Corporate social responsibility as competitive advantage and strategic necessity : loooking at firm vision and stakeholder perceptions
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Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been an increased concept within the today’s business and there are different perceptions regarding the means of the concept. The theories in the area focus on CSR as a possible source of competitive advantage, but also as a strategic necessity. There is a debate regarding the Stakeholders’ importance when it comes to a firm’s CSR activities. Satisfying stakeholders may be useful to increase a firm’s competitiveness, as well as it can be seen as a necessity. This study explores whether a CSR activity can be seen as a source of competitive advantage, or as a strategic necessity. Different views from the firms’ CSR manager and different stakeholders are used. Further, this paper will explore if there are any differences between the stakeholders’ perception, as well as the perceptions in comparison with the CSR managers’ intention. The study was carried out by using two companies with a high CSR profile: Kaffehuset Friele and Stormberg, with relevant stakeholders. The main findings of this paper concern CSR as competitive advantage and as a strategic necessity, as well as rooted in the firm’s values and beliefs. Further, the findings show a more detailed categorisation of sources of competitive advantage and strategic necessity. In addition, the findings show that the different stakeholder groups: latent, expectant and definitive have different perceptions of a CSR activity. Lastly, the CSR managers’ intention and the stakeholders’ perception differ in some areas.
Masteroppgave i økonomi og administrasjon - Universitetet i Agder 2009