uwf UmweltWirtschaftsForum

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 227–240 | Cite as

Doing well or doing good?

Extrinsic and intrinsic CSR in Switzerland
  • Stéphanie LooserEmail author
  • Walter Wehrmeyer


Arguably, within Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) the intrinsic motive is more significant than the extrinsic because the former induces a stronger involvement. Others showed that a behaviour attributed to extrinsic motives is mostly perceived as dishonest and misleading. This highlights how important the underlying motivation is for the perception, and thus, design and effectiveness of CSR frameworks. This study discusses these divergent motives with two focus groups: together with seven owner-managers of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) and seven managers of large companies. The results show that CSR implementation in Swiss SMEs is related more strongly to moral commitment than to profit-maximisation. Accordingly, small business CSR emerges from the nexus of mission and value-set and the sociological tradition of the stewardship concept. This contrasts the extrinsically motivated approach of the large companies under research. In sum, this study showed that CSR is meaningful and justifiable even if it is not profitable in the first place.


Corporate Social Responsibility Focus Group Discussion Large Company Small Company Extrinsic Motive 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Verschiedentlich wurde aufgezeigt, dass punkto gesellschaftlicher Verantwortung von Unternehmen (Corporate Social Responsibility – CSR) intrinsischer Motivation eine nachhaltigere Wirkung attestiert werden kann als dies für die entsprechenden extrinsischen Anreize zu postulieren ist. Begründet wird dies vor allem dadurch, dass letztere, die von einer Profitmaximierung durch CSR ausgehen, als unlauter und irreführend eingeschätzt werden. Dies verdeutlicht, welche Bedeutung den Motiven im Zusammenhang mit gesellschaftlicher Verantwortung beigemessen werden muss – nicht nur im Hinblick auf die Gestaltung der organisationalen Gegebenheiten von CSR ganz allgemein mehr noch bezüglich der Effektivität der entsprechenden Aktivitäten. Die vorliegende Studie diskutiert diese Motive in vier Fokusgruppen mit je sieben Grosskonzernen und sieben SchweizerKlein- und mittelgrossen Unternehmungen (KMU). Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass grosse Firmen vornehmlich extrinsisch motiviert sind und CSR als Managementfunktion ansehen. In KMU herrschen hingegen intrinsische Motive vor, die auf ein soziales Werte-Set des Unternehmers und einen Zusammenschluss von Tugenden und Mission im Unternehmen zurückzuführen sind. Dies beweist, dass CSR auch ohne direkten Bezug zu Gewinnmaximierung oder dem Profitmotiv bedeutsam, gerechtfertigt und insbesondere vertretbar ist.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Environmental StrategyUniversity of SurreyGuilford, GU2 7XHUK

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