Assessing Chinese business students’ orientation towards corporate social responsibility: An intervention study

Po May Daphne WONG

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Theses


Globalization has eliminated geographical boundaries in many ways for businesses, making our world more vulnerable to the impacts of irresponsible business decisions. As such business schools have to find effective ways in nurturing business students with stronger ethicality. Hong Kong has very close link with and plays a certain role in the business sector of Mainland China. Its business graduates are eligible to work in the Mainland and may subsequently take up managerial positions. The CSR orientation (CSRO) of the Hong Kong business students can in fact become part of the future CSRO of businesses in China. This study aims to understand the effectiveness of a CSR themed intervention in influencing Hong Kong Chinese business students’ CSRO. This is an experimental type of study with an experimental (X) and a control (C) group. Participants are students of an Associate in Business (Business Management) programme. The intervention incorporated a mix of activities of reading, seminars, site visits and servicing experience at an NGO. A.B. Carroll’s (1979, 1991a) Pyramid of CSR framework defined CSR with the variables of Economic, Legal, Ethical and Discretionary. This became the conceptual premises for Aupperle (1982) to originate an ipsative measurement instrument (E-CSRO) that can assess orientations towards corporate social responsibilities (CSRO) of individuals. This study translated E-CSRO into Chinese (C-CSRO) with its structural validity confirmed by an Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) and its relevance to a Chinese community established by Confirmatory Factor Analysis. The C-CSRO was used to collect data at pre-post intervention from the X and C groups. Using repeated measures multivariate analysis of variance MANOVA, significant differences were found in post intervention scores between the X and C groups in Legal F (1,158) = 10.303, p =.002, ηρ² = .061; and Discretionary F (1,158) = 25.166, p<.001, ηp² = .137 which has a marked increase of +.512 in post intervention mean score of X over the C group. Pairwise comparison in pre-post intervention of X showed no significant difference in Economic; but there were significant differences with the non-economic variables but in different directions. Legal mean score decreased by .361 p<.001; Ethical decreased by .201, p=.028; but Discretionary increased by .492, p<.001. The servicing activity at an NGO appeared to be a direct factor leading to a surge in importance of Discretionary but at the expense of the other two non-economic CSRO of Legal and Ethical. There were no pre-posttest significant differences in all four CSR variables of the C Group. Five personal variables of Year of study, Age, Gender, Religion and Prior CSR experience were controlled and their impacts in influencing CSRO of the participants were ignorable. Overall, the study has supported usefulness of the intervention in changing CSRO of a group of Hong Kong Chinese business students. The results have implications on the pedagogic and learning method, curriculum, operation and research of CSR education, ecological implication to students of other communities such as Mainland China, and raise the need to update the CSR constructs of the Pyramid of CSR. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Education
Awarding Institution
  • The Education University of Hong Kong
  • KENNEDY, Kerry John 甘國臻, Supervisor
  • YAN, Zi 晏子, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Corporate social responsibilities (CSR)
  • Business ethics
  • Orientation towards CSR orientation (CSRO)
  • Teaching and learning
  • CSR education
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Thesis (Ed.D.)--The Education University of Hong Kong, 2016.


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