Research proposal



Tableof contents

  1. Title …………………………………………………………………………… 3

  2. Introduction …………………………………………………………………… 3

  3. Background …………………………………………………………………… 4

  4. Research objective …………………………………………………………… 5

  5. Initial literature review ………………………………………………………. 6

  6. Research methods ……………………………………………………………. 9

  7. Proposed timeline ……………………………………………………………. 11

  8. References …………………………………………………………………… 12

HumanResource practitioners’ perception of their role andresponsibilities in relation to CSR activities at TOTAL (Nigeria)

Itis obvious that the corporate social responsibility is a strategicconcern that infiltrates departmental boundaries, and it influenceshow business organizations do their business and connect withstakeholders both externally and internally. This research willaddress the role of and responsibility of human resourcepractitioners in relation with corporate social responsibility. Myfocus will be the role and responsibility of human resourcemanagement in Total (Nigeria). Human resource management is awidespread responsibility that affects all departments and units inan organization. Human resource management ought to take the primaryresponsibility for managing corporate social responsibilityactivities. Therefore, corporate social responsibility broadens thehuman resource responsibility, and it focuses on practicalimplementation. Sammer argues that corporate social responsibility isan important way for human resource to impact company performancepositively. The human resource department has potential to play asignificant role in developing corporate social responsibilityactivities in any organization. Although corporate socialresponsibility expands the role of human resource management, it alsoenhances benefits of practices in a workplace, which contributesubstantially to organizational effectiveness and efficiency (Sammer2009, p.345).

  1. Background

ThisTotal Nigeria is a services and marketing subsidiary of Totalinternational company. Total company is a global energy company doingbusiness in over 130 nations and committed to offering sustainableservices and products for its customers. For many years, TotalNigeria has remained on the top of downstream oil sector in Nigeria.The company has a vast distribution network of more than 500 servicestations in Nigeria and variety of quality energy services andproducts. Total Nigeria was started as a private company in 1956 todistribute and market oil products in Nigeria. The companycommissioned its initial filling station at a street called HerbertMacaulay in Lagos in year 1956. From that time, the ever-growingdemand for appropriate accessibility to oil services and products andneed to come near to customer, made Total Nigeria invests in morethan 500 service stations network nationwide (Omeje 2006, p.105).

Currently,the company has numerous industrial outlets, twenty-one customerservice centers, as well as distribution plants &amp warehouses withproper safety standards nationwide. In order to satisfy the changingcustomer needs, Total Nigeria has developed “one-stop centers”strategy to provide a variety of oil products at one place. Moreover,the company meets the corporate customers request for wholesaleproducts through Vendor Management Service. To consolidate andmaintain its distinctive position in gas and oil industry, TotalNigeria established three plants of Lubricants Blending in DeltaState, Kaduna State, and Lagos State. The company has also investedin bottling of the Liquefied Petroleum Gas and has five bottlingplants strategically situated in different parts nationwide. Due toversatile, clean, fast, portable, robust, and safe nature ofLiquefied Petroleum Gas, there is a high demand for it in many homes(Shaad &amp Wilson 2009, p.123). The objective of analyzing theoperation strategies in Total Nigeria is to understand human resourcepractitioners’ perception of their role and responsibilities inrelation to CSR activities.

  1. Research objectives

Theoverall aim of this research will be divided into three primaryobjectives. They include

  • To undertake a broad and critical review of related literature: This will be done through discussing current literature concerning the role and responsibility of Human Resource practitioners in relation to Corporate Social Responsibility activities.

  • Use secondary data to illustrate the relationship between human resource practitioners and corporate social responsibility. To understand this relationship achieve suitable sources will be analyzed.

  • Obtain primary data through conducting a survey on a relationship between human resource practitioners andcorporate social responsibility. This will be done through: developing questionnaire based on appropriate literature, testing and sending an online survey through e-mails or Facebook, as well as preparing interview and undertaking with suitable persons.


Thereis positive association between corporate social responsibilitypolicy formalization, and involvement of responsible human resourcemanagement actions. Therefore, this lead to conclusion that corporatesocial responsibility is not rhetoric because employers take itseriously.

  1. Initial Literature review

Thedeclaration by Canada industry that corporate social responsibilityis an evolving idea that at a moment does not have internationallyaccepted definition is supported by many scholarly and reviewswritings that try to define the idea. In a contribution to definitionof this concept, (Carroll 1999, p.292) declares that corporate socialresponsibility concept has had a diverse and long history ofliterature. He stated that corporate social responsibility concept isfuzzy, and many riddled it with unclear boundaries as well as adebatable legitimacy. Defining and identifying what corporate socialresponsibility means has open a contest and present some difficultiesfor empirical and theoretical analysis. Fenwick &amp Bierema(2008:25) noted that different people understand corporate socialresponsibility differently and there is full contest. There is someterminology used in place of corporate social responsibility such asresponsible business and corporate sustainability. Differentdefinitions seemingly tended to influence the scholars inpresentation of corporate social responsibility analysis.

Willardclaims that the business organizations have in many times respondedto demands of shareholders. However, since 1990s they have beenresponding to interest of some groups such as activist shareholders,green consumers, government and non-governmental organizations, whichmake urgent demands for the social responsibility. Many businessorganizations have come under considerable pressure to increasedpublic awareness, interested groups, governmental and legal concerns,as well as media coverage to act in socially responsible manner.Indeed, the today business world has been characterized byinternational interdependence, environmental concerns, andprivatization. These issues have jointly put high demands oncorporate managers to take an active stance on the issues concerningethical behavior and social responsibility (Willard 2005, p.234).Carroll defines corporate social responsibility as businessresponsibility to society, and it encompasses legal, economic,ethical, as well as discretionary expectations, which society imposeon organizations at a particular time. The four-dimensionaldefinition involves conduct of the business, which ensures that it islaw abiding, economically profitable, socially supportive, andethically oriented (Porter &amp Kramer 2006, p.11).

Currently,there is a connection between the corporate social responsibility &amphuman resource management. Therefore, it has become essential forhuman resource professionals to take crucial role in planning andimplementing corporate social responsibility strategies, and lateruse corporate social responsibility to deliver their human resourcemanagement objectives. Combined impact of corporate socialresponsibility and the human resource activities that strengthendesirable behavior may cause a great contribution in ensuring longlasting success in business organizations. Simmons (2008, p.10)argues that human resource management is potential facilitator andcomponent of corporate social responsibility. Most businessorganizations tend to perceive corporate social responsibilityprograms as part of social activities. The relationship between humanresource management and corporate social responsibility is evident. Aresearch by (Tekin 2005, p.104) reveals that corporate socialresponsibility leads to good recruitment. Business organizations,which show considerable commitment to corporate social responsibilityinitiative, are more attractive to prospective employees. A robustrelationship was discovered between corporate social responsibilityand training tasks as a strategic issue.

Cohenargues that human resource can leverage corporate socialresponsibility strategies to deliver higher benefits for employees,business, environment, society, and ultimately the human resourceprofessionals. Human resource department can manage corporate socialresponsibility plan implementation, as well as monitor it adoptionwhile documenting its success in the business organization (Cohen2010, p.67). Human resource managers have opportunity and toolsneeded to leverage workers commitment to, as well as engagement incorporate social responsibility strategy. Success of corporate socialresponsibility programs depends on employees who are enlightened onmanagement practices. New mandate put human resource professional ina better strategic place to contribute substantially to a success ofcorporate social responsibility initiatives of business organization(Wood 2001, p.623).

Susanargues that the recent change by organizational managers fromconsidering sustainable business practices presents an outstandingleadership opportunity for human resource professionals. For a longtime, corporate social responsibility has remained top-managementmotivated activity, without the involvement of employees (Susan 2007,p.3). Human resource professional can participate in corporate socialresponsibility initiatives and promote these efforts through policydevelopment to successful implementation of the policy. For humanresource to play a leading role it should become a strategic businesspartner, taking part in corporate social responsibility policyformulation in a corporate boardroom. As a result, human resourceprofessionals will be able to facilitate an implementation process.It can be done through involvement of employers, who are a primarysource of the competitive advantage in knowledge-based businessenvironment (Inyang 2010, p.26).

  1. Research Methods


Quantitativedata gathering method will be applied to collect primary data. Themethod depends on structured data collection instruments and randomsampling that fit different experiences into determined responsecategories. The outcome produced is not hard, to summarize,generalize and compare. Quantitative research involves testinghypotheses derived from theory and can estimate a size of thephenomenon of interest. Semi-structured interviews, archivaldocumentary evidence, and questionnaires will be used. The purpose ofselecting these three data-collection devices is to strengthen thevalidity of the insights gained from the evidence, by providing ameans of “triangulating” discrete (independent) sources ofevidence. The questionnaires will capture the biographical data ofthe respondents. Methods of distributing the structuredquestionnaires will be hand-delivery and emails (Brown 1999, p.144).


Thereare three key categorizations of measuring a validity of datacollected they include self-evident measures, pragmatic measures,and construct validity. According to De Vos, valid instrumentsmeasure the concept in question and do this accurately. In thisresearch, validity of measuring instrument will be determined byfollowing features of self-evident measures. Interview schedules willbe assessed before presentation, and the relevance of questions willbe checked. The research assistance will help verification of animportance of issues. The instructor will have an opportunity toevaluate interview schedules (Fraenkel &amp Wallen, 1996, p.142).


Validityis referred to as the measure of falsity or truth of data obtainedwith research instrument. There are two types of validity internaland external validity. In this research, validity will be used tomeasure truth of research questions. External validity refers to anextent at which results of research can be generalized beyond asample selected. The external validity can be threatened by validityof a research instrument and sampling method used.


Reliabilityis a degree of reliability with which a research instrument measuresa particular aspect. It also refers to as an extent to whichmanagement of similar research instruments yields same outcomes undersimilar conditions. A valid instrument can be reliable. That is notvalid cannot be reliable. The responses will be obtained throughsemi-structured interview schedules, which will be split in two (Fraenkel &amp Wallen, 1996, p.145).


Dataanalysis represents the foundation of the analysis effort. Whenestablishing a data analysis approach, Yin suggests an analyticstrategy. For this research, the analytic approach fits Yin’sdescription of ‘reliance on theoretical propositions.’ The studywill use a historical analysis concept. Historians argue that thefundamentals of historical research require attention to:


Inhistorical research, time and events are of significant importance.With respect to this research, the documents acquired will be bothpublicly available and proprietary for use within research area only.

Intentionof Author: Intention becomes of particular importance when usingpublicly produced documents, such as press releases and AnnualReports of the firms included in this research. Historicalresearchers indicate that such material must be assessed in terms ofauthor intent, in order to ascribe meaning to it.

Theanalytic techniques for both data gathering and analysis are mostlyqualitative in nature (except for questionnaires). More precisely, acomputer-aided tool will form the basis upon which a grounded theoryapproach to analysis will be applied, with an intention of building achain of evidence to support findings gleaned from each case. Dataanalysis tools will be included in the study design to developcross-matrix summaries. Documents analysis will also be included inthe study design to expand the understanding of particular in casefindings, as well as to cross-validate the evidence (Gummesson 2000,p.256).

  1. Proposed timeline


Period in weeks

Submission of research proposal

Establishment of reliable contacts

Writing of literature review

Develop questionnaires/online survey

Distributing questionnaires/online survey

Collecting questionnaires

Preparing interviews with HR professionals

Undertaking interviews

Analyzing interviews

Primary research completion

Writing conclusions &amp recommendations

  1. References

Brown,AL 1999, ‘Design experiments: Theoretical and methodologicalchallenges in creating complex interventions,’ Journalof the Learning Sciences,Vol. 2, pp. 141–178.

Carroll,AB 1999, ‘Corporate social responsibility: Evolution anddefinitional construct,’ Journalon Business and Society, Vol.38, no. 3, pp. 268-295.

Cohen,E 2010, CSRfor HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible businesspractices,Sheffield, Greenleaf Publishing Limited.

Fenwick,T &amp Bierema, L 2008, ‘Corporate social responsibility: Issuesfor human resource development professionals,’ InternationalJournal of Training and Development, vol.12, no. , pp. 24-35.

Fraenkel,JR &amp Wallen, NE 1996, Howto design and evaluate research in education (3rd ed.),New York, McGraw-Hill.

Gummesson,E 2000, QualitativeMethods in Management Research, 2nd edition, ThousandOaks, Sage.

Gupta,AD 2010, ‘Corporate social responsibility and human resourcesmanagement. A strategic balanced model. In S.O. Idowu and L. F.Walter (eds). Professionals’perspectives of corporate social responsibility (ed1).London Springer, pp.393-407.

Inyang,B J 2010, ‘Strategic human resource management (SHRM): A paradigmshift for achieving sustained competitive advantage in organization.’InternationalBulletin of Business Administration, Vol.7, pp. 23-35.

Omeje,KC 2006, High stakes and stakeholders: Oil conflict and security inNigeria, Aldershot, Ashgate.

Porter,ME &amp Kramer, MR 2006, ‘Strategy and society: The link betweencompetitive advantage and corporate social responsibility,’ HarvardBusiness Review, pp1-17.

Susan,M 2007, ‘HR’s role in social responsibility and sustainability,’AJournal on Human Resource.

Tekin,A 2005, ‘The human resource management dimensions of corporatesocial responsibility in Turkey,’ Journalof Academy of Business Economics.

Willard,B 2005, Thenext sustainability wave: Building boardroom buy-in,Gabriola, BC: New Society Publishers.

Sammer,J 2009, ‘HR becomes key player in corporate social responsibility,’Journalon corporate social responsibility.

Simmons,A 2008, ‘Corporate social responsibility: The key role of humanresource management,’ BusinessIntelligence Journal,Vol. 2 no. 1, pp. 205-213.

Shaad,B &amp Wilson, E 2009, Accessto sustainable energy: What role for international oil and gascompanies? focus on Nigeria.London: International institute for environment and development.

Wood,DJ 2001, ‘Corporate social responsibility revisited,’ Academyof Management Review,’ Vol.16,pp. 619-718.