The purpose of this paper is to understand the perception of the bankers towards an integrated approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in a strategic way of achieving sustainable growth of the banking sector. The paper additionally provides insights into different CSR initiatives and their implementation process in the context of scheduled commercial banks (SCB) of India.Design/methodology/approachThe study is exploratory and endorses the qualitative approach of primary research methodology by adopting a non-random stratified sampling method. The localist approach of the face-to-face interview has been applied to collect the data from 26 elite class respondents from 13 SCBs. The interview method was semi-structured and open-ended. The conformity, trustworthiness, credibility, transferability, dependability test of the study have ensured the quality of the data.FindingsThe study reveals that the bankers perceive CSR as a moral obligation for the benefit of the society, beyond the regular banking operations. Further, the study comprehends that the CSR initiatives play a vital role in establishing the bank's image, brand and reputation, as well as, building a strong bond of trust among the employees and the bank management. Besides, CSR activities facilitate to cultivate a better culture by improvising in the quality of customer service for achieving competitive advantages.Research limitations/implicationsThe findings of the study represent a significant contribution to CSR theory from the interface of banking and society. Significantly, the results confirm that CSR initiatives play a vital role in building trust and minimise the gap between the employees and the management of the bank. The banks can increase its acceptance in the society and achieve competitive advantage by integrating CSR objectives with the business objectives to strengthen the corporate personality and brand.Practical implicationsThe study will help practitioners to develop the social identity of their firm to achieve competitive advantages in long-run. The bankers can channelise their limited resources while planning, designing and the implementation of different CSR activities with the overall goal of the bank in a cost-effective way. The study is confined only to public and private SCBs and limited to the geographical scope of one state in India. Therefore, further exploration may be carried out by considering other banks and geographic regions in India and different cross-cultural settings.Originality/valueThe originality of the study lies with the in-depth analysis and quality check of the data. The results can contribute significant value to the qualitative method of conducting research.
Social Responsibility Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 17, 2020
Keywords: Banking; Perception; Stakeholder; Corporate social responsibility; Reputation; Trustworthiness; Corporate brand
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