A Strategic Way of Performing Corporate Social Responsibility

One of the most recent trends among Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) researchers is to study NGO-Business Partnerships. This type of cross-sectoral alliance is promoted as a way to manifest a CSR commitment as concrete actions, improving environmental and social problems in society. The purpose of this thesis was to investigate to what extent strategic partnership between corporations and NGOs existed, how strategic they were, and to find what reasons could explain these engagements. The purpose was fulfilled through the conduction of a national survey, sent to CSR managers at the 203 largest corporations in Sweden. 69 corporations responded, and out of those 26 claimed to have partnerships with NGOs. When the survey data was quantitatively analyzed, we found that the main reason to involve in a partnership is competitive pressure. Another probable reason is the personal engagement of managers. Nevertheless, the low response rate of the survey disappointed us, and in addition, we suspected that few of the partnerships were strategic. Therefore, we expanded the research to also include phone calls and grading of the corporations homepages. As a result of these assessments, we estimate that only 5 to 9 percent of the corporations in Sweden have strategic partnerships. An additional result from our expanded research is that approximately 40 percent of the corporations in Sweden to some extent are engaged in CSR…


1.1 Background
1.2 Historical Development
1.2.1 The Environmental Wave
1.2.2 External Pressure on Corporations
1.2.3 Antagonistic Relationships
1.2.4 Green Alliances
1.2.5 The Present Situation – Partnerships
1.3 Purpose
1.4 Research Question
1.5 Limiting the Scope
1.6 Definitions in Brief
1.7 Defining the Concepts
1.7.1 Defining Corporate Social Responsibility
1.7.2 Defining Partnerships
2.1 Research Process
2.1.1 The Survey Questionnaire
2.1.2 Designing the Survey
2.2 Research Approach
2.2.1 Deductive Method
2.2.2 Quantitative Study
2.2.3 Limitations with our Approach
2.3 Data Collection
2.3.1 Primary Data
2.3.2 Secondary Data
3.1 Conducting the Survey
3.1.1 Defining the Sample Population
3.1.2 Search for the Right Respondent
3.1.3 Introduction Letter
3.1.4 Pretest
3.1.5 Survey Opening
23.1.6 Repeated Reminders
3.1.7 Closing the Survey
3.2 Response Rate
3.3 Survey Problems
3.3.1 Survey Design Problems
3.3.2 Conceptual Problems
3.3.3 Problems of Biases
3.4 Summary
4.1 Critique
4.1.1 The Business of Business is Business
4.1.2 Questioning the Win-Win Situation
4.1.3 Questioning the Concept
4.2 Support
4.2.1 The Moral Market Place
4.2.2 Competitive Advantages
4.2.3 Added Value and Profitability
4.2.4 NGO Collaboration Leads to Risk Reduction
4.2.5 Reputation and Brand Value
4.2.6 Personal Engagement
4.3 Summary
5.1 Finding the Hypotheses
5.1.1 Competitor Hypothesis
5.1.2 NGO Hypothesis
5.1.3 Brand Hypothesis
5.1.4 Profit Hypothesis
5.1.5 CSR Hypothesis
5.1.6 Managerial Opinion Hypothesis
5.1.7 The Six Chosen Hypotheses
5.1.8 Other Possible Hypotheses
5.2 Creating and Testing Variables
5.2.1 Factor Analysis
5.2.2 Rotated Factor Analysis
5.2.3 Analysis Factor by Factor
5.3 Correlations
5.4 The Logistic Regression
5.5 The Results
5.6 Analysis of the Results
5.6.1 Significant Variable
5.6.2 Possibly Significant Variables
5.6.3 Insignificant Variables
35.7 Summary
6.1 A Change of View
6.1.1 Additional Classifications
6.1.2 Classification of our Impressions
6.1.3 Classification of the Homepages
6.1.4 Discussion
6.2 Institutional Theory
6.2.1 Hypocrisy and Decoupling
6.2.2 CSR as Isomorphism
6.3 Summary
7.1 The Extent of Strategic Partnerships and CSR
7.2 The Reasons
7.2.1 Significant Reasons
7.2.2 Insignificant Reasons
7.2.3 Reasons to Engage
7.3 Further Implications
7.3.1 An International Umbrella
7.3.2 Common with Local Adaptation
7.3.3 Confusion of the Concept
7.3.4 Breaking down the Resistance
7.3.5 Focus on an Important Dialogue
8.1 References
8.1.1 Books
8.1.2 Academic Journals
8.1.3 Research Papers
8.1.4 Other Articles
8.1.5 Webpages
8.2 Appendices

Author: Mattias Frithiof, Amelie Mossberg

Source: Stockholm School of Economics