Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Management

Advisor

David Gould

Abstract

Leaders of public sector agencies must incorporate the voices of diversified stakeholders into planning and decision-making processes. With aging infrastructures around the world, public agencies are challenged to move public benefit projects forward when citizens are not engaged or empowered to participate in the process. The purpose of this triple bottom line (social, ecological, and financial) and social responsibility study was to explore whether public sector organizations are socially responsible by law. A case study was developed using data from publicly available documents and interviews that explored how the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) implemented a social responsibility framework that was grounded using the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 26000 guidelines, stakeholder theory, and corporate social responsibility theory. Data were collected using a researcher-developed questionnaire for face-to-face interviews with 20 elected officials, public agency executives, program managers, advisory group members, regional public sector members, and community stakeholders. Data were analyzed using direct interpretation, detailed description, establishment of correspondence and patterns, and categorical aggregation. Three themes emerged that demonstrated the existence of a socially responsible organizational framework at the SFPUC: unequivocal leadership support, allocation of adequate resources to fund the program, and a dynamic stakeholder-driven performance metrics and reporting system. The research findings may contribute to social change by demonstrating how ISO 26000 can help frame the performance measurement and reporting systems of public sector agencies and serve as a foundation for implementing stakeholder policies and procedures thus benefiting the public.