BUSINESS RESEARCH proposal form Essay Example

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Research Paper Proposal Form

The Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) on firm performance: A case study of Australia

Research Aim:

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has increasingly become a significant issue in Australia, as well as internationally. The aim of this research is to comprehend the development of CSR in Australia, as well as measuring the effects CSR has on firm performance. Also, it aims at investigating what CSR efforts businesses have adopted, as well as measuring their effects on the performance of firms.

Research Objectives, Research Questions or Hypothesis:

Research Objectives

  • Investigating what characterizes Australian corporations that are more likely to issue or publish annual or quarterly CSR reports.

  • To explain the relationship that exists between the CSR activities and the firm performance.

  • Analyzing the effectiveness of the CSR initiatives.

Research Questions

  • What are the characteristics of those firms that publish CSR reports?

  • Is there are relationship between firm performance and CSR initiatives, if so, what is it?

  • What is the effectiveness of CSR initiatives


The following hypotheses have been adopted for this research:

  • There is a positive relationship between the CSR initiatives and corporate performance.

  • After an initiative is adopted, it will take time before the company reaps the benefits.

  • After an initiative is adopted, the benefits will be evident immediately.


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is synonymous with corporate citizenship. According to Steurer et al. (2005), CSR can be defined as “a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis.” On the other hand, Kleine and Hauff (2009) defined CSR as a method via which a corporation voluntarily addresses multiple and dynamic bottom-line issues via the development of a business wide infrastructure, and thereby improving the quality of life in the local community, workplace, as well as the society at large. CSR initiatives are forge upon the stakeholder and legitimacy theory. In essence, citing from the legitimacy theory, the practices have to be legitimate and permissive from the society. They should encompass something that the community recognizes as positive. In addition, considering the stakeholder theory, the CSR activities should encompass the various stakeholders, including customers, internal and external stakeholders, as well as the community upon which the organization operates.

CSR reporting is crucial for businesses as it helps convey CSR initiatives adopted by an organization to the society and its stakeholders. As Craib and PwC assert, CSR reporting has emerged to be one of the critical factors that promote a corporate’s endurance transparency, and above all credibility. These are factors that every customer admires for business, and promotes customer loyalty and satisfaction Edmans (2012). Ideally, CSR information enables the stakeholders to differentiate socially responsible organizations from those which are irresponsible (Vurro and Perrini, 2011).

It is vital to point out that CSR awareness is quite low, specifically for small businesses, in the business community and the general public (Pomering and Dolnicar, 2007). For this reason, CSR reporting, as it is an important aspect for businesses, needs to be covered within this research. Numerous studies have concentrated on the research about CSR and firm performance, and most of them have had varied results and thereby amounting to inconclusiveness in the issue. For instance, Elliott et al. (2013) assert that there is a negative correlation between firm performance and CSR initiatives with a low advertising and does not necessarily lead to increased profitability. For this reason, it is important to analyze the effectiveness of CSR programs in achieving an increased firm performance, particularly in the Australian context.

Research Methodology.

This research will mainly adopt a qualitative study design. In essence, this research will capitalize on case studies and critical studies. In accordance with Merriam (2009), the case study approach used in qualitative research entails controlling the variables that of interest to the researcher. In this case, CSR initiatives will be the dependent variables and firm performance will be the independent variables. Various initiatives will be scrutinized to gauge whether they will lead to an increased firm performance, and thus, this research will rely on evidence, which will originate from interviews, observation, and documents. A total of at least 50 resources will be used.

Critical study, as McMillan (2012) points out, entails gathering qualitative data by following an iterative approach that refines the research question, while theoretically sampling from the available literature the various categorizations. As such, this method will appraise the quality of materials as well as critically analyzing their contribution to theory development.

Research Plan:

The researcher will refine the research questions and develop synonymous questions so that searching the literature becomes easy. In turn, accumulating enough literature on the firm performance and CSR initiatives is paramount for this qualitative study. However, the materials should be rich in terms of content and correlation to the topic, and thus, quality will not be compromised. The materials will be sourced from trade journals from the university library. The materials will be used to answer the research questions and test the hypotheses. The detailed plan is presented below:

Gathering materials based on quality of the content.

Writing introduction section. Analysis of the information.

Write up of Literature Review and methodology.

Wring the recommendations and Conclusion.

Editing, proofreading, and submission.



Craib Design and Communications and PricewaterhouseCooper LLC. (2010). CSR Trends 2010

Elliott, W.B., Jackson, K.E., Peecher, M.E. and White, B.J., 2013. The unintended effect of corporate social responsibility performance on investors’ estimates of fundamental value. The Accounting Review89(1), pp.275-302.

Edmans, A., 2012. The link between job satisfaction and firm value, with implications for corporate social responsibility. The Academy of Management Perspectives26(4), pp.1-19.

Kleine, A., Hauff, M., 2009. Sustainability-driven implementation of corporate social responsibility: application of the integrative sustainability triangle. Journal of Business Ethics 85 (3), pp517-533

Pomering, A. and Dolnicar, S., 2007, December. Consumer response to corporate social responsibility initiatives: An investigation of two necessary awareness states. In Conference Proceedings, ANZMAC, University of Otago.

McMillan, J.H., 1996. Educational research: Fundamentals for the consumer. HarperCollins College Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022; World Wide Web: http://www.

Merriam, S.B., 2009. Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation: Revised and expanded from qualitative research and case study applications in education. San Franscisco: Jossey-Bass.

Steurer, R., Langer, M.E., Konrad, A., Martinuzzi, A., 2005. Corporations, stakeholders and sustainable development: a theoretical exploration of business society relations. Journal of Business Ethics 61 (3), pp263-281

Vurro, C. and Perrini, F., 2011. Making the most of corporate social responsibility reporting: Disclosure structure and its impact on performance.Corporate Governance: The international journal of business in society,11(4), pp.459-474.