Management and Measurement of CSR-Performance: The CSR-Evaluator

A few years ago, LEIZ researchers developed a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Evaluation and Management Tool (CSR Evaluator) in order to examine the requirements and challenges of CSR measurement in business. In 2016, LEIZ conducted a further evaluation of the tool’s performance and its practical efficiency and effectiveness. Using topical measurement concepts for CSR & Shared Value, this evaluation placed a special emphasis on greater consideration of stakeholder interests in the economic decision-making processes.

The CSR Evaluator itself focusses on the recording and analysis of CSR investments for five stakeholder groups: employees, partners, customers, society at large, and shareholders. For the survey testing the CSR-Evaluation and Management Tool and its contributions to business requirements, 51 companies – SMEs as well as multinationals operating in different economic sectors – participated in the study. Companies applied and/or commented on the instrument while also taking part in workshops conducted by the project team. In the follow-up stage, a subsequent study was designed to capture and verify resulting findings.

The results of the empirical study indicate that data availability is one of the fundamental challenges of managing and measuring CSR. Collecting CSR-related monetary data is difficult for companies because of, inter alia, delimitation problems and the complexity of the organizational structure. This calls for innovative management IT systems addressing delimitation problems in combination with a systematic integration of existing procedures of management accounting.

Aside from data availability as one challenge of managing and measuring CSR, empirical findings indicate that the strategic advancement of CSR in companies is subject to a continuous CSR learning process. This process informs individual and organizational decision-making in order to integrate stakeholder-specific CSR activities (Stakeholder CSR) into core business operations (Core Business CSR). But how exactly can the difference between Stakeholder CSR and Core Business CSR be captured? In our research, we propose to devise an individual and organizational learning process based on the assumption that “shared value creation” (according to M. Porter / M. Kramer) is the result of a poly-dimensional management effort that links the systematic governance of stakeholder resources to the core operations of businesses. The evaluation study takes up this conceptual distinction and discusses the creation of shared value against the backdrop of both approaches: a stakeholder- oriented theory of the firm as well as Michael Porters generic core business concepts of strategy management.

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