Welfare 120 5% Women Empowerment 77 3% Relief during Natural Calamities 71 3% Total 2321 100% Apart from the eight CSR categories, several companies also examined several issues that were It was seen that 60 companies had CSR activities which were beyond the pre requisite eight categories. From those 60 companies, the findings exh ibited that three companies only had CS R activities which were Essar Oil Ltd, Hero Moto Corp and MRF Ltd. The CSR Indian culture, heritage monuments and hygiene.
34 Table 4 4 Other Number (100) Percentage categories 60 60% CSR category 23 23% Companies with no CSR categories whatsoever 17 17% What is the Most Popular Format Used to Communicate CSR Messages? The format, companies were using to present CSR activities were also coded. One hundred percent of the companies with CSR activities among the eight categories covered us ed text It was seen that six out of the 83 companies used videos with the text, 22 had supplemental tables, 61 companies had supplemented text with pictures and eight had pie diagrams and/or charts. Apart from text, pictures of the campaign were most pop ular as 854 pictures that supplement the text were seen among the 61 companies. Tables came in next as there were 74 of them for 22 companies. It was seen that 46 charts/or pie diagrams were displayed byeight companies. The results showed that ten videos w ere provided by six companies. Table 4 5 Medium of communication Format Frequency Companies (n=83) Pictures 854 61 Tables 74 22 Charts/Pie Diagrams 46 8 Video 10 6 What is the Extent of the CSR Coverage seen in Corporate Websites? This research question deals with the coverage of CSR communication on the webpages and its exhibition; for example, how many sections/subheads are devoted to a category? The results showed, (Table 4 6) that 17 compa nies had no CSR sections in their websites as these companies did not conduct CSR activities. The findings exhibited that 18 companies had one
35 section, 11 companies had two sections and six companies had three sections. The mean and standard deviation of t he sections are 6.66 and 5.35. Table 4 6 Number of sections Number of sections Frequency 0 17 1 18 2 11 3 6 4 11 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 5 9 4 10 4 11 2 12 2 13 1 15 1 What Kind of Communic ation/Interactivity is seen in the Corporate Websites? For any kind of communication, it is important for companies to give their contact details so that there is a means to contact them. This study looked into the contact details the company website prov ides with respect to CSR and the people associated with it. The staff names, physical addresses, phone numbers and e mail addresses with respect to CSR were coded. Central Bank of India had listed 92 staff names pertaining to CSR and Ambuja
36 Cements had 25 Central Bank of India had given 179 phone numbers and Ambuja Cements had given 28 e mail addresses, all relating to CSR. Table 4 7 Communication Staff Names Given Number of companies Physical Addresses Given Number of co mpanies Phone Numbers Provided Number of Companies E mail Addresses Provided Number of Companies 0 89 0 92 0 90 0 90 1 8 1 7 1 8 1 9 5 1 25 1 38 1 5 1 25 1 179 1 28 1 92 1 Feedback and social media are very important when it comes to CSR. Table 4 8 shows how many companies provide a means to facilitate feedback. There was no company which explicitly provided a means to provide feedback purely for CSR but there were general comment/feedback sections where one could post a CSR query. Out of t he 83 companies, 28 companies provided this option. While social media is also very important when it comes to CSR and all companies have social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, but very few companies exclusively provide a CSR Facebook page or a Twitter account or a YouTube account. Out of the 83 companies, six had official Facebook pages, four had Twitter accounts and five YouTube accounts. Sesa Sterilite also had a blog which talked about one of its CSR activities. Table 4 8 Social interactivity Feedback and Social Media Number Comments 28 (out of 83) YouTube 5 (out of 83) Facebook 6 (out of 83) Twitter 4 (out of 83)
37 Do CSR get Activities Affected Depending on the C ompany Being National o r Multinational? The study also decided to see which of those companies were national and which of them were Indian multinational (headquartered in India and have subsidiaries in other countries). Out of 100 companies that were analyzed, 67 were multinational and 33 were national companies. When it comes to paragraphs, education has mean of 4.8 in multinational companies as opposed to 2.2 for national companies. Health had mean of 4.7 for multinational firms as compared to 3.5 in national companies Environment had a mean of 6.5 for multinational firms as opposed to 4.9 for national firms. A mean of 8.9 was seen for pictures in multinational companies as opposed to 7.7 in national companies. When it comes to videos, a mean of 0.10 was re corded for multinational companies as compared to 0.09 for national companies. Both variables including physical address as well as e mail address displayed a mean of 0.44 and 0.59 respectively for multinational companies and both exhibited a mean of 0.06 each for national companies. Some variables seemed to be showing opposite results. Staff names had a mean of 0.53 for multinational companies while national companies had 2.9. Phone numbers had a mean of 0.6 for multinational companies while for national companies it was 5.5. Similarly even for pie diagram/charts, it was 0.26 for multinational companies while for national companies it was 0.84. Some of them were more or less equal. The mean for Comment sections facilitating feedback for multinational com panies was 0.29 while for national companies it was 0.24. In the case for rural development, the mean was 2.31 for multinational companies and for national companies, it was 2.33.
38 When it comes to social networking sites the mean for Facebook, Twitter and Youtube were 0.05, 0.05 and 0.04 respectively for multi national companies as opposed to 0.06, 0 and 0.06 for national companies. Table 4 9 shows the number of paragraphs for the CSR categories, number of sections, number of pictures, videos, number of c omment sections and social networking accounts. T able 4 9 Comparison of variables among multinational/national companies Multinational (n=67) National (n=33) Variables Number Mean Number Mean Environment 4 42 6.59 163 4.93 Education 322 4.80 74 2.24 Health 319 4.76 116 3.51 Community/Society Welfare 276 4.11 109 3.30 Rural Development 155 2.31 77 2.33 Employee Welfare 92 1.37 28 0.84 Relief for Natural Calamites 53 0.79 18 0.54 Women Empowerment 37 0 .55 40 1.21 Others 43 0.64 17 0.51 Sections 280 4.17 122 3.69 Pictures 598 8.92 256 7.75 Video 7 0.10 3 0.09 Tables 43 0.64 31 0.93 Charts/Pie Diagrams 18 0.26 28 0.84 Staff names 36 0.53 94 2.84 Physical Address 30 0.44 2 0.06 Phone numbers 44 0. 65 181 5.48 E mail address 40 0.59 2 0.06 Comments 20 0.29 8 0.24 Facebook 4 0.05 2 0.06 Twitter 4 0.05 0 0 Youtube 3 0.04 2 0.06 It was found out that education, health care, employee welfare categories and total number of CSR paragraphs have posit ive correlations with revenues and they have a negative correl ation with assets. Table 4 10 shows the findings.
39 Table 4 10 Positive and negative correlations with assets and revenues Variables Assets Revenues Education .187* 127 Health Care .167* 198* Employee Welfare .489** .002 Environment .184* 187* Total no: of CSR paragraphs .275** 225*
40 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION The intention of the study was to examine the corporate social responsib ility activities depicted among the websites of the top 100 companies (2012) in India. The study by Chaudhri & Wang (2007) talked about the CSR activities mentioned in the 100 Indian IT companies. It was concentrated on one industry only. But this study fo cused on the CSR work exhibited in the top 100 Indian companies irrespective of any industry. The study was conducted using the method of quantitative content analysis. It analyzed the websites of the top 100 Indian Companies and examined the CSR activiti es depicted in those websites Out of those companies, 17 of them did not have any CSR related activity. The previous study (Chaudhri & Wang, 2007) did not find any significant CSR related activity on the IT related websites. It was as low as 30% with CSR activity. But this study was markedly different. Not only was it covering all the top 100 companies from many different industries and 83% of the companies (out of 100 companies) had CSR information on their websites. It was noted that majorly banks as an industry appeared to be not putting out any CSR activities on their websites. It was interesting to note that out of the 17 companies without CSR activity, 11 of them were banks. They were: Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, Bank of India, IDBI Bank Ltd, Orient al Bank of Commerce, Syndicate Bank, UCO Bank, Corporation Bank, Indian Bank, Andhra Bank and ICICI bank. No reason is known as to why the banking industry does not seem to put out CSR information on its websites. However, there were six banks which did ha ve CSR information on their website and they were: State Bank of India, Axis Bank Ltd, Union Bank of India, Central Bank of India, Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd and Punjab National Bank.
41 What seems to be the Popular CSR Focus for Compan ies? There were eight CSR categories which were used in this study namely Education, Health, and Rural development, Relief to natural calamities, Emplo yee welfare, Community welfare and Environment. According to Mohan (2001) and Chaudhri & Wang (2007), usually corporate social responsibility in India is associated with philanthropic work with businesses associated with social development needs. So CSR was mostly related to charitable donations or philanthropy. There are several education institutions tha t accept donations for scholarship purposes. Moreover, it was seen that many companies are having education related programs to help the active in carrying out better health care programs, especial ly for the poor, if one had to go by the large number of companies devoting their website text to health based issues. Nanhi Kali is a very good program for sponsoring the education of girl child from Mahindhra & Mahindhra. Similarly IndianOil Sanchal Swas thya Seva is a mobile medical unit (MMU) from Indian Oil. There are 52 MMUs which have been launched in states like Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The lifetime express from Mahindra & Mahindra is said to be the first hospital on wheels. It treats in rem ote areas people whose disabilities thwart them from making the trip to a formal hospital. It was disappointing to note that women empowerment or employee welfare does not feature so prominently in the CSR section. Even the aid given to the victims of nat ural calamities was not seen often. come under the usual eight categories were placed. The most popular CSR issues seen in this category were safety, sports, recycling preserving Indian culture, heritage monuments and hygiene Some companies are very active in preserving Indian culture. One of them is Punj Lyod
42 which is a great supporter of Jahan e Khusrau, an annual Sufi festival that gives importance to traditional m usic. Mahindra & Mahindra host the yearly Mahindra Theatre Festival which showcases the best in theater. The results depicted that CSR variables such as education, health care, employee welfare, environment and the total number of CSR paragraphs are all p ositively correlated with revenues but they are negatively correlated with assets. But it was seen that assets and revenues are positively correlated. Revenues are a measure of the current success of the company while assets reflect the size of the compan y. Perhaps it is companies that are more successful that are spending resources on CSR. Maybe more studies more exclusively related to assets, revenues and CSR will shed some light on this matter. What is the Most Popular Format Used to Communicate CSR Messages? The format in which the companies used to communicate their CSR companies was also very important. Companies used a variety of media to spread their CSR message. Apart from text which was used by 100% of all companies, d ifferent media like videos, tables, pie diagrams and/or charts and pictures were also seen. The results showed that companies, apart from text, rely on pictures the most to spread and promote their CSR activities. Not many use videos as a means of communic ation as this medium of CSR communication was seen the least among the companies. They appeared to prefer pictures and to some extent tables, pie diagrams and charts, as they were seen more than videos The reason could be that pictures provide visual proo f of the social activities actually being conducted. Even though videos provide a visual as well audio proof, they were not as preferred, which was surprising to say the least. What is the Extent of the CSR Coverage seen in Corpor ate Websites? How much coverage is given to CSR activities in a company website is crucial. It determines how much importance an organization gives to corporate social responsibility.
43 Finding how many subheads/sections are devoted to CSR in a website is g ood way of finding out its significance with respect to the company. Not many companies devoted a lot of space for CSR related activities. Only one section to CSR was dedicated by 18 companies, 11 companies had two sections and six companies had three sect ions. The study by Chaudhri & Wang (2007) had similar results. But that study focused on number of pages instead of sections and though they cannot be compared, it is interesting to note that the Chaudhri & Wang (2007) study also had 43.3% of the local c ompanies and 66.6% of the global companies devoting only 1 2 pages to CSR. What Kind of Communication/Interactivity is seen in the Corporate Websites? Providing contact details is important for any company so that its target audie nce can contact them. The variables that were examined were: staff names, physical addresses, phone numbers and e mail addresses pertaining to CSR. It was interesting to note how some companies gave many staff names, physical addresses, e mail address and phone numbers while some companies gave few or none. But it was seen that majority did not give any kind of contact details at all with respect to CSR. Similar to the results provided by this thesis were the results of the study by Gomes & Chalmeta (2010). They reported that more than 50% of the firms did not display basic contact information such as CSR staff names, phone numbers, e mail addresses and physical addresses. The most common contact information was said be doling out e mail addresses (22%). The authors had indicated that companies were not providing the fundamental contact information that could better the relationship with stakeholders. Feedback and especially social media have grown over the past couple years. It has become very significant f or companies to have official social networking sites. Also two way communication is very important for companies. No company explicitly provided the means to
44 provide feedback just for CSR related purposes but general feedback sections were provided and o ne could type in a CSR query if desired. Moreover, very few companies actually have CSR related social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts. Since social media itself has only boomed in the last couple of years, it is still early for com panies to have exclusive CSR related accounts although all companies do have their official company accounts in social networking sites. Do CSR Activities get Affected Depending on the Company Being N ational o r Multinational? The study findings showed that it does. There were 67 multinational companies and 23 national companies. The results did hint that multinational companies seem to depict CSR activities more than national companies. The study did exhibit that multinational fir ms were inclined to present CSR activities on their websites. One of the notable observations was the significant difference in the means in many variables: One of them being education (4.8 vs. 2.2). This implied that educational programs were given much more importance among multinational companies as compared to national companies Not just education, environment displayed a difference in the means which was also significant (6.59 vs. 4.93). But it was interesting to note that they were some opposing obs ervations as well. The means of staff names (0.53 vs. 2.84) and phone numbers (0.65 vs. 5.48) showed significant differences as well. This showed that national companies were more inclined to provide the names of the CSR staff and their phone numbers as co mpared to multinational companies. Further studies could be conducted to figure out the reason for it. The overall results appeared to indicate that multinational companies were more prone to depict CSR related activities on their websites.
45 Limitations of the Study One of the limitations of the study was that it could not pinpoint why a particular CSR category was prominent in a certain industry. This is because the study used the top 100 companies from 2012, so it featured all kinds of industries. The study by Chaudhri & Wang (2007), studied only the IT industry. So it was easier to study why specific CSR issues were seen among them. This was not the case in this study. Another limitation of the study is that the data was n ot descriptive enough to imply several things. For instance, why education had a significant difference within the multinational and national companies cannot be explained unless further studies are conducted exclusively regarding this issue. Moreover, mor e studies are required to study these issues. Another big limitation regarding the thesis is that it does not study Indian culture with respect to CSR activities. Culture is an extremely significant part of India and the study did find that many companies carry out CSR campaigns in relation to preserving culture. Apart from culture, there were several other topics and issues like sports and safety among others which were depicted on the company websites but they were not coded. The thesis did not study an d go into great detail about how assets and revenues have a correlation with CSR activities depicted on the websites because of which some questions and findings were left unanswered. Further, some of the CSR campaigns were difficult to find on the website go amiss which would affect the thesis results. Whether to include fou ndations of companies or not was another issue. Ultimately they we r e not included. CSR activities in companies like ICICI Bank were exhibited in the ICICI foundation and not the official website.
46 During the pre testing, environment only found 50% agreemen t among the two coders. This could pose as a problem if in the future; the thesis data are used by another author for conducting a new study. The study cannot be generalized by saying this is how CSR activities are depicted in Indian company websites. The thesis only studied the top 100 companies. There are several small scale and middle scale companies which were not studied. It is not known whether they conduct CSR activities or not. Conclusion A survey conducted by Welfor d (2004, p.51) revealed that corporate social responsibility campaigns perform quite well in countries in North America (excluding Mexico) and Europe but not so much in Asia. Things seem to have changed over the last 10 years. The findings of the current s tudy seems to show that a lot of Indian companies are taking initiative for carrying out CSR activities and display it on their websites. The study by Coope (2004) noted that corporate social responsibility did not rank very high in organizations, but it observed that the internet is the perfect medium to discuss it as it has the capability to reach more people such as analysts, employees and customers. Ten years later, this particular thesis showed that CSR activities did seem to rank high in firms becaus e out of the 100 companies that were examined, 83 exhibited CSR campaigns on their websites. Education, healthcare and environment along with community welfare and rural development seem to be the highly preferred categories that most of the CSR issues see m ed to be focus ed on. According to a study by Sicilia, Ruiz, and Munuera (2005), when a web site is displayed in an interactive medium, the people viewing the website appears to process information more thoroughly than people exposed to a website that was non interactive. So not surprisingly, p activities. They provide visual proof of the activities that are being carried out. Social media may
47 have advanced on a huge scale in India, but with respect to creating exclusive CSR social media accounts, it is still very much in the nascent stage. According to Gautam & Singh (2010), the overall method of CSR in India seems to be focusing on philanthropy rather than combining it w ith the business as it seems to happen in the West. But this current study showed that CSR has become more than just for donation purposes as there are lots of programs like health care units and training centers which are designed to help people. Some of them are Assam Oil School of Nursing, Digboi, Indian Oil (AOD) Industrial Training Centre, Digboi and Swarna Jyanti Samudaik Hospital.
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52 BIOGRAPH ICAL SKETCH Suchitra Rajan is from Mumbai, India. She attended Mumbai University and graduated in 200 9 and was awarded the b achelor d egree in m ass c ommunication with a specialization in advertising. S he began her graduate studies at the University of Flor ida in August 2011 pursuing a Master of Arts in Mass Communication with a specialization in public relations.