Abstract Managers in integrated supply chains have looked beyond traditional boundaries to interfirm relationships to manage risk and advance corporate social responsibility (CSR) as consumers have shown concern with environment and societal issues. Purchasing social responsibility (PSR) has become a means of advancing CSR strategies. The problem is that it is not known if sustainability reporting is a true reflection of socially responsible purchasing designed to satisfy stakeholder demand. The purpose of this quantitative study was to compare, analyze, and evaluate the dimensions of PSR based on whether a firm identified with voluntary public sustainability reporting.
After a pilot study, research commenced with distribution of the Purchasing Social Responsibility Questionnaire (PSRQ). Seventy-eight participants represented a random sample of purchasing managers from North American publicly held firms. Respondents indicated identification with voluntary public sustainability reporting. Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) was conducted to analyze differences in PSR engagement in diversity, environment, human rights, philanthropy/community, and safety. The overall MANOVA was not significant, F(5, 72) = 1.38, p = .240. Some assumptions of MANOVA were not confirmed and nonparametric Mann-Whitney tests were performed to supplement. The results were not significant for PSRQ Diversity scores, z = -1.68, p = .092, PSRQ Environmental scores, z = -1.06, p = .291, PSRQ Human Rights scores, z = -.08, p = .939, PSRQ Philanthropy/Community scores, z = -.32, p = .749, or PSRQ Safety scores, z = -1.16, p = .245. Findings confirmed results from MANOVA that the two groups did not differ on any of the five dependent PSR variables.
Evaluating PSR dimensions in firms identified with sustainability addressed the application of stakeholder theory and provided insight into elements that distinguish strategic buyer-supplier relationships within integrated supply chains. Future research is needed into PSR alignment and standards development of sustainability reporting by industries, sectors, business models, and geographies. This research adds to knowledge of the integration of socially and environmentally responsible actions into corporate strategy and revealed that firms without public reporting of sustainable activities have imitated those that do, and sustainable initiatives have been adopted as normal strategic imperatives for business success.
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