14 SES 05 B, Schooling and Social Responsibility – Family, School , Corporate Relationships
In many countries, finance of education heavily relies on public monies. Economic pressures force governments and individual educational organizations to generate monies since there is always a need for supplements to capital and operating expenses and special activities (Jenkins & Glass, 1999). In Turkey, education is defined as one of the basic public services and the central government is given the responsibility of developing and delivering education to every segment of the society. Although the state tries to ‘share’ this basic public service with some private agents, the share of private agents remains very small, a fact which makes education de facto a public enterprise. However, the magnitude of demand for public education causes a two-fold problem. First, public funds remain very small in the face of the magnitude of the demand. Second, the allocated monies are spent on non-investment items, which do not contribute to capacity building. Therefore, corporate contributions of firms have emerged as one of the items in financing public education.
Originally, the concept of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) was introduced to convey the meaning that firms are responsible for internalizing the externality caused by their actions. According to Epstein (1987), CSR refers to the total performance of the firm, which is “normatively correct” according to stakeholders of the firm. Considering this brief description of CSR, the question of “why business firms involve in CSR actions, and consequently contributes to education” have received scholarly interest recently. Several scholars have advanced competing theories to answer this question. Miller and Gutrie (2007) indicated that several structural characteristics, which are closely related to the benefits of stakeholders (e.g., organizational size, profit levels) are believed to determine factors in firms’ giving programs. Galaskiewicz (1997) advanced a more comprehensive typology with three basic perspectives in order to explain the complex drivers behind firms’ discretionary behaviors. First, resource dependency theory suggests that corporate contributions primarily serve communicating a favorable corporate image in the eyes of those on whom firms depend (Haley, 1991) or stakeholders in general (Dentchev, 2005). The second perspective on the drivers behind corporate contributions in Galaskiewicz’s (1997) typology is the agency theory, which calls to pay close attention to individual managers’ ethical considerations. A third perspective in Galaskiewicz’s (1997) typology is the institutional theory. According to this perspective, discretionary actions of the firm are driven by normative processes because the firm and its key constituencies (i.e., managers, directors, and employees) are embedded in social systems that exercise considerable social pressure on them to give.
Considering this brief conceptual discussion on CSR, this study aims to investigate the drivers of corporate contributions to the finance of public education in Turkey. It is believed that documenting these drivers will contribute to theory and practice. First, the study will contribute to understand the operating motivations behind the firms’ discretionary responsibilities. More importantly, this will be done in the context of a developing economy. Therefore, the findings are likely to contribute to approach corporate contributions more strategically both for the donors and receivers.
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