Personal values, organisational values, CSR and corporate reputation: a case study comparing Chinese and UK higher education sector

Li, S., 2022. Personal values, organisational values, CSR and corporate reputation: a case study comparing Chinese and UK higher education sector. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Since Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is increasingly becoming a significant antecedent or indicator of university ranking systems, there is a need to explore the relationship between CSR and university reputation. To the best of the author's knowledge, this thesis is the first research of its kind to investigate the CSR-CR nexus through the lens of "values" (both human and corporate), using both UK and China former polytechnic universities as a comparative context. In this research, key insights were derived from both Top Managers (TMs – representing "the University") and Middle Managers' (MMs) CSR-related values priorities and their influence on Corporate Reputation (CR).

This thesis aims to gain insight into values congruence concerning TM, MMs and Other Stakeholders (general staff, students and alumni), and how this relates to reputational congruence concerning TMs' and MMs' expectations and Other Stakeholders' perceptions, when CSR initiatives are implemented in the institutions concerned.

The pragmatist paradigm, the case study approach and mixed methods (both qualitative and quantitative) were adopted for this research, which deployed abductive reasoning for two case studies. The UK case study employed the following sources of data: University documentation; interviews with TMs and MMs; and surveys with MMs, general staff, students and alumni. The Chinese case collected data from University documentation; interviews with MMs; and surveys with MMs and students. Data from both cases was analysed using template, thematic, and SPSS analysis.

The Chinese findings suggested a linkage between values congruence ('security' and ‘benevolence’) and reputation congruence (product and service) concerning CSR implementation. Further, the UK findings suggested four linkages between Schwartz values that were congruent for the University and MMs, and Reptrak reputation dimensions that were congruent for general staff, students and alumni: a) 'stimulation', 'hedonism' and 'self-direction' - innovation, and products and services; b) 'power' and 'self-direction' - leadership and governance; c) 'benevolence' and 'achievement' - performance; and d) 'benevolence' and 'universalism' - citizenship. Additionally, both cases highlighted the impact of influencing factors (CSR interpretation, CSR approach, managerial discretion, leadership style, organisational culture(s), CSR compatibility within departments and national institutional systems) on CSR implementation; subsequently and potentially affecting the above-mentioned linkages.

This study contributes to the literature by extending the concepts of CSR and CR to the HE sector, using values theory, reputation theory and stakeholder theory. It also makes a methodological contribution, as it deploys a comparative case study of both UK and Chinese cases using mixed methods. Further, it draws the attention of top management to the impact of CSR values on CR. By enhancing top management's awareness of CSR values, they might be encouraged to take steps to recruit people with appropriate values for positions of operational authority, to enhance departmental CSR implementation and to provide training opportunities to help ensure managers’ and employees' values are directed accordingly.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Li, S.
Date: April 2022
Rights: The copyright in this work is held by the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the author.
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 19 Oct 2022 14:13
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2022 14:13

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