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«Abstract This paper revisits the debate on the units of Content Analysis (CA) for the purposes of Corporate Social Reporting (CSR) research and also ...»

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data display matrices could be easily developed; further, since all the coded segments by a specific code can be retrieved, this means that more detailed and thorough coding decision rules can also be created through careful reviews; and perhaps more importantly, the program instantly measures the volume of textual information when the coding takes space, and it, therefore, assists in creating a sound basis for a mixed CA study, an approach generally absent from CSR research but which is theoretically sound.

- 33 Appendix A (I). The substantive and symbolic strategies employed in the Savage et al. (2000) study Substantive strategies

1. Role performance. This is perceived by Savage et al. as “the most obvious attempt at legitimation” (p. 48) and is where the organisation adapts its goals, methods or operation, and/or its output to conform to the performance expectations of the members of society on whom it depends for critical resources (Dowling & Pfeffer, 1975). These organisations would thus be expected to disclose more frequently quantitative and also at times negative CSD.

2. Coercive isomorphism. This is the basic tenet of institutional theory.

Organisations employ substantive legitimation to become isomorphic with their cultural environment, by employing substantive strategies or by shifting from symbolic strategies to substantive over time.

3. Altering socially institutionalised practices. Organisations could attempt, through communication, to alter the societal definition of legitimacy, so that

the amended definition reflects the organisation‟s activities (Lindblom, 1994):

the most difficult strategy to successfully implement (Savage et al., 2000).

Symbolic strategies

4. Espousing socially acceptable goals. Organisations may do so while pursuing less acceptable ones. They may e.g. disclose ethical policies but fail to implement procedure to monitor compliance.

5. Denial and Concealment. Organisations may do so for activities that may undermine legitimacy (see e.g. Sutton and Calahan, 1987).

6. Identification with symbols, values or institutions. The organisation could attempt to become identified with symbols, values or institutions with a strong established base of social legitimacy (Dowling and Pfeffer, 1975; Lindblom, 1994).

7. Offering accounts. Organisations may offer explanations, including excuses and justifications or putting the blame to someone else (Paterson and

- 34 Woodward, 2006). This is still an attempt to shape perceptions of the organisation (O‟Donovan, 2002).

8. Offering apologies. By apologising, organisations may show some expression of remorse for a negative event (Savage et al., 2000).

9. Ceremonial conformity. Highly visible and salient practices that are consistent with social expectations may be adopted, while leaving the formal structure of the organisation intact. E.g. organisations may form a task force to study the environmental impacts of activities; this may provide the appearance of action without the substance (ibid.).

10. Admission of guilt. Organisations may acknowledge partial responsibility to create the impression and/or reality of honesty. Should be followed by increased negative CSD.

11. Misrepresentation or open to misinterpretation. The organisation may intentionally or unintentionally give a false impression or account or supply ambiguous information that could be misleading or open to misinterpretation (ibid.)

12. Avoiding, trivialising or skirting around the issue. The organisation may offer a partial explanation, trivialise of fail to directly address an issue. The information may not be clearly conveyed or may simply be implied (ibid., O‟Donovan, 2002) Appendix A (II). The substantive and symbolic strategies employed in the BA study Substantive strategies

1. Role performance [act as expected]: (Savage et al. strategy 1)

2. Coercive isomorphism [act as everybody does]: (strategy 2)

3. Altering socially institutionalised practices [Change what is expected]:

(strategy 3) Symbolic strategies [show acting as expected]

4. Espousing goals and symbols [change (improve) overall image]: (strategies 4, 6 and 9)

- 35 Denial, concealment/avoidance and trivialisation of potential detrimental issues [downgrade detrimental activities]: (strategies 5, 11 and 12)

6. Offering accounts and apologies [downgrade organisational role towards detrimental activities]: (strategies 7, 8 and 10)

–  –  –

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