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Title: Corporate responsibility reporting in the foodservice sector in the UK : a critical realist perspective
Author: Ringham, Kate
ISNI:       0000 0004 7430 8040
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2015
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This study is concerned with Corporate Responsibility (CR) in the UK foodservice sector. This sector contributes £4.25bn to the UK economy and operates in a complex environment with specific challenges to those undertaking CR reporting and yet to date this not been the focus of academic enquiry. In addressing the aims of the thesis the social construction of CR reporting in the UK foodservice sector is analysed through a critical evaluation of a range of reporting guidance, a purposive sampling of the views of experts operating within the foodservice sector and an evaluation of the CR reporting of a UK foodservice company: a revelatory case. The critical analysis of the CR reporting guidance revealed that a continuum of motivations for reporting existed, ranging from a normative approach to a strategic or managerial approach. There are not, however, agreed underlying principles determining report content and so it is possible for the report content to be inconsistent with the declared motivations. The study concluded that the definition of the boundary of CR reporting had been appropriated from financial reporting but that its application to the foodservice sector is problematic, allowing the manipulation of information to enable a more favourable view of CR performance to be communicated. In addition, the study found that the existing CR reporting guidance did not consider one of the key issues faced by the sector, that of diet related ill health, and so the existing CR reporting guidance was not appropriate for use by the foodservice sector. It is clear that the nature of the relationship between business and society is changing. CR reporting is seen as a means by which business can legitimise its position in society and manage its relationship with stakeholders. Both legitimacy theory and stakeholder theory have been used to explore motivations for CR reporting and there is recognition of an overlap in these theories. This study also contributes to this debate by identifying the mechanism for this overlap.
Supervisor: Hawkins, Rebecca ; Miles, Samantha Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral