Recently, lots of international organizations invested more and more on social responsibility and their advocacy has aroused increasing public attention. When enterprises violate corporate social responsibility, it affects not only company operations directly but also the development of the society indirectly. The United Nations, Greenpeace and other worldwide non-profit organizations closely watch some enterprises to prevent them from making undue profits at the stake of stakeholders’ interests. Scholars also claim that integrating social responsibility and business strategies can become a competitive advantage. In other words, the academic community and enterprises have already included social responsibility in their agenda. However, there is still a gap between perceived stakeholder importance held by enterprises and their actual social responsibility practices. Previous studies provided neither specific advice for implementing corporate responsibility practice (CRP), nor a consensus regarding the relationship between organizational performance and CRP.
In responding to the call for CRP, addressed in the “Academy of Management Review” CRP special issue in July 2007, this study attempts to investigate the relationship among perceived stakeholder importance, actual CRP and organizational performance. Particularly, we would like to investigate whether the actual corporate responsibility practice (CRP) plays a mediating role between perceived stakeholder importance and organizational performance.
This study conducts a questionnaire survey and successfully collects data from 162 enterprises with more than 50 employees in Taiwan. Based on stakeholder theory and resource-based views, we found that the perceived importance of the primary and secondary stakeholders have positive influence on customer-, employee-, investor-, supplier-, communities- and environment-oriented CRP. Moreover, customer-, employee-, and supplier-oriented CRP are significant predictors of organizational performance. In addition, these three CRP fully mediate the relationship between the perceived stakeholder importance and the organizational performance.
Research findings clearly indicate that perceived stakeholder importance is not sufficient; the concept needs to be transferred to actual CRP in order to reap the final organizational performance. Customer-, employee- and supplieroriented CRP are of particular importance as these stakeholders may continuously supply company with necessary resources when they feel they are respected. Therefore, enterprises need to consider CRP seriously in order to create a win-win situation for a lasting organizational performance.