NAMA Members' Perceptions of Corporate Social Responsibility



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As corporate social responsibility (CSR) becomes increasingly important within organizations, it is imperative that professionals define their role in setting the CSR agenda. Through a descriptive survey, this study investigated National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) members' perceptions of their roles in CSR and acceptable practices for releasing data about an organization, and whether NAMA members' demographic characteristics were related to perceptions of CSR. The greatest number of respondents reported that they were between 40 and 59 years of age, 54.5 percent were female, and 69.7 percent worked for a corporation or public relations agency. Public relations serves to bring private and public entities into harmony and should assume their role in CSR. NAMA members were neutral that the agricultural communications industry has a clear code of ethics and standards of performance. NAMA members agreed that developing programs that are good for society is both good for business and good citizenship, and that public relations professionals should be deeply involved in helping management define an organization's social role. A significant difference did exist between gender and the following statements: management must act socially responsible, regardless of how those actions influence profit, and organizations must try to calculate the social impacts of major decisions before implementing policies or taking action. No significant difference was found based on whether respondents' current position involves public relations and six statements related to perceptions of CSR.

A majority of respondents reported working for an organization that recruited and hired employees who had an agricultural communications major, and had worked with someone who had an agricultural communications major, but were unsure of their preparation, management skills, and strategic thinking skills. Agricultural communications programs should take this perception into account and incorporate these three issues into their curriculum.

No research was found that discussed CSR and public relations in the agriculture industry. With this study, agricultural public relations practitioners might see their role in CSR and the need for a clear code of ethics to unify the industry. This study creates a foundation for additional studies of agricultural public relations professionals, delving deeper into more specific roles related to CSR.