Critical Factors Of Csr In India Management Essay

Critical Factors Of Csr In India Management Essay
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Design/methodology/approach
The study identifies critical factors of CSR for Indian firms using survey instrument. Factor Analysis, one way ANOVA and Descriptive statistics were used for the research analysis. Along with Liker scale, other various scales were used to investigate the level and nature of engagement of Indian firms in CSR.
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Findings
It has been reported that ‘Financial Health, Competency and Stakeholders’ are basic pillars of every organization. Firms can assess the strategic business operations and strategic CSR decisions together while focusing on bottom line performance.

Research limitations/implications
The survey instrument relied on single respondents from each firm that have restricted our sample size. May the use of multiple respondents could have provided greater reliability to measure of Indian CSR.

Practical implications
There is threefold implication for Indian firms from the research. First, CSR helps in strengthening financial health, creates value, reduces cost and risk in long run, and supports it in maintaining this attitude over decades. Second, being responsible contribute to healthy competition, ethical and transparent business practices that may indeed create good kinship in or out the firm. Third, open communicating environment, proper health, Safety and Welfare systems, transparency and compliance may win over stakeholders.

Originality/value
In the Indian context, no such exist as per the knowledge of researcher that identify important factor of CSR for Indian business. This article presents a new approach to determine the impact of CSR on Indian business.

Keywords
Corporate Social Responsibility, Financial Growth, Competitive Advantage, Stakeholders, India

Paper type
Research paper

INTRODUCTION AND PROBLEM STATEMENT
A wave of soul seeking among practitioners and academicians has been elicited by the overwhelming magnitude of recent corporate outrages (Kashyap et al. 2004). There is noteworthy descent in ethical behavior. To realize the consequences of such conduct, a pursuit of alternative research is being carried on worldwide. The interest of business to exist may drive an individual to think about the role of business that is in the middle of the debate of the great good and possible harm (Singh, 2010).

The corporate performance whether a success or failure is now being also judged by their stakeholders - shareholders, analysts, investors, consumers, regulators, activists, labor unions, employees, community organizations and news media. Thus, firms need to do better in non-fiscal domains such as human rights, environment, corporate contributions, community development, and workplace issues. Increased competitive pressures for firms over the last few decades have caused practitioners to examine the quality and magnitude of their Actions. Further, despite the growing involvement in corporate social responsibility (CSR), shadow of doubt remains as to whether such initiatives could potentially lead to firm’s better performance and as a source of sustained competitive advantage (Dusuki and Dar, 2005).

Since financial performance remains non-negotiable for the survival and growth of any corporation, various scholars and practitioners have insisted that all forms of CSR activities must be aligned with the core competencies of the firm. Thus firm can make more efficient and sustainable contributions to the society along with fulfilling its economic objectives (Bruch and Walter 2005; Porter and Kramer, 2002). In today’s world with fierce competition, companies find it ever more difficult to handle the pressure of various external stakeholders without social investment (Margolis and Walsh, 2003). CSR initiatives can contribute to reputational advantages such as increased trust in investors, new market opportunities and positive reactions of capital markets (Fombrun et al. 2000). As the world is integrating, the pressure for better performance has multiplied the concern of firms for developing more novel ways of defining and understanding CSR.

India in the last five years has seen the surge and phenomenal growth in various businesses. The onset of globalization and liberalization of the Indian economy over the last two decades has resulted in shift of the corporate goals from socio- economic focus towards increasing shareholders value to the welfare of various stakeholders. Though the CSR till seen as merely a charitable deed in India. Further, CSR is a well established theoretical concept but there is a need to establish empirical validity of CSR so that firms can incorporate it in their strategic and other decisions and investors can also use CSR for investment decisions. It will be a good attempt to provide empirical evidence to policy makers for potential usefulness of CSR to be used as mandatory corporate activities in Indian context.

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Existing literature shows that no study has been undertaken so far to the best of our knowledge which showcases Indian CSR determinants. Not just to enrich the Indian CSR literature, but to get acquainted with the sweet or sour flavour of CSR for Indian firms forms the rationale of conducting this study.

LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
CSR impact business or not is always an important unanswerable question which looks for its justified response. Management, politicians, academicians are trying to identify who is benefited from, and who bears the costs of, socially responsible activities and up to what extent firms will spontaneously deal with significant societal issues (Tsoutsoura, 2004). This surge of increased transparency and growing expectations from corporate sector has conceded interest to determine the critical CSR factors. To understand the background of the proposed concept, a thorough review of literature was performed.

Conceptual Background
Earlier, donations and charitable givings were just philanthropic activities performed by corporate. These disparate charitable initiatives were generally uncoordinated and most of the times without clear decision-criteria. This approach - Dispersed philanthropy as explained by Bruch and Walter (2005) was often used in corporate donations and grounded on personal tastes of managers or board members instead of a strategic judgment of stakeholder demands and core competencies. In order to understand the CSR dimensions, numerous studies have been conducted worldwide. Theories, approaches and definitions have been proposed to clear the concept of CSR which is also referred as Corporate Responsibility (CR) and Corporate Social Performance (CSP), still there is a clear lack of operative definitions (Manderson, 2006). So far CSR is still fuzzy with unclear limits and debatable legitimacy (Lantos, 2001, Cramer et al. 2004). World Business Council for Sustainable Development [1] (WBCSD) in its publication "Making Good Business Sense" by Lord Holme and Richard Watts, defined CSR as "… the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large".

General Perspective on CSR
Business should proactively take care of the broader societal and environmental expectations. This notion of great debate has seemingly increased the role of strategic CSR by the business worldwide. The study by Bhattacharyya (2008) guides which CSR initiatives make strategic sense to the firm through building a CSR Strategy- Framework. CSR expenditure though gave strong impact on business operation but has significant contribution outside the business. Brammer and Millington (2005) stated that firms with higher philanthropic expenditures have better reputation that shapes the perception of stakeholders. The study of CREM (2004) identifies potential bottlenecks and dilemmas which companies may encounter while implementing CSR. Corporations believe that being socially responsible could create value, has a positive effect on the workforce and also encourages staff loyalty and commitment (CSM, 2003). The present study seeks to understand the CSR concept from the perspective of Indian firms.

CSR Perspective on Stakeholder Relationships
It is observed that corporations manage relationship with stakeholder groups rather than with society as a whole (Clarkson, 1995). Thus research requires differentiating social and stakeholder issues. Corporations consider stakeholders as vital that vary country to country. It is also assumed that stakeholders do have strong influence on overall corporate performance (Chao et al. 2007; Choi et al. 2010; Snider et al. 2003; Mishra and Suar 2010). Firms are increasing more proficient at identifying and prioritising their stakeholders, and linking CSR programmes to business and social outcomes (Knox et al. 2005).

Lindgreen et al. (2007) investigated actual CSR practices related to five different stakeholder groups, and derived four different clusters of firms - organizational demographics, perceived influence of stakeholders, managers' perceptions of the influence of CSR on performance, and organizational performance. Mishra and Suar (2010) examined whether CSR towards primary stakeholders influences the financial and the Non-financial performance of Indian firms. Wood and Jones (1995) developed a stakeholder framework to review the empirical literature on CSR and financial performance. Ali et al. (2010a) identified significant factors to enhance employee’s organizational commitment to enhance organizational performance from analyzing multifaceted influence of CSR. While in Ali et al. (2010b), investigation was focused on the relationship between awareness of CSR activities and consumer purchase intention. The present study also enquires into the stakeholder relationship from Indian perspective.

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CSR Perspective on Risk and Market Opportunities
CSR is considered as a way to realize the vision of mitigating risks and optimizing performance subsequently in today’s competitive environment. The study of Bassen et al. (2006) found that financial performance, indirect links to company risk and CSR are strongly relates to risk and it appears that complete deficiency of such engagement exposes firm to unnecessary risk. CSR also found to have synergetic effect on the market orientation of business and CSR moderates the association between customer orientation and business (Brik et al. 2010). CSR is a strategic move (Heslin and Ochoa, 2008; Goss and Roberts, 2007) of firms to achieve corporate objectives if not carefully implemented, may harm the competitive advantage (Dentchev, 2004). In context with competitive advantage, several attempts have been made to investigate the CSR (Ji-ming and Hao-bai, 2007; Joshi et al. 2007; Kobori et al. 2009; Marín et al. 2009). Melo and Galán (2009) assessed the impact of CSR on brand value and confirmed that CSR is a valid source of intangible competitive advantage. Firms have a greater chance of sustaining over time if they have relatively good reputation and better reputations demonstrate greater profit persistence (Roberts and Dowling, 2002). Corporate reputation generated from CSR, is an important strategic asset that contributes to firm-level persistent profitability (Roberts and Dowling, 2002). The study of Muruganantham (2010) examined a case of MNC’s from India with focusing on how CSR remains a relevant strategic marketing tool, and firms use CSR to enhance image, generate brand equity, and increase employee loyalty. The study also highlights how these firms are integrating CSR into their marketing strategy to build and sustain a competitive advantage. The present study throws light on the sustainable competitive advantage expected from CSR in Indian context.

CSR Perspective on Financial Growth
CSR is constantly linked to enhancing corporate performance from generating strong and positive reputation, brand value, retaining expert workforce etc as intangible benefits in long run. Various dimensions of CSR have been examined worldwide to assess the important factors of financial growth. Aupperle et al. (1985) examined the relationship between CSR and Profitability while Blazovich and Smith (2010) explored the relationship between ethical corporate citizenship and financial performance (i.e., greater profitability and efficiency, and lower cost of capital). Similarly Bouquet and Deutsch (2008) examined the way CSR affects a firm’s capacity to attain profitable sales. Ghoul et al. (2010) found that firms with better CSR scores exhibit cheaper equity financing while examining the effect of CSR on the cost of equity capital. Goukasian and Whitney (2008) observed that CSR firms "outperform" their rivals in satisfying their stakeholder needs and may generate even higher returns for their shareholders in the future and moreover bearing the cost of socially responsible behaviour does not have a negative trade off. Webb (2005) also documented positive causal relationship between leverage and certain CSR measures and a lower cost of debt financing for firms with strong levels of CSR. Study of Bedi (2009) reported positive relationship between CSR expenditure and financial performance on Indian firms.

RATIONALE
In India, research is mostly confined to nature and characteristics of CSR (Arora and Puranik, 2004; Sood and Arora, 2006; Lee, 2010; Singh 2010; Srivastava and Sahay, 1995), policies and practices of CSR (Gupta and Saxena, 2006; Pradhan and Ranjan 2010; Muruganantham, 2010; Arora and Rana 2010), ethics in marketing (Krishnan and Balachandran (2004), Corporate Governance (Singhania, 2011; Sinha, 2009), competitive advantage from CSR (Sen, 2006; Joshi et al. 2007; Bhattacharyya, 2008), financial performance (Mishra and Suar 2010; Mittal et al. 2008) and various published reports on CSR (CSM, 2001; CSM, 2003).

Ethical Behaviour
Risk
SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE FIRM
Competitiveness & Market opportunities
Financial
Growth
Stakeholders Satisfaction
Figure 1 - Conceptual Model
Overall literature review highlights that most of the studies have dealt with developed nations while a very few studies have investigated developing economies. Only few studies explored practical CSR approach in Indian relevance. Thus, this shows that there exists a gap in the literature and forms the bases of conducting the present study in relation to India. Further, there is lack of studies which identify important CSR determinants or factors critical in shaping strategic decision making of corporations. This study intends to fill the gap through extending the previous work and rationalize an exploratory study to determine the critical CSR index or factors for guiding firms in line with the conceptual model of the study (Figure 1).

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RESEARCH OBJECTIVES AND HYPOTHESIS
The present study determines important key factors of CSR for Indian business by inquiring into Indian firms’ perspective on various CSR dimensions. The study attempts to understand the general realization and knowledge of various stakeholders about the socially responsible behaviour of their firms.

H1- Indian firms are more inclined towards Socially Responsible Practices

As the stakeholder relationship come up a vital fact of business world, the study intends to understand the viewpoint of business firms about prioritizing and maintaining the relationships with their stakeholders.

H2- For Indian firms CSR may positively influence the relationships with their stakeholders

As the ongoing debate on the CSR contribution to increase financial performance and competitiveness has grown deeper, the present study seeks to know the rationale about adopting CSR and its confidence with enhanced financial performance and competitiveness from point of view of Indian firms.

H3- For Indian firms, adoption of CSR would have positive impact on their financial performance.

H4- For Indian firms, adoption of CSR would have positive impact on their competitiveness.

SAMPLE SIZE
The only criterion to select the firms was that the firm should be listed on S&P ESG 500 India index for all the years since the inception of the index i.e. 2005 to the year when the survey was conducted i.e. 2009. 253 firms were targeted as sample though it was considered that the target population was very small and conducting pilot and main study separately would not be possible. Hence survey was conducted using pre-testing of questionnaire with experts and important changes were incorporated after useful discussion. The survey received 138 total responses out of 253 mails sent with responses rate of 55% while 36 responses were dropped due to insufficient information. Refer Annexure 1 for the list of surveyed sample Indian firms.

DATA SOURCE
Both primary and secondary sources of data have been used and a survey questionnaire was designed for primary data collection to measure the extent to which a firms’ ideology emphasises on socially responsible behaviour. Questionnaire was focused on the financial and social performance, stakeholder relationship and creation of competitive value. To strengthen the results, secondary data sources such as websites of companies, their annual reports, news letters, publications, and other relevant documents were also analysed.

Development of Survey Questionnaire
Questionnaire was segmented into five sections and a total of 50 opinion base statements were designed along with 6 different questions (Table 1) using five point Likert’s scale (Table 2). Detailed attention was laid on drafting statements to keep it simple and short, positively phrased and neutral to avoid any bias. The questionnaire is given in Annexure 2.

Table 1 - Questionnaire Structure
Section
Code
Section Name
No. of Questions
Scale used
A

ECR

Evaluating perspective on CSR

13

Likert

B

STK

Evaluating Perspective on Stakeholder Relationships

11

Likert

C

RMO

Evaluating perspective on Risk and Market Opportunities

11

Likert

D

FG

Evaluating perspective on Financial Growth from CSR

15

Likert

E

GCR

General Organizational CSR

7

Multiple

Table 2 - Numerical Code for Questions
Scale
Strongly Agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly Disagree
Numerical Code
5

4

3

2

1

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
The study employed Descriptive Statistics, Factor Analysis, Reliability Test and ANOVA for data analysis using SPSS 12 statistical software.

Factor Analysis identifies underlying variables, or factors, that explain the pattern of correlation within a set of observed variables. Due to small sample size, factor analysis was done in two stages. In the first stage, factor analysis was run on the four individual sections– Section A, B, C and D and factors were identified from each individual section. These identified factors from individual sections were then combined and factor analysis was run on the combined factors and final factors were identified. Before Principal Component Factor [2] (PCF) analysis, as a prerequisite, Kaiser –Mayer-Olkin (KMO [3] ) and Bartlett’s test of sphericity [4] were applied. The obtained factors were rotated to get a factor solution and extracted factors were then tested for reliability using Cronbach’s alpha [5] . The factors are then interpreted in order to provide the best explanation for the variables influenced by that factor. The methodology has been used as a guiding principle and not as cut-off approach to overcome practical difficulties in the factor analysis.

Cut-off value of 0.00001 for determinant of correlation was taken as acceptable to carry out KMO and Bartlett’s test of Sphericity, necessary to conduct before PCF analysis. KMO value greater than 0.5 and Bartlett’s value less than 0.05 was taken as acceptable. Any variable that has significantly low value (below 0.5) in anti image correlation Matrix were dropped before conducting PCF.

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Eigen Value = or > 1 is taken as cut off for extracting the number of factors and is validated by Scree plot. Rotated Component Matrix (RCM) was drawn using Varimax method to minimize the number of variables that have high loading on each other. Factor loading of 0.3 or more is taken as significant cut-off value and Variables having a factor loading of 0.6 or more were selected [6] . Latent variables which had a factor loading of 0.5 or above on one factor and 0.3 or more on another factor were also selected.

In each group of variables, there are few reverse phased items that may show negative factor loading values. These items have been re-phrased to compute descriptive statistics and Cronbach Alpha value.

Reliability Test was conducted on the extracted factor to calculate a number of commonly used measures on a scale of reliability and also to provide information about the relationship between individual items in the scale. Nunnaly (1978) had indicated Cronbach’s Alpha value greater than 0.7 is acceptable for reliability but lower thresholds are sometimes used in literature to manage the practical difficulties.

One way ANOVA produces a one way analysis of variance for quantitative dependent variable by a single factor (independent) variable. The present study used it to test the hypothesis that several means are equal at significance level (p<0.05) that would reconfirm the applicability of the final results of the factor and reliability analysis on various segments of respondents.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
QUANTITATIVE DATA ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
As already described, questionnaire was focused to identify the extent of relationship (if any) between the variables under 5 broad heads namely, CSR, Stakeholder Relationships, Risk and Market Opportunities, Financial growth and General Organizational CSR. As expected, survey has provided novel understanding of the concept from the organizational point of view as well as importantly enabled to identify factors of CSR vital to Indian firms.

RESPONDENTS DEMOGRAPHICS
For drawing the demographics of respondents, content analysis was conducted to strengthen the results. 35% of respondents indicate that their job profile is related to CSR/HR while 19% respondents were Corporate Strategist. On an average, the respondents have 16.1 years of total work experience (SD = 10.1 years). Results show that out of 102 responses, 87% respondents were male that evidenced low level of woman empowerment in India.

Table 3 - Respondent Demographics
Demographic Variable
Number
Percentage
Level of Designation
Upper management

31

30%

Middle management

35

34%

Lower management

35

34%

Missing

1

1%

N =

102

100%

Total Experience
Less than 5 years

12

12%

from 5 years to 10 years

19

19%

from 10 years to 15 years

16

16%

from 15 years to 20 years

21

21%

More than 20 years

34

33%

N=

102

100%

CSR related Designation
CSR / HR

36

35%

Corporate Strategy & Planning

19

19%

Others

38

37%

Missing

9

9%

N=

102

100%

Gender
Male

89

87%

Female

13

13%

N=

102

100%

Age
30 years old or younger

18

18%

Older than 30 years old, but not more than 40 years old

35

34%

Older than 40 years old, but not more than 50 years old

31

30%

More than 50 years old

18

18%

N=

102

100%

ORGANIZATION DEMOGRAPHICS
Table 4 indicate variety of organizations in the sample, with 21% in Energy Power and Natural Gas (EPNG) and 15% from High Tech Industries as major respondents. The products that the organizations offer are physical goods (62.0%), services (27%), and physical goods combined with services (11%). Indian culture and ethics are considered as roots to Indian business and this was aptly supported by the fact that most respondents had deep CSR legacy (36% respondent firms were 50 to 100 years old and 35% were 25 to 50 years old).

Table 4 - Organization Demographics
Demographic or Performance Outcome Variable (N=102 Firms)
Number
Percentage
INDUSTRY
Industrials

12

12%

Metal & Mining

9

9%

FIG

10

10%

Textile

6

6%

EPNG

21

21%

High Tech

15

15%

Automobiles

7

7%

Pharmaceuticals

11

11%

Miscellaneous

6

6%

Consumer goods

5

5%

Contd.

TYPES OF PRODUCTS
Physical goods

63

62%

Services

28

27%

Both physical goods and services

11

11%

ESTABLISHMENT OF ORGANIZATION
<25 years old

15

15%

>=25 to <50

36

35%

>=50 to <100

37

36%

>=100

14

14%

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES
Less than 1000

10

10%

1000-5000

22

22%

5000-10000

28

27%

10000-20000

33

32%

20000 or more

9

9%

CSR PROFILE
Years gap from establishment of firm to initiate CSR initiatives
<10

28

27%

>=10 but 30

31

30%

>=30 but <50

16

16%

>=50 but <70

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7

7%

>=70

10

10%

Not Available

10

10%

Years served with socially responsible activities
<10

25

25%

>=10 but 30

35

34%

>=30 but <50

16

16%

>=50 but <70

9

9%

>=70

7

7%

Missing

10

10%

Firms Disclosures
Publishes Separate CSR/Sustainability Reports

72

71%

Partially Mentions about their CSR activities in their annual reports

16

16%

Don’t Publish any document

14

14%

Firms with 10,000-20,000 employees were major respondents (32%) while 27% firms had 5,000 to 10,000 employees and 22% firms had 1000-5000 employees. As indicated in Table 4, 30% of the Indian organizations commenced CSR activities between 10 to 30 years of their establishment while 27% of the firms started CSR activities within 10 years of their business commencement.

RESULTS FROM FACTOR ANALYSIS
In the first stage Factor analysis was conducted on four individual sections. 13 questions or variables from section A, 11 from section B, 11 from section C and 15 from section D were analysed. The mean value of all the variables are greater than 3 except for RMO1, Coefficient of correlation was less than 0.5 hence; none of the variable was dropped as no multi-collineraity observed. The Correlation Matrix of all sections have determinant greater than 0.00001. For all the sections, KMO value was greater than 0.5 and Bartlett’s value was less than 0.05 which is acceptable to conduct Principal Component Analysis. The number of factors was determined by cut-off eigenvalues = or>1 for all the sections. Based on the results of Rotated Components Matrix and Component Transformation Matrix, best combination of variables from each section was identified. Table 5 shows identified variables and factor names along with variable description for each factor. It is to be noted that variables having low factor loading from cut-off value, were also included in the combination which show greater significance in representing the section.

Table 5 - Identified Variables and Factors
Factor Name
Factor Description
Number of variables
Variable Codes
F1

Ethical and Transparent practices are keys to Competitive Advantage

6

ECR7 (.777), ECR10 (.712), ECR9 (.686), ECR6 (.651), ECR8 (.595), ECR4 (.563)

F2

Securing Relationships with Stakeholders

5

STK4 (.783), STK11 (.703), STK5 (.702), STK10 (.509), STK7 (.456)

F3

Minimizing Risk and Maximizing Opportunities

4

RMO8 (.849), RMO7(.712), RMO3 (.603), RMO4 (.534)

F4

Enhancing Financial Performance

3

FG5 (.783), FG4 (.753),FG2 (.732),

Values in brackets are Factor Loading in decreasing order

In the second stage, combined factor analysis was conducted on all 18 variables of four factors (See Table 5). The mean value of all the 18 variables was greater than 3 (Table 6) and coefficient of correlation for every variable was less than 0.5. The determinant of Correlation Matrix was 0.001, KMO value was 0.750 and Bartlett’s Test significance value was 0.000 and hence acceptable to perform PCF. The number of factors was determined by cut-off eigenvalues = or>1 which resulted in 5 components (Table 6). The descriptions of final variables for Combined Study Factor (CSF) are given in Table 7 with Cronbach Alpha value ranging from 0.505 to 0.787. To further strengthen the results, Cronbach alpha value for all 18 variables was also calculated which showed a value of 0.8085 which is more than 0.5 and proves that the combination is excellent and acceptable.

Table 6 – Descriptive Statistics & RCM of 18 Variables
Descriptive Statistics
Rotated Component Matrix
Variable Code
Mean
Std. Deviation
Variable Code
1
2
3
4
5
ECR4

3.72

1.093

FG2

.845

ECR6

3.94

1.225

FG4

.709

ECR7

4.09

1.135

FG5

.666

ECR8

4.01

1.112

RMO7

.593

ECR9

3.56

1.317

RMO8

.584

ECR10

3.73

1.091

RMO3

.550

STK4

4.08

1.123

ECR4

.746

STK5

4.01

1.331

STK10

.660

STK7

4.20

1.161

ECR9

.645

STK10

3.72

1.093

ECR6

.597

STK11

3.73

1.136

ECR7

.501

RMO3

3.43

1.121

ECR8

.748

RMO4

3.39

1.204

RMO4

.743

RMO7

3.27

1.064

ECR10

.634

RMO8

3.47

1.216

STK7

.833

FG2

3.19

1.192

STK4

.754

FG4

3.23

1.297

STK5

.760

FG5

3.31

1.274

STK11

.517

Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis.

Rotation Method: Varimax with Kaiser Normalization.

Rotation converged in 5 iterations.

Table 7 – Final Combined Study Factors with Cronbach Alpha Value
Factor Name
Description
Alpha Value
CSF1

Social Responsibility helps in improving Financial growth, exploring new markets and business opportunities

0.7878

CSF2

CSR offers firms to gain competitive advantage in and out of the firm

0.7572

CSF3

CSR is a sustainable business strategy towards minimum risk

0.6901

CSF4

Realizing and answering to Stakeholder’s requirement may improve firm’s productivity

0.6569

CSF5

Fair business practices strengthen trust of stakeholders

0.5052

TESTING THE UNIVERSAL APPLICABILITY OF COMBINED FACTORS
For identifying the determinants of CSR for Indian firms in holistic manners, it is important to test the universal applicability of the identified final factors. ANOVA (for more than two samples) was used to measure any significant difference in response of the segmented groups of respondents at significant value p<0.05 on following segments:

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Experience : Less than 10 Years; 10 to 20 Years; 20 and Above

Organizational Size : No. of Employees less than 5000; 5000 to 12,000; 12,000 and Above

Results on segmented ‘Total Experience’ at 95% confidence level on the five factors shows that all p values were greater than 0.05 indicating there is no significant difference between the Experience profile and different factor scores however Results on segmented ‘Organizational Size’ shows that all p values except for Combined Study Factor 2 - Competitive Advantage (0.030) were greater than 0.05 indicating there is no significant difference between the Size profile and different factor scores.

QUALITATIVE DATA ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION - SECTION E
In addition to the quantitative data, qualitative data is important to understand the perspective. The section E in the questionnaire General Organizational CSR (GCR) deals with the various questions (GCR1 to GCR6) aim to some extent, to understand the ideology, perception of respondents and different level of organizational maturity towards ethical practices. The section has used various scales as multi-answer multi choice questions, single answer-multi choice questions, and open ended questions.

As for Indian firms, CSR is not really a new course of action. While identifying the stage of best practice behaviour of the firms, the analysis showed that 38% respondents considered their firms as Leading in CSR practices and believed that their firm was the first mover of best CSR practices, setting example and standards for others firms and 35% consider themselves as CSR Follower. This reflects that overall 73% Indian firms are practising mature CSR and further it was also a sign of encouragement that firms are growing and accepting CSR principles into their business practices. Results also revealed the facts of organization under the curtain of CSR. Though 32% firms believed that their CSR activities were nothing more than but ‘giving something back to Society’, other firms believed that CSR help in gaining competitive edge (24%) and visibility in the market (22%) while only 16% believed that CSR improves Financial Performance of business. The study of Shankar and Panda (2011) also indicated that Indian firms have mentioned Profitability and Growth as important theme while associating with CSR. Firms believed that CSR is not just a charitable deed but it is a way of doing business sustainably, more ethically and to become a part of the community. It is also observed that CSR is generally used to score better on firms’ reputation and enhance brand value. Very few firms really use their core competence to benefit the community (Karmayog, 2007). According to one respondent – "our firm thinks beyond charity and feels that being responsible hits on every stakeholders and on the environment".

The analysis indicated firms are assessing their CSR performance and directions (22%) and have CSP policy as well (22%). 13% firms do indicate that they are also initiating towards assessing the impact of CSR on stakeholders. Indian firms realize that a strong CSR program is a necessity in attaining good business practices and effective growth prospects still several organizations do not possess any written policy on CSR using their core competences to benefit the society (PIC, 2007).

As companies face themselves in the challenging environment, they are more and more aware that CSR can be of indirect economic value. Firms are investing in CSR as a strategic investment into their business strategy. The results showcased that the major focus of firms remains in providing Quality and Safety to their stakeholders as they indicated that their practices in Quality or Safety (33%) were awarded and acknowledged. Only 24% firms were recognized in Environment/CSR which shows their dedication and severe efforts towards CSR practices, but this result is not satisfactory as this value needs to rise in order to improve the overall scenario. Indian companies are required to accept CSR as a strategic management decision and come out of outlook of believing CSR as philanthropy and donation.

Analysis showed Society at Large (20%) is the most important stakeholder for the firms followed by Environment (16%), Employees (15%) and Shareholders (14%), Local communities (13%), Consumers (12%) & Suppliers (11%). Respondents did believe in sustainable development that cares for the expectations of all stakeholders. Firms are jointly with other organizations supporting their all stakeholders with various causes. Firms have been intensely involved with social development initiatives in the communities surrounding their facilities in different ways. Organizations are supporting NGOs (34%) for various causes, while 28% firms own NGOs. 16% firms collaborate with Global Compact or other similar reputed organizations. According to one respondent, "their organization has a dedicated force of 250 enthusiastic employee volunteers, the company has formed a Community Development Forum which works towards mobilizing society and volunteers to make the community initiatives a success".

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CSR DETERMINANTS FOR INDIAN FIRMS
Eventually, due to the factorization, the essence of the factors underwent changes. Consequently, the factors were re-interpreted. It can be advocated on the basis of this comparison that these 5 identified factors given in table 7 will play significant role in enhancing the competitiveness, financial growth and stakeholder relationship of Indian firms through CSR. Three categories were made as per the understanding of the academic knowledge developed from the study of the long standing literature on the subject of research. The present analysis highlighted major influencing factors or keystones for Indian firms. These keystones provided thoughtful account of 18 sub-keystones which are identified as crucial factors in determining CSP level for organizations. Firms can assess the strategic business operations and strategic CSR decisions together while focusing on bottom line performance (Figure 2).

Financial Health Keystones identified are CSF1 and CSF3
Competency Keystone identified is CSF2
Stakeholder Keystones are CSF4 and CSF5
Financial Health Keystone captured two factors CSF1 and CSF3. These factors highlighted that CSR should not be seen purely as a charitable deed or unnecessary cost, withal CSR is more than this. CSR helps firms to innovate in order to satisfy its consumers, grab market opportunity and differentiate themselves from others in ethical way to become competent. Further CSR firm would be less damaged by negative events and would face less downside risk because of strong reputation. Corporations are confident that being responsible, they are better able to snatch the business expansion opportunities, refinance the capital structure, win market competition, lower the debt, have low cost production factors and cost of capital, high operating leverage and easy availability of resources for raising capital. Being responsible means being judgmental towards your deeds which may ultimately lead to good public image, employee retention and motivation, better access to capital and investor relationship and can affirm in value creation.

The Competency Keystone lies in CSF2 which carries important factors addressing the issues of corporate sustainability and competitive advantage from responsible business practices. It was reported that CSR helps in generating healthy competition with ethical foundation and steers the corporations towards Transparency and Disclosures. Importantly, it specifies significant difference among organizational profile for Competency. This is quite obvious as, for different size of firms, level of competency differs. Large firms are better able to provide great remuneration to retain expert workforce, may invest in heavy technologies, may have their own R&D centres, may spend large amount on Marketing and Advertising and may bear the huge CSR investments which ultimately all lead to competitive advantage. It can be said that CSR seems to be one of the ingredients for the recipe of Competitive Advantage.

Social Responsibility helps in improving financial growth, exploring new markets and business opportunities
CSR is a sustainable business strategy towards minimum risk
CSR offers firms to gain competitive advantage in and out the firm
Realizing and answering to Stakeholder’s requirement may improve firm’s productivity
Fair business practices strengthen trust of stakeholders
INDIAN CSR DETERMINANTS
Financial Health Keystones
Competency Keystones
Stakeholder Keystones
Figure 2 – CSR Determinants in India
The Keystone of Stakeholders holds two factors – CSF4 and CSF5. Stakeholders constitute a major element of business operation though they have separate entities. From consumer to government, from shareholder to partner and from community to environment, everyone has its role and importance for a business from the inception. Research revealed that transparency and disclosures, open communication, health, safety and welfare are not only mandatory exercises but assists firms to improve the relationship and create a healthy competition. Firms agree that feedback, consultation, dialogues with stakeholders improves their image that may bring win-win situation for stakeholders and firms. Moreover, focusing on multi dimensional construct of CSR may serve to become competent player in long run.

CONCLUSION
The significant contribution of this study is the identification of business – CSR factors which would help firms to prioritize their responsible actions as well as business commitments. Indian firms are influenced by rich Indian culture and strong roots of philanthropic activities. They were engaged till today in something giving back to society from which they have taken a lot for commencing this business. But mainstream of globalization has changed the mindset of corporate world where giving back is not enough. This mothered the concept of strategic philanthropy or Strategic CSR. Moreover growing markets and diversified industries have made new lines of business operations on the world economic landscape.

A multi-stakeholder engagement is life-sustaining to develop sustainable business practices in any system. Today business environment is more complex than earlier and it is expected that firms should regard the relationship with stakeholders at the strategic level to create value for shareholders and stakeholders. Extracted final combined factors CSF4 and CSF5 represents the importance of stakeholder relationship - responding to stakeholders through feedback, consultation, and dialogues and understanding their requirements, transparency in relations and stakeholder welfare. This approach focuses on open communicating environment, proper health, Safety and Welfare systems that may ultimately lead to improve employee productivity and efficiency. Similarly transparency and compliance support firms to win their stakeholders. This proves that CSR may positively influence relationships with their stakeholders.
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