Title: The application of a fuzzy rule-based model to evaluate corporate social responsibility enablers in multinational corporations

Authors: Salman Kimiagari; Samira Keivanpour; Egide Karuranga; Etienne Musonera

Addresses: CIRRELT Interuniversity Research Center on Enterprise Networks, Logistics and Transportation, Canada; Faculty of Business (FSA), Laval University, Quebec, QC, Canada ' CIRRELT Interuniversity Research Center on Enterprise Networks, Logistics and Transportation, Canada; Faculty of Engineering (FSG), Laval University, Quebec, QC, Canada ' Faculty of Business (FSA), Laval University, Quebec, QC, Canada ' Stetson School of Business and Economics, Mercer University, Atlanta, USA

Abstract: Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is increasingly a competitive advantage for multinational corporations (MNCs), and it has become more popular among academicians and practitioners. Previous research has shown that CSR differ among countries and corporations. Therefore, developing an evaluation tool to assess the readiness and responsiveness of MNCs to implement CSR procedures is valuable and important for decision makers. In this study, we developed a model that applies a fuzzy rule-based model to evaluate CSR enablers for MNCs. We review the literature on CSR, stakeholder theory, and MNCs to extract four enablers, namely, stakeholder engagement, environmental context, organisational structure and firm strategy. The presented model thus utilises expert knowledge and fuzzy logic to overcome the imprecision of pertinent criteria and enable managers to evaluate MNCs' readiness to perform CSR initiatives. The illustrative example shows that the introduced model provides an applicable tool for managers in MNCs to assess the effects of different enablers in different 'what-if' scenarios without the need for other probabilistic models and in a reasonable time. This study reveals and re-confirms that the fuzzy rule-based approach is an encouraging decision tool in the context of sustainable development and in the presence of uncertainties.

Keywords: corporate social responsibility; CSR; multinational corporations; MNCs; fuzzy sets; fuzzy logic; rule-based models; fuzzy rules; stakeholder engagement; environmental context; organisational structure; firm strategy; sustainable development; uncertainty; sustainability.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSSM.2016.080466

International Journal of Sustainable Strategic Management, 2016 Vol.5 No.2, pp.103 - 126

Published online: 22 Nov 2016 *

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