Can Tobacco Companies be Socially Responsible? A Comparative Analysis of the Perceptions of Students from Institutions of Higher Learning in Malaysia and United Kingdom

Chin, Leng See (2006) Can Tobacco Companies be Socially Responsible? A Comparative Analysis of the Perceptions of Students from Institutions of Higher Learning in Malaysia and United Kingdom. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This study examined the perceptions of students from institutions of higher learning in Malaysia and United Kingdom on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) issues in the tobacco industry. A comparison of the perception was also conducted to determine whether there is a difference in perception between these two groups of respondents.

The key CSR issues of tobacco industry that were examined in this study are as follows:-

How well do tobacco companies fulfill their responsibilities to society?

Are tobacco companies sincere in their Corporate Social Initiatives (CSI)?

Can tobacco companies be socially responsible?

Should social issues or economic issues be more important for tobacco companies?

A web-based survey was launched to collect primary data from the targeted population which is students from Universities and Colleges in Malaysia and the United Kingdom (U.K.) The main type of data collection instrument used is the Internet questionnaire. The questionnaire consists of three modules. All the questions in Module 1 and 3 were adapted from the 2003 CSR questionnaire designed by GlobeScan Incorporated and the 2004 Public Perception of CSR Questionnaire designed by Social Indicator. Module 2 had a combination of questions that were adapted from these two sources just mentioned and questions that were created by the researcher of this study based on a search conducted on the websites of Philip Morris, British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco. The questions that were originally created by the researcher of this study are questions pertaining to the corporate social initiatives of tobacco companies. The graphical and statistical functions of Microsoft Excel 2003 were used to analyze the data. The key finding from this study revealed that students from institution of higher learning in Malaysia and U.K. have the perception that tobacco companies can be socially responsible. However, both groups of respondents rated tobacco companies as below average in terms of their fulfillment of responsibilities to society. In addition to this, they also strongly believe that tobacco companies are not sincere in four of the corporate social initiatives which are classified under corporate social marketing. Both groups of respondents had an indifferent attitude towards the other two corporate social initiatives which are classified under socially responsible business practices. Finally the last CSR issue on tobacco industry that was examined revealed that both groups of respondents indicated that social issues should be more important than economic issues for tobacco companies. Despite the fact that both groups of respondents are from different cultural background, they did not differ in their perceptions on all the four CSR issues on tobacco industry that were examined in this study. This study has shown that the practice of corporate social initiatives requires proper evaluation of the type of corporate social initiative to be involved in. This is because some corporate social initiative may not be a good match for the company. For example the Youth Smoking Prevention Programme, a corporate social marketing initiative is not suitable for tobacco companies as it generates more criticism and scepticism than adding value to their CSR efforts. The findings from this study have also given a new perspective to the issue of whether tobacco companies can be socially responsible. The literature review indicated that majority of the stakeholders believe that tobacco companies cannot be socially responsible but this research reveals.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2010 03:33
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2016 13:44
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/24261

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