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Corporate social responsibility. A critical case study in the UK electricity industry

Skritsovali, Konstantina (2015) Corporate social responsibility. A critical case study in the UK electricity industry. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

The aim of this thesis is to gain an in depth understanding of the CSR discourses that take place between organizational and stakeholder actors in the UK electricity industry. Despite the controversial nature of the industry and the constantly increasing pressures that emerge from a dynamic group of stakeholders to integrate CSR actions across the organization, there is a paucity of empirical research that examines how actors attribute meaning to CSR. Acknowledging the variety of interpretations being attributed to the concept, this research seeks to investigate how the order of CSR discourse practice supports the creation of shared value between organizational and stakeholder actors. This thesis puts emphasis on the dichotomy of CSR discourses between electricity Distribution Network Operator and their stakeholders. First, the study concentrates on how organizational actors produce CSR. Second, it explores how stakeholders make sense of and interpret CSR discourses. Third, it looks to shed light on the negotiations and the relations of power that dominate the distribution and consumption of CSR. In doing so, this research employed multiple tools to capture data and embraced Fairclough’s Critical Discourse Analysis approach to understand the socio-political, economic and cultural dimensions that shape CSR as a meaningful reality. This research contributes to the academic literature and CSR practice by exploring an area which was previously under-investigated. It contributes to the literature by visiting, examining the applicability of and updating Porter & Kramer’s (2002) framework of the convergence of interests by reflecting on organizational and stakeholder perceptions. Accordingly, the updated framework aims to serve as a tool for CSR decision-makers in the UK electricity industry when planning their CSR stakeholder engagement activities and, presents the original contribution to practice this ideographic research project makes.

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