Evaluating the Potential Effectiveness of Codes: The Statement Strength Evaluation Method (SSME)
Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, Vol. 14, pp. 1-15, 2007
15 Pages Posted: 8 May 2008
The increasing popularity and use of codes requires a technique for being able to distinguish how different codes compare to each other and to stakeholder demands for increased social, environmental and economic responsibility of business. This paper presents the statement strength evaluation method (SSEM), which provides organizations with the ability to make comparisons between codes against a backdrop of stakeholder expectations. The SSEM evaluates six critical characteristics for each statement made in the code relating to each appropriate criterion. The criteria were developed through synthesis of a vast range of stakeholder concerns, resulting in 597 unique but overlapping criteria. This level of detail has been retained to ensure accurate comparison between different code types and ranges of content depending on varied contexts such as industry and operating locations (e.g. domestic versus international).
A test of the SSEM using 13 third party codes revealed strengths and weaknesses of codes based on structure, and highlighted certain codes as potentially more effective in helping business to govern their CSR objectives.
Keywords: corporate social responsibility, governance, evaluation, codes, method, definition, tool
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