Local public corporate responsibility: A scale development and validation

AuthorMaríaDolores Abellan-Gimenez,JoaquinLonginos Marín-Rives,Juandiego Paredes-Gazquez
Published date01 April 2023
Date01 April 2023
Subject MatterArticles
Local public corporate
responsibility: A scale
development and
ıaDolores Abellan-Gimenez
University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain
JoaquinLonginos Mar
University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain
Juandiego Paredes-Gazquez
Universidad Nacional de Educacion a Distancia, Madrid, Spain
The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has a long tradition in business,
but it is relatively new in public administration. Recently, there has been general con-
sensus that there is a need to promote CSR in public administrations so as to improve
transparency, governance, and the efficient allocation of public resources. We develop a
new scale for measuring local public corporate responsibility (LPCR) based on CSR
international standards and inputs from experts and academics, who evaluate whether
the selected indicators are relevant, useful, adequate and practical for measuring LPCR.
We test the tool empirically by analysing the CSR practices of 24 municipal councils in a
Spanish territory. The result is a scale that allows us to determine the extent to which
the municipal councils are socially responsible. This tool gives citizens access to infor-
mation about CSR in their municipal councils and enables the identification of areas
where municipal councils face challenges and require improvement.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR), local public corporate responsibility (LPCR),
public administration, municipal councils
Corresponding author:
Juandiego Paredes-Gazquez, Universidad Nacional de Educacion a Distancia, F. Econ
omicas, Paseo Senda del
Rey 11, Madrid 28040, Spain.
Email: juandiegoparedes@cee.uned.es
Public Policy and Administration
!The Author(s) 2021
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/0952076720980515
2023, Vol. 38(2) 209–232
210 Public Policy and Administration 38(2)
The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has a long tradition in the
business world (Moura-Leite and Padget, 2011; Rodr
´ndez, 2007).
Interest in CSR has grown since the early 21st century, as seen in the special atten-
tion paid to CSR by the European Union, which has developed a European Strategy
for it (European Commission, 2011). In this strategy, CSR is defined as ‘the respon-
sibility of enterprises for their impacts on society’. The strategic approach adopted
by the European Union remarks the benefits of CSR, which encompasses cost
savings, access to capital, customer relationships, human resource management,
and innovation capacity (Aguinis and Glavas, 2012).
CSR has served as a seed for many other closely related notions, such as uni-
versity social responsibility, educational social responsibility, and environmental
responsibility (Ahmad and Crowther, 2013; Fenwick, 2009; Garde-Sa
´nchez et al.,
2013; Uecker-Mercado and Walker, 2012). One of them is CSR in the public
sector. As companies, governments are facing growing demands to make commit-
ments to sustainable development, good governance practices, and information
transparency (Bingham et al., 2005; Steurer, 2010). An example of these demands
is the Sustainable Development Goals, a multilateral initiative promoted by the
UN for companies, governments and civil society that aims to achieve sustainable
development in its three dimensions – economic, social and environmental (United
Nations, 2015).
These demands are especially relevant in the local arena, given the ability of
municipal councils to ascertain and address the needs of the people they govern
and the economic, social, and environmental impacts of the exercise of governance
(Marcuccio and Steccolini, 2009; Piotrowski and Van Ryzin, 2007).
In this context, the concept of local public corporate responsibility (LPCR)
emerges LPCR, which is being adopted by increasing numbers of municipal coun-
cils, is useful for legitimising the actions local corporationstake on behalf of citizens.
Numerous studies have sought to measure CSR and transparency at the national
(Chapple and Moon, 2005; Gjølberg, 2009; Greiling et al., 2015), regional (Alcaraz-
Quiles et al., 2014; Lodhiaet al., 2012), and local levels (Navarro-Galera et al., 2018;
Niemann and Hoppe , 2018; Tejedo-Romero an d Esteves Araujo, 2018a).
Nevertheless, a homogeneous standard for measuring LPCR has yet to be devel-
oped. Such a standard is essential for comparing responsibilityperformance between
administrations or tracking the evolution of social responsibility over time.
This study develops a scale for measuring LPCR in order to determine its status
on municipal councils. This scale is constructed using a methodology based on
studies on CSR measurement (O’Connor and Spangenberg, 2007; Ruf et al., 1998).
The scale is empirically tested on 24 municipal councils in a Spanish territory, the
region of Murcia.
The study creates the scale by first identifying the initiatives for measuring and
standardising CSR activities most significant at the international level and then
selecting the indicators closely linked to LPCR from among them.

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