Our project does require IRB approval, as we are conducting interviews with human subjects and using that data for research. We will initially look into the IRB local ethics of Mumbai and see if there are any requirements for the area. After narrowing down our list of participants via email communication first, we will establish which organizations and members we will pursue interviews with. After building this rapport, our team will determine the specific questions and answers we are seeking, making sure they are ethical in terms of preliminary information gathering. As our first interviews will be broad in terms of investigating CSR initiatives, there will probably not be any deep or ethical considerations for these interviews. Questions will include why corporations chose these specific NGOs for their partnership, their perspective of the CSR law, how success is measured in their partnership, etc.
Our team has reviewed the best interview protocols via Zoom or Skype platforms, as that is what we will be using. There was a large emphasis on making sure to establish a good rapport with the organizations prior to the interview, and being open to all answers rather than asking questions that manipulate their answers. Additionally, we learned about the advantages of having face to face interactions, rather than interviewing through phone call only. Face to face interactions generally leads to more fruitful, deeper conversation and generally allows for subjects to feel more comfortable and open. We will begin each interview by asking consent for recording the interview, whether in terms of recording the interview via Zoom, or through taking notes on the side. This consent will also be confirmed prior to the interview, just to ensure that all expectations are met. Something we will need to determine and identify for participants is how much information they will share will be based on personal experience and how much their reflections will represent their organization. There can be a conflict of saying anything negative about their organization, and thus those responses, during second or third interactions, will require more careful planning and ethical overview from the IRB.
In our project, the inputs will involve planning for our interactions with partnerships, interviews and research gathering. We will also connect corporations to NGOs or evaluate these partnerships from the outside. We will also be synthesizing the existing literature surrounding the best CSR practices and recommending these practices parallel to what companies and NGOs are already involved with.
Our outputs will be: the corporations and NGOs we are able to reach with our findings beyond who we are involved with directly with this year’s in-fieldwork, as well as other institutions involved with promoting these initiatives and already evaluating the effects of the Companies Act (like Indian universities, etc. ). Another sector of who will be reached indirectly will be the consumers of these companies and NGOs, and the clients of who these organizations focus upon. If their organization is made more efficient, then the company and NGO can better serve its clients. Our findings will be published via website and academia, and thus success can be measured by how many people visit the website and utilize these findings.
Our outcome will be more difficult to measure, but generally will be how these better practices allow for better social development in India. In terms of learning, corporations and NGOs will have more efficient ways to interact in cooperation in corporation – civil society arena. If these efficient practices lead to better outcomes for NGOs to accomplish their goals (in terms of more fundings and capabilities to solve issues on the ground in India), then they will be motivated to engage with private sector organizations and learn business knowledge from them as well. On the flip side, if companies are able to market their CSR in terms of ‘helping society’ and make their company more desirable to consumers, then companies will be motivated to help social development in the future. On the bigger scale, the government will be passing more contingencies for future regulations under CSR for this law, and thus will have a greater role in making sure programs are more effective and ultimately do encourage a spirit of giving. These practices and research we analyze will be added to the existing literature and help government the pros and cons of certain CSR partnerships going forward.