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Ó Springer 2009

Journal of Business Ethics (2010) 91:485–500
DOI 10.1007/s10551-009-0095-z

The Influence of Cultural Values
on Perceptions of Corporate Social
Responsibility: Application of Hofstede’s
Dimensions to Korean Public Relations
Practitioners

ABSTRACT. This study explores the relationship
between Hofstede’s cultural dimensions and public relations practitioners’ perceptions of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in South Korea. The survey on Korean
public relations practitioners revealed that, although Hofstede’s dimensions significantly affect public relations
practitioners’ perceptions of CSR, social traditionalism
values had more explanatory power than cultural dimensions in explaining CSR attitudes. The results suggest that
practitioners’ fundamental ideas about the corporation’s
role in society seem to be more important than their
cultural values to understand public relations practitioners’
CSR attitudes in Korea.
KEY WORDS: corporate social responsibility, public
relations, Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, social traditionalism values, South Korea

Introduction
In this era of global competition, most global corporations are conducting various social responsibility
programs both domestically and internationally as
the public’s expectations and activist groups’ pressure
for social legitimacy become stronger than ever
before. Pohl (2006) explained that corporate social
responsibility (CSR) is not content in and of itself,
but instead represents the broad spectrum of a
company’s corporate culture. The values, beliefs,
attitudes, and norms of a company play a pivotal role
in conducting CSR.
There have been many studies investigating CSR
in public relations (e.g., Boynton, 2002; Clark,

Yungwook Kim
Soo-Yeon Kim

2000; Esrock and Leichty, 1998; Kim and Reber,
2008). Public responsibility is understood as a basic
concept of, and is sometimes synonymous with,
public relations. Grunig and Hunt (1984) noted that
‘‘public, or social, responsibility has become a major
reason for an organization to have a public relations
function’’ (p. 48). Frederick (2006) addressed the
stakeholder approach as one of the new paradigms used
to theorize: ‘‘CSR’s dominant paradigm – the stakeholder concept – has run its course and now produces
few new or theoretically significant insights’’ (p. 261).
Corporate citizenship is another significant term
reflecting corporations’ socially responsible role, and
Davenport’s (2000) rule of good corporate citizenship
also emphasized stakeholder commitment as one criterion. Mutually beneficial relationships between the
various stakeholders and the clients of public relations
are the ultimate goal in public relations. CSR can be
understood as one of the fundamental strategies of
public relations for attaining a mutually beneficial
relationship between business and society.
Kim and Reber (2008) stated that public relations
practitioners’ roles in CSR vary from none to significant, depending on organizations’ and individual
practitioners’ values. The significant influence of
values in CSR means that CSR can vary depending
on different cultures and countries. For example,
Boardman and Kato (2003) investigated a traditional
Japanese concept, Kyosei, to understand culturally
specific CSR. As another example, culture and
religion are indistinguishable in the Middle East
CSR model (Culture and Religion Vital to Middle
East CSR model, 2007). However, little is known

agreed with Hofstede and rejected McSweeney’s criticism. 2003. Hofstede’s cultural values Hofstede’s cultural dimensions have been used widely to understand business practices (e. Public relations is in charge of stakeholder management for the success of organizations. 2006). for example. In international public relations. p. which emphasize getting feedback from the public. Vasquez and Taylor approached Grunig’s public relations models using Hofstede’s cultural typology in the USA. as well as collectivism and femininity with the two-way models. 53).486 Yungwook Kim and Soo-Yeon Kim about how public relations practitioners perceive. 1992. People from different cultures and nations must have different programs and different perceptions of the roles corporations play in terms of social responsibility. Vasquez and Taylor... two-way asymmetric. Wu et al. p. where the most dominant public relations practice is known as media relations (Jo and Kim. 1984. 1999).. Williamson (2002). This study attempted to fill the gap in the literature regarding the cultural elements that influence public relations practitioners’ perceptions of social responsibility. and masculine cultural characteristics of Japan tended to place one top person as the decisive leader and spokesperson in crisis situations. Sriramesh and White. 2003). Su.g. Perceived ethical sensitivity and actual ethical practices are closely related (Vitell et al. there have been criticisms of Hofstede’s cultural studies. this significantly tied together culture and public relations models. from sender to receiver. An often-cited definition of public relations is ‘‘the management function that identifies. 2002. acknowledging the importance of the public. Their study found a strong relationship between power distance and the oneway models. Social responsibility involves the ethics held in common. US culture did not expect a public apology due to litigation concerns. combined with . and it directly relates to the significant role of practitioners in helping organizations to be more socially responsible. Rhee. high uncertainty avoidance. public information. (2001) showed a high correlation of the masculinity dimension with five of the models of public relations. the last two models are twoway models. The first two models are one-way models. Williamson argued that organizational cultures. 4). Cultural differences are a key variable affecting public relations practices (Rhee. and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and the various publics on whom its success or failure depends’’ (Cutlip et al.. this study investigated the practices of CSR in South Korea. Culture is learned within a society. Grunig’s four historical models of public relations are press agentry/publicity. or involve themselves in the role of social responsibility from culturally different perspectives. which understand that the role of communication is only one way. Moon and Franke 2000) and public relations practices (e.. How do public relations practitioners perceive the role of CSR in a different culture? How does culture affect public relations practitioners’ perceptions of CSR? These questions have not been answered. Literature review Culture and public relations practices A stakeholder is defined as ‘‘any group or individual who can affect or is affected by the achievement of an organization’s purpose’’ (Freeman. While in Japan’s strong Confucian culture a public apology was desirable for the crisis. 2004. 1984). Christie et al. Wu et al. Shin. Haruta and Hallahan (2003) found significant differences in crisis communications of airline crashes between Japan and the USA using Hofstede’s five dimensions of culture. The large power distance... 2001). noting that it cannot represent national cultural values. several studies have investigated how culture affects the nature of public relations practices using Hofstede’s cultural dimensions to predict Grunig’s models of public relations practice. Specifically. 2006). practice. however. However. as well as a strong correlation between collectivism and the two-way symmetrical model in Taiwanese public relations practices. and two-way symmetric models (Grunig and Hunt. McSweeney (2002) criticized the data that Hofstede obtained from IBM employees. 1994. 2002. Culture has been regarded as one of the important elements in business ethical decision-making (Singhapakdi et al. and it affects the basic values in people’s everyday lives.g. establishes. 1985.

Korean people who have experienced the drastic social changes since 1980 may possess a large span of cultural variations. p. and showed a lower level of Confucianism than in Hofstede’s (1991) study. 1988. Norway. Hofstede and Hofstede. 1988). Taiwan. 2000). 2001. Power distance explains the level of hierarchy in a society. and longterm/short-term orientation (Hofstede and Hofstede. Cultural values among South Koreans are closely related to each other under the influence of Confucianism. Recently. Hofstede and Hofstede. not absolute. 45) and that . Vietnam. can reflect national culture.388). Japan. measures of cultural values’’ (p. 2005). 2005). Taiwan. Yum. The dimension of individualism/collectivism implies the level of valuing individuals over the collective entity. Individualists are free from collectivistic obligations. and France have high uncertainty avoidance (Hofstede and Hofstede. Individualism/collectivism is the dimension used to differentiate Western and Eastern cultures. Masculinity/ femininity refers to the role of gender in society. Japan. Many intercultural communication scholars regard South Korea as a society with high collectivism. 297). Greece. Also Korean public relations practitioners possessed both masculinity and femininity. and stated that Hofstede’s model can explain ‘‘relative. 2005). The study reports a slightly lower level of power distance than does Hofstede’s (1984) study. If less uncertainty can be endured. 1987). Large power distance denotes that power positions are vertically stratified. These results imply that Hofstede’s model cannot be applied to the Korean situation unilaterally. The Hofstede model should be interpreted with consideration of individual variations. 2005). less tolerance of uncertainty. This fifth dimension is unique to the East Asian countries of China. but collectivists live in ‘‘a society in which people from birth onwards are integrated into strong. a society has more rules and standards imposed on individuals. 2005). Uncertainty avoidance is a culture’s level of tolerance with uncertainty. p. 225). 2005). and long-term orientation (Hofstede and Bond. Hong Kong. 2005). However. Confucian dynamism is more oriented to the future (e. high masculinity. The Philippines. masculinity/femininity. power distance. 2001. Also related to long-term orientation. Australia. has been widely discussed as an essential component to Korean culture (Hofstede and Bond. and Germany have masculine culture.Culture and CSR country cultures. 1. Hofstede added long-term and short-term orientations as the fifth dimension of cultural values (Hofstede and Hofstede.’’ while feminine counterparts are supposed to be ‘‘more modest. tough and focused on the material success. Italy. and Mexico are high-power-distance countries (Hofstede and Hofstede. a main philosophy among South Koreans. CSR and cultural influence Robin and Reidenbach (1987) state that business ethics ‘‘require that the organization or individual behave in accordance with the carefully thoughtout rules of moral philosophy’’ (p. Masculine cultures are supposed to be ‘‘assertive. Fukuyama (1995) classified Korea as a low-trust and family-oriented country under Chinese values. Long-term orientation implies future-oriented values while short-term orientation represents pastand present-oriented values. but still suggests the power distance level of Korean public relations practitioners to be fairly high. creating different levels of power status. and The Netherlands have feminine cultures (Hofstede and Hofstede. 2005. 2005). 1988. This dimension is also called Confucian dynamism because it reflected the results of a Chinese value survey (CVS) (Hofstede and Hofstede. The Hofstede’s cultural value dimensions include individualism/collectivism.. while Korea. 487 which equates to long-term orientation (Hofstede and Bond. and South Korea (Hofstede and Hofstede. and Great Britain are individualistic cultures. The USA. Malaysia.g. empirical results have been far from consistent. meaning that diverse cultural characteristics can exist in one culture simultaneously (Martin and Nakayama. large power distance. perseverance and thrift). while Sweden. cohesive in-groups’’ with collectivistic bonds (Hofstede. tender and concerned with the quality of life’’ (Hofstede. uncertainty avoidance. Confucianism. and Indonesia are collectivistic cultures (Hofstede and Hofstede. 2005). Japan. Rhee (2002) reported that Korean public relations practitioners showed both individualistic and collectivist values at the same time.

Friedman’s view was ‘‘a strongly libertarian view and consequently portrays an individualistic and atomistic society. 4) and CSR is a waste of shareholders’ money. Vitell et al. Hofstede’s cultural dimension studies have been widely used in many cross-cultural studies predicting business ethics. individualism. Blodgett et al.488 Yungwook Kim and Soo-Yeon Kim social responsibility is ‘‘related to the social contract between business and society’’ (p. 1989). The public relations practice status in South Korea Korean public relations practice is still in the publicity stage. high social traditionalism is in the same context as a Friedman position and rejects the desirability of business social involvement. This study found that high individualism and low power distance strongly relate to high sensitivity to unethical activities. Friedman. 114) by objecting to the ‘‘separation thesis. Public relations practitioners often view themselves as the consciences of their organizations (Judd. The study concluded that French and German consumers more actively support socially responsible businesses than do US consumers. managers or consumers using Hofstede’s typology of cultural dimensions in business and advertising fields. the first in Grunig’s model. although they aspire to practice two-way models. He strongly disagreed that business has a social conscience and argued that profit maximization is the goal of business. and the USA using Hofstede’s typology. which emphasizes propagandistic public relations (Jo and Kim. (2003) found a significant influence of culture on business managers’ attitudes toward business ethics and practices in India. had less tolerance toward the unethical treatment of suppliers and customers. high uncertainty avoidance. Christie et al. 1970). . a Nobel-prize-winning economist. Joyner and Payne (2002) note that ‘‘ethics/morality and CSR are not mutually exclusive. Germany. (2003) examined US marketers’ perceptions of the role of ethics and social responsibility using Hofstede’s cultural dimensions.’s (2001) research with marketing professionals in Taiwan and the USA suggests that uncertainty avoidance positively affects ethical sensitivity toward various stakeholders. While ethical sensitivity or business ethics do not directly mean active engagement of CSR. 45). noting that practitioners in high-uncertainty-avoidance cultures. 411). (1993) developed propositions relating the influence of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions on ethical decision-making. A few cultural studies have examined the concept of social responsibility in the business world. the current issue of The Economist (2008) included arguments about criticism on CSR. they are interrelated and somewhat interdependent’’ (p. and high Confucian dynamism were positively associated with the perceived importance of ethics and social responsibility. His argument is based on organization-oriented goal achievement. 2004. Public relations is rooted in this non-Friedman position in that it considers the large and various publics as its stakeholders and approaches its main goal from the relationship management perspective. Kim and Hon conducted a survey with Korean practitioners in 1996 and concluded that most Korean practitioners practice the press agentry and publicity model. 2006. Traditionally. p. 301). and the USA. rather. argued that ‘‘the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits’’ (Friedman.’’ which sees business and ethics separate. Wicks (1996) argued. According to Mudrack (2007). active CSR can be understood as one kind of ethical behavior by corporations. Korea. stressing individual not collective responsibilities’’ (L’Etang. not profit-maximizing companies’’ (p. 1998). and masculinity negatively affect it. Kim and Hon. Vitell et al. Maignan (2001) conducted a survey regarding consumers’ readiness and evaluations about socially responsible organizations in France. CSR-related activities ‘‘should be the job of elected governments. such as Korea. Their study suggests that the characteristics of low power distance. However. ‘‘Business ethics a pleonasm rather than oxymoron’’ (p. while power distance. Matten (2006) includes business ethics as one of the motivations to engage in CSR. Moon and Franke (2000) compared the cultural influences of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions on advertising practitioners’ perceptions and practices in Korea and the USA. However. The following studies have investigated the ethical attitudes of practitioners.

However. Rhee. the hope for change is high. Jo and Kim (2004) conducted in-depth interviews and surveys. Shin (2006) found that Korean corporate public relations practitioners in large global companies devote their time mostly to media relations. ‘‘Friedman groups’’ means a profit-oriented anti-CSR approach. Before testing the relationship between cultural values and perceptions of CSR. this study focuses on practitioners’ cultural values and their perceptions of CSR. Rhee (2002) investigated Korean public relations practitioners’ practices as they related to cultural dimensions. However. investor relations. Research questions were established as follows: . According to Kim’s study. Their perception of the important aspects of public relations is a bit different from their actual practice. Korean public relations practice is still in the publicity stage. concluding that Korean practitioners still prefer publicity in their practice. 2004. Rhee showed the possibility that cultural dimensions could explain public relations practices in Korea. Kim (2003) notes that ‘‘the Confucian tradition has deteriorated ethical idealism by discouraging visible benefits of sticking to professional ethics’’ (p. 2002). they state. This study is based on the premised similarity between Friedman and high social traditionalism. Hofstede’s cultural dimensions were used in this study to measure Korean practitioners’ cultural values because the goal of this study was not to point out Korean national culture itself. i. Research questions and hypotheses According to Grunig’s model.e. rather than as direct measures of national cultures’’ (p. but to examine the relationship between cultural values and CSR perceptions among public relations professionals. Rhee (2002) examined Hofstede’s cultural dimensions of Korean PR practitioners and emphasized how Confucianism and collectivism play a positive role in excellent public relations practice in Korea. So far. 299). and high idealists thought that ‘‘public interest should be kept during the public relations program at all times’’ (p. CSR was perceived by practitioners to be a more valued aspect of public relations (ranking third in importance) than it actu- 489 ally was in practice (ranking fourth). Kim (2003) investigated practitioners’ perceptions toward individuals’ ethical ideologies and found that ideology can explain the outcomes of practitioners’ ethical decision-making. in particular. 214). 2004. 1388). followed by consumer relations. the influence of individual preferences for corporate responsibility on the perceptions of CSR. ‘‘Overall. Focusing on the topic of media relations. ‘‘Relationship-oriented media relations comes from the Confucian tradition. culture was found to be related to public relations practices and excellence in public relations. followed by consumer relations. and CSR is increasingly accepted as a general practice of public relations. the study tested social traditionalism. respectively. Kim and Hon. To summarize. which is the most important public relations function in Korea. as media relations is considered the most important. which may account for the confusion over ethical standards or moral guidelines expressed by many of the interviewees’’ (p. Williamson (2002) supported the idea of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. internal relations. the first model (Jo and Kim.. 221). describing them as ‘‘manifestations of national culture. and CSR. there are more idealists than relativists among Korean public relations practitioners. whereas ‘‘nonFriedman groups’’ means a pro-CSR approach. Except for the masculinity dimension. Some studies have indicated that Confucianism.Culture and CSR This result has been confirmed by other studies (Jo and Kim. and internal relations. all cultural dimensions had statistically significant relationships with excellence index’’ (p. is a positive factor in excellent public relations (PR). CSR. 176). concluding. referred to herein as Friedman and non-Friedman perspectives. other studies suggest that Confucianism negatively impacts media relations. Recognizing individual differences of corporate responsibility perceptions among Korean public relations practitioners. by using the dichotomy of a profitoriented Friedman and pro-CSR non-Friedman groups. There have been a few studies which investigated Korean public relations practitioners’ perceptions on ethics or CSR. very few studies have been conducted regarding how culture affects public relations practitioners’ ethical perceptions in Korea. 1998). Berkowitza and Lee’s (2004) study concluded that the concept of Cheong – a spiritual tie that is the fundamental basis of Korean relationships – between reporters and public relations practitioners can positively influence media relations.

the survey participants can to some extent represent the perceptions of average practitioners in Korea.. KPAPR is an educational program for experienced public relations practitioners who actively seek new trends and knowledge. 150 practitioners (62. Survey instrument Korean public relations practitioners’ cultural dimensions. a purposive sampling was used. In total. 10 items for social traditionalism. The final questionnaire was translated from English to Korean by one researcher and validated by the other researcher after discussing discrepancies. the well-known training program for public relations practitioners. Confucian dynamism items were taken from the Chinese Culture Connection (1987) study and from Schwartz (1992). For those measures. which examined marketers’ perceptions of the role of ethics and social responsibility using Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. Voich (1995). The survey instrument is a self-administered questionnaire containing primarily closedended questions. H2: High uncertainty avoidance positively affects Korean public relations practitioners’ perceptions of CSR. 2001). (1988). the following two dimensions showed comparatively consistent results in the previous literature. masculinity. Norton (1975). which contain comparatively less-ethical behaviors (Vasquez and Taylor. Uncertainty avoidance positively affects people’s ethical sensitivity toward various stakeholders (Blodgett et al. and sociodemographic items. Triandis et al. and Budner (1962). Social traditionalism represents the so-called Friedman profit-oriented approach. Two hypotheses are proposed: Large power distance negatively affects Korean public relations practitioners’ perceptions of CSR. uncertainty avoidance. They developed power distance scales from Hofstede’s (1984) power distance scale and Gordon’s (1976) greater conformity scale. and perceptions of social traditionalism and CSR were examined. Thus. H1: September 2007. the directory of the Korea Professional Advanced Public Relations Program (KPAPR). The survey questionnaire was distributed and collected by the research workers and was complemented by an email survey in The scales for measuring power distance. was used for sample selection. and Confucian dynamism in Hofstede’s dimensions were adopted from Vitell et al.490 Yungwook Kim and Soo-Yeon Kim How do Korean public relations practitioners perceive CSR from both Friedman and nonFriedman perspectives? RQ2: What are the relationships between Hofstede’s cultural values and public relations practitioners’ perceptions of CSR? What differences occur when social traditionalism is considered at the same time? RQ1: Among Hofstede’s five cultural values. and the CSR instrument asks about different positions toward CSR through the lens of practitioners. the press agentry and public information models.5%) agreed to participate in the survey. The individualism items are from Hofstede (1984). Other femininity and collectivism dimensions are adopted from Wu . and Yamaguchi (1994). Uncertainty avoidance scales come from Hofstede (1984). Since a complete sample frame for public relations practitioners does not exist in South Korea. The survey instrument includes 28 items to measure cultural dimensions. the response choices consist of modified Likert scales ranging from 1 (‘‘strongly disagree’’) to 7 (‘‘strongly agree’’). individualism. 14 items to measure CSR. Methodology Scale items of Hofstede’s dimensions Sample selection Korean practitioners from the public relations or external communication departments of diverse organizations and public relations firms were chosen as the study population. Masculinity items were adopted from Hofstede (1984) and Voich (1995). (2003). 1999). Voich (1995). Power distance is highly correlated with Grunig’s one-way models. Specifically. The total number of initial practitioners was 240 and the survey was distributed to practitioners who had agreed in advance to participate in the study.

Regarding the type of organization they worked for. 56 (37. which is comprised of three dimensions (the relationship of social responsibility to good business practice.3%) were in their 30s. and 13 (8.55. as opposed also to focusing on a broad range of stakeholders’’ (p.’s (2001) study.79).83). mean age for the sample was 32 years. These results reflect different aspects of cultural values among Korean public relations practitioners compared even with the quite recent Hofstede and Hofstede’s study (2005). This study explored Korean practitioners’ CSR perspectives in four dimensions including the three CSR models for each dimension and a CSR model that combines all three dimensions.8%) for more than 10 years. and collectivism (M = 5.73) showed high scores. 55 practitioners (37. Analysis The study used t-tests to compare means of the Friedman and non-Friedman groups in RQ1. The level of social traditionalism among Korean practitioners was estimated. power distance (M = 3. and 17 (11.05. 3 directors (2.0%) worked for a public relations agency. 9 (6.3%) natural science. Social traditionalism measures were revised from Mudrack (2007). SD = 0. SD = 0. 72 practitioners (48.68) and masculinity (M = 5.84) followed.Culture and CSR et al.0%) were in their 20s. 27 (18. The cultural values of Korean public relations practitioners were measured. This approach allowed CSR attitudes to be analyzed from various perspectives.’’ ranked the highest (M = 4. and 4 others (2. this study used 10 social traditionalism measures and 14 social responsibility measures.7%) had majored in mass communications including public relations. Statistical significance was established at the level of 0.95) showed lower scores. Scale items for defining attitudes towards social responsibility To estimate practitioners’ attitudes towards corporate responsibility. Korean practitioners seemed to disagree with Friedman’s point of view by emphasizing diverse CSR roles for improving society (Table III). 52 (35.0%).0%) were male practitioners. 69 (46.30. Mudrack tied Friedman perspectives in with high social traditionalism because both believed that ‘‘managerial responsibilities should appropriately focus on profits and maximizing shareholder wealth. 11 (7.4%) for 5–10 years. SPSS version 12 was used for data analysis. There were 86 public relations specialists (57.65). Social responsibility measures are adapted from Ryan (1986). SD = 0. which adopted the items from Hofstede (1984) and Vasquez and Taylor (1999). 5 (3. and the role of public relations practitioners in helping a corporation act responsibly). Both femininity (M = 6. SD = 0. 54 (36. 51). the commitment needed to ensure that a corporation is serious about social responsibility. 69 (46. Mean length of PR practice was 4 years 3 months (Table I).0%) were female and 57 (38.0%) had studied social science. . Overall. These results verify the explicit variations of cultural values among Korean practitioners who do not follow Hofstede’s generalization (Table II).55.4%) had worked for less than 2 years.17. Practitioners disagreed the most with the statement. Among the total 491 of 150 respondents. ‘‘Profits should be the key gauge of how well a firm is fulfilling its social role. Regarding age. the statement. High social traditionalism implies profit-oriented CSR espoused by Freidman. Comparatively. 54 managers (26.3%).56.30. Regarding length of work experience in public relations. ‘‘Firms do not have to actively search for new ways to use their excess resources to improve society’’ (M = 2. linear regressions were conducted to test the causal relationships proposed.0%). Confucian dynamism (M = 5. SD = 1.4%) for 2–5 years. 93 (62. Uncertainty avoidance (M = 5. Fifty-eight practitioners (38. and 22 (14.03.7%) for others.84. Results Description of respondents Descriptive analysis was conducted to find out demographic profiles of the sample.0%) for a corporation.0%) for a government type. Among ten items.94) and individualism (M = 3. SD = 0. SD = 0.3%) other majors. and 7 (4. For RQ2 and hypotheses.7%) were over 40.7%). but was still at a neutral level. SD = 0.02). SD = 1. who measured public relations practitioners’ views of CSR.61.3%) for an organization type.

70.94 0.0) 57 (38.17.76) and non-Friedman (M =6. Ryan.73 0.43.79 0.4) (8. commitment model. age.55 3.72.58. The middle 20% were deleted for analysis. SD = 0. organization type.56 5.0) (36. 1994). masculinity.79. . masculinity 0. For the relationship of social responsibility to good business practices. the Friedman (M = 5.68 0.17 0.84 0.8) TABLE II Means and standard deviations for Hofstede’s dimensions Dimensions Femininity Masculinity Uncertainty avoidance Confucian dynamism Collectivism Power distance Individualism M SD 6. title.95 Likert-type items were scored from 1 to 7. major. the reliability test was conducted again for various scales. uncertainty avoidance 0. Cronbach’s alphas for Hofstede’s cultural dimensions were as follows: power distance 0.43. The Friedman and non-Friedman groups were divided according to social traditionalism mean scores.7) (3. 1986.70 are considered to have adequate internal reliability (Nunnally.61 5.60) groups were significant (t = 6. SD = 0. Cronbach’s alphas for the four different CSR models were as follows: good business model 0. commitment model 0. 2003).70 is not a benchmark every scale must pass’’ (p. with 7 being most positive.7) 69 54 11 9 7 (46. and length of PR practice Frequency (%) Gender Female Male Age 20s 30s Over 40 Major Social science Mass communications including PR Natural science Other majors Title PR specialist Manager Director Other titles Organization type PR agency Corporation Organization Government Other organizations Length of PR practice Less than 2 years 2–5 years 5–10 years More than 10 years 93 (62.0) 56 (37. 346) but rather a guide. p < 0. and total CSR mean model 0.4) (35. Thus the Friedman and non-Friedman groups actually represent the low.0) (2. Perceptions of CSR from the Friedman and non-Friedman groups Differences between the Friedman and non-Friedman groups based on social traditionalism were investigated to see how the differences of social traditionalism influence public relations practitioners’ perceptions towards CSR (RQ1).and high-CSR groups. and the lower 40% as a non-Friedman group.84 5.70. John and Benet-Martinez (2000) note that ‘‘an alpha of 0. individualism 0.4) (18.3) 22 (14.55 3. and Confucian dynamism 0.7) 55 52 27 13 (37.03 5. Vitell et al. Even though most practitioners preferred the non-Friedman approach. the analysis was conducted to see whether the degree of preference influenced perceptions of CSR. The upper 40% of individuals were defined as a Friedman group. The group differences between the Friedman (M = 4.3) (6. even though alphas for the scales of individualism.78. SD = 0. and social traditionalism were less than 0.01). femininity 0.65.60.94.0) 72 (48.0) (38.0) (2. collectivism 0.0) (7.3) (26.71. Scales that have Cronbach’s alpha above 0. 2007.Yungwook Kim and Soo-Yeon Kim 492 Construction of measures TABLE I Frequencies of gender.3) (11.56.. Although scale validity was borrowed from previous studies (Mudrack. they were included in the analysis.70.50) and non-Friedman (M = 5. PR role model 0. However.83 0. Cronbach’s alpha for social traditionalism was 0.59.3) 86 54 3 4 (57.70.84.7) 69 58 5 17 (46.0) (4. Therefore.

58 5.31 1. and social traditionalism Before conducting the regression analysis. with 7 being most positive. Relationships between Hofstede’s cultural values.43. masculinity.58 3.77 1. the Friedman (M =5.16 1. .58 2.01).58. In CSR attitudes. and the social traditionalism mean were checked.60 5. no group difference was found on the commitment needed to ensure that a corporation is serious about social responsibility. Also for the role of public relations practitioners in helping a corporation act responsibly.30 2. Active social involvement and concerned use of excess resources are not neededa M SD 2.60 1. However. not of corporate executives Profits should be the key gauge of how well a firm is fulfilling its social role Most actions taken by firms to improve society will not ultimately help shareholdersa The business of business is business.01).82 6. the results indicated that the non-Friedman group showed more positive attitudes about the issues of socially responsible activities than the Friedman group (Table IV).61) and non-Friedman (M = 6. collectivism.79* 6.75) groups showed a statistically significant difference (t = 4.81 2. four CSR models.39 5.63 1. positive correlations were found between four different CSR models.43* n = 125. Individualism was correlated negatively with CSR models.43 4. CSR models. the correlation coefficients between seven Hofstede’s dimensions. p < 0.30 Likert-type items were scored from 1 to 7.96 6.15 1.20 4.39.79.02 3.94 6. Social TABLE IV Mean estimates of Friedman and non-Friedman groups Good business Commitment PR role Total CSR mean M (for Friedman) M (for non-Friedman) t-Value 5.Culture and CSR 493 TABLE III Means and standard deviations for social traditionalism Items Firms do not have to actively search for new ways to use their excess resources to improve societya We would be better off if companies simply tried to maximize their own profits subject to legal constraints Decisions concerning social issues are the province of governmental policy makers. p < 0.01. Items were partly restated for the proper valence with other items in this table.72) groups indicated a significant difference (t = 6.21 1. df = 123.17 4. SD = 0. not social activism Profits and actions in the social sphere generally do not mix The benefits to firms of socially responsible actions are often not underemphasizeda Corporate executives who declare that they will take socially responsible actions are guilty of assuming that they know what’s best for society It is enough for firms merely to meet minimum legal constraints.58 4.65 1.58 4. and Confucian dynamism were correlated positively with CSR. while uncertainty avoidance. Independent samples t-test at *p < 0.31 2.60 1. a SD = 0.30 1.43* 1. Overall.72 3. femininity. SD = 0.

p < 0.53. In the CSR commitment model. p < 0. p < 0. p < 0. H1 was not supported.01] and R2 was 0.44.13.68. and uncertainty avoidance (t = 2. p < 0. p < 0.140) = 3.138) = 14. Hofstede’s dimensions with social traditionalism affected CSR attitudes at the 0. p < 0. In the total CSR mean model. and Confucianism (t = 3.45.27.01] and R2 was 0. Only in the PR role model did power distance significantly affect Korean public relations practitioners’ perceptions of CSR. p < 0.71.01 level [F(8.01) affected CSR attitudes positively. Confucianism.01) affected CSR attitudes positively.01 level [F(8.01).01 level [F(7. p < 0. p < 0. In .141) = 10.01 level [F(7. did not show any significant influence.35. In the CSR good business practice model.20.51.141) = 11. uncertainty avoidance positively affected Korean public relations practitioners’ perceptions of CSR. Collectivism affected CSR attitudes positively (t = 2.01) positively affected CSR attitudes. collectivism (t = 3. In the CSR PR role model.05). collectivism (t = 2. p < 0. p < 0. The results indicate that social traditionalism has more explanatory power than do cultural value variables. though they showed low power distance and low individualism in Hofstede’s cultural values. p < 0. p < 0. Hofstede’s dimensions with social traditionalism affected CSR attitudes at the 0. Collectivism. and high collectivism. and social traditionalism affected CSR attitudes negatively (t = -4. In the total CSR mean model. p < 0.494 Yungwook Kim and Soo-Yeon Kim traditionalism correlated negatively with most Hofstede’s values and all four CSR models (Table V).36. except for the CSR commitment model.01] and R2 was 0.54.05) significantly affected CSR.34.01] and R2 was 0. p < 0. collectivism (t = 2. Hypothesis testing for causal relationships H1 asks whether large power distance negatively affects Korean public relations practitioners’ perceptions of CSR.77. In this model. p < 0. Other models.05).01). and uncertainty avoidance positively affected CSR attitudes. All four models predicting practitioners’ CSR attitudes with Hofstede’s dimensions were significant. although individualism and power distance negatively affected CSR attitudes (Table VI).138) = 13. Therefore. Power distance negatively affected CSR attitudes (t = -2.74. H2 was supported.49. Hofstede’s dimensions affected practitioners’ perceptions of CSR at the 0.140) = 10.07.05) and Confucianism (t = 2.01 level [F(8. In the CSR commitment model. p < 0. Uncertainty avoidance (t = 2.01] and R2 was 0. social traditionalism negatively affected CSR attitudes significantly. and Confucianism (t = 3. Social traditionalism was added into a linear regression analysis.37. In a total CSR model as well as in a PR role model predicting public relations practitioners’ perceptions of CSR. Hofstede’s dimensions with social traditionalism affected CSR perceptions at the 0.26.51.01 level [F(7.10. H2 tests whether high uncertainty avoidance positively affects Korea public relations practitioners’ perceptions of CSR.05) and social traditionalism affected CSR attitudes negatively (t = -4. Conclusions and discussion This study mainly explored the relationship between public relations practitioners’ Hofstede’s cultural values and perceptions of CSR in South Korea. p < 0.01) and Confucianism (t = 2. including the total CSR model. Only the significant variables are reported in Table VII. In this model.11.89. Hofstede’s dimensions affected CSR perceptions at the 0. p < 0. p < 0.56.05).36.18. A linear regression analysis was conducted to examine the relationship between public relations practitioners’ Hofstede’s cultural values and perceptions of CSR (RQ2). p < 0. The negative influence of the Friedman perspective precedes cultural values.141) = 7. Hofstede’s dimensions affected practitioners’ perceptions of CSR at the 0.01] and R2 was 0. high Confucian dynamism.47.60. In the CSR PR role model. individualism negatively affected CSR attitudes (t = -2. Korean public relations practitioners exhibited high femininity. high uncertainty avoidance. Hofstede’s dimensions affected practitioners’ perceptions of CSR at the 0.01] and R2 was 0. Individualism affected CSR attitudes negatively (t = -2.01 level [F(8. Uncertainty avoidance (t = 2.01). Only significant results were reported.83.05).141) = 3.01] and R2 was 0. Hofstede’s dimensions with social traditionalism affected CSR attitudes at the 0.01 level [F(7.01). In the CSR good business model.00. high masculinity.00.01).15. p < 0. p < 0.

156 -0.179* 6.139 0.178* 0.220** 0.797** 9.236** -0.186* -0.058 0.050 -0.174* -0.012 -0.449** 0.123 0.672** 10.475** -0.019 0. Commitment – 0. Hofstede uncertainty avoidance – -0.195* -0.513** – 12 Culture and CSR 495 . Hofstede collectivism – 0.350** 0.243** 0.346** -0.117 2. *Correlation is significant at the 0. Hofstede femininity – 0.2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 n = 150.225** 4.499** 0.505** 0.146 -0.522** -0.353** 0.243** 0. Hofstede Confucian dynamism – 0.452** 5.276** -0.182* 0.238** -0.371** 0.472** 0.342** -0.01 level (two-tailed).428** 0.011 -0. Total CSR mean – 12.05 level (two-tailed).205* -0.432** 0.071 0.108 0.442** 0.595** 0. Social traditionalism mean 1 Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients for Hofstede’s dimensions.208* 0.198* -0. Hofstede individualism – -0. and social traditionalism TABLE V 0.189* -0.298** 0.198* 0. Good business – 0.518** 8.324** 7.266** 0.153 0.294** 0.164* -0.495 0. 1.241** -0. Hofstede power distance – 0.880** 11.435** 0. PR role – 0.155 0. CSR models.381** 0.328** 0. **Correlation is significant at the 0.035 -0.317** 0.351** 3. Hofstede masculinity – 0.

197.229 0.004. In this sense.068 0.231 -2.507 0.000.102 -0. and in Rhee’s study (2002) Korean public relations practitioners showed both individualistic and collectivist values at the same time.173 0.000.350 4.001 TABLE VII Regression for the Hofstede’s dimensions. CSR: Good business Collectivism 0. R2 = 0.155 Uncertainty avoidance 0.256 F = 11.000 0.494.181 2.089 -0.068 0.083 0.000.134 3. R2 = 0.276 F = 3. p = 0.033 -4.394 F = 13.040 0.082 0.062 0. CSR: PR role Power distance -0. Total CSR means Confucianism 0.003.207 -0.364 2.742 0.225 0.507 0. and CSR models Variable B B (SE) b t p 0.207 Social traditionalism -0.135 Collectivism 0.160 Confucianism 0.068 0. p = 0.079 0. CSR: Commitment Individualism -0. and a slightly lower level of power distance than in Hofstede’s (1984) study.012 0.208 -2.000 1.995.004. CSR: Commitment Individualism -0.247 -0. p = 0. social traditionalism.008 0.345 2.327 F = 14.071 0.015 0.112.306 -2.006 0.200 Social traditionalism -0.169 0. p = 0.Yungwook Kim and Soo-Yeon Kim 496 TABLE VI Regression for the Hofstede’s dimensions and CSR models Variable B B (SE) 1. p = 0.003 0.091 0.084 0.827 3. Korea ranked low in uncertainty avoidance.256 -0. CSR: Good business Collectivism 0.076 0. R2 = 0. p = 0.892 -4.146 3.198 3.68.411 F = 9.316 2.025 0. Hofstede’s cultural dimensions in this study showed different and more varied . R2 = 0.541 2.193 Collectivism 0. but still at a fairly high level.209 Confucianism 0.076 0.001 0.275 Confucianism 0.000 0.101 -0.031 0.441 4.243 Social traditionalism -0.341 2.012 0. R2 = 0.707 0. p = 0.104.372 0.062 0.001 0.000.529 -4. Total CSR means Uncertainty avoidance 0.828 0. R2 = 0.203 0.249 F = 3.000.005 0.27 2.201 F = 7.175 Confucianism 0.600.004 0.558 2. p = 0. CSR: PR role Uncertainty avoidance 0.451 Hofstede and Hofstede (2005).185 0.061 0.765 3. R2 = 0.097 0.261 2.013 0. R2 = 0.285 0.000.348 2.301 F = 10.359 b t p 0.348 3.073 0.473 0.

p. Even though Hofstede’s cultural values have some explanatory power regarding Korean public relations practitioners’ perceptions toward CSR.Culture and CSR cultural values than in previous studies. Confucianism. this shows that there is a clear difference in Korean public relations practitioners’ CSR perceptions according to their original understanding about the role of business. Except for the commitment model. Rhee (2002) found that power distance negatively correlated with ethical and symmetrical communication of Korean public relations practitioners. In this sense. Four dimensions of CSR attitudes were also tested respectively as dependent variables.. CSR-related activities seem to be interpreted by public relations practitioners as one means to guar- 497 antee the success of both the organization and society at the same time. 2005). Therefore. Rhee. Even though cultural values are important enough to influence public relations practitioners’ individual perceptions of CSR. the cultural values were not identical to those in Hofstede’s original study about general Korean public in 1984 as well as in other previous studies about Korean public relations practitioners (e... Each of the four CSR models showed that Hofstede’s cultural values significantly explained practitioners’ CSR perceptions. 2002). Hofstede’s cultural values were significantly related to public relations practitioners’ perceptions of CSR in Korea. Collectivism and Confucian dynamism emphasize collectivistic and societal values. The results confirmed that the enlarged meaning of social responsibility overcoming profit orientation is becoming a norm among Korean public relations practitioners. Korean public relations practitioners’ perceptions of CSR were estimated by a social traditionalism measure using the terms Friedman and non-Friedman. Uncertainty avoidance stresses risk-free and ‘‘desired formal rules and regulations to ensure certainty and stability’’ (Vitell et al. even from the Friedman group. This study demonstrates flexible application of cultural values. who keep to a profit-maximization approach. even though traditional values such as collectivism and Confucianism still play pivotal roles in Korean society. 2000. However. traditional Korean cultural values are in harmony with the CSR philosophy. in contrast to individualism. the study results suggest that different cultural values have hierarchical effects on the perceptions of CSR. Korean public relations practitioners showed low power distance. a total CSR mean model was tested that combined all three of the dimensions mentioned above. though it was partly negatively affected. Also. When comparing social traditionalism with Hofstede’s cultural values. In the meantime. Also. collectivism. Hofstede’s cultural values affect public relations practitioners’ perceptions of CSR. This study attempted to understand Korean public relations practitioners’ perceptions on CSR from the multidimensional perspectives of cultural values and social traditionalism. social traditionalism explained public relations practitioners’ CSR attitudes more significantly than did Hofstede’s dimensions. practitioners’ fundamental ideas about the corporation’s role in society seem to be more important than their cultural values. Overall. and cannot explain public relations practitioners’ perception of CSR. the nonFriedman group showed significantly more positive attitudes towards CSR than did the Friedman group in the other three models.g. 2008). varies from one person to another. Different cultural value outcomes reflect dynamic social changes currently underway in Korean society (Kim et al. Merkin. 74). and uncertainty avoidance consistently showed a positive relationship with CSR attitudes. while individualism and power distance partly showed negative relationships with CSR perception. Confucianism and collectivism are still deeply rooted in Korean society and high uncertainty avoidance is also a key Korean cultural value. Korean practitioners’ CSR perceptions were quite positive. the degree of power distance is changing from high to low. the commitment needed to ensure that a corporation is serious about social responsibility. it should be emphasized that individual differences coexist with common . 2003. and the role of public relations practitioners in helping a corporation act responsibly. The three dimensions measure the relationship of social responsibility to good business practice. and this generally supports the great potential for Korean public relations practices to engage in CSR that is not incongruent with their cultural values. Among the seven dimensions of Hofstede’s cultural values. several studies have criticized the unilateral categorization of one culture (Martin and Nakayama. and power distance did not significantly affect their perceptions of CSR. Also.

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