Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 87, Issue 2, pp 153–168 | Cite as

CSR Practices and Corporate Strategy: Evidence from a Longitudinal Case Study

Article

Abstract

This paper aims to contribute to the present debate about business ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) that the Journal of Business Ethics is hosting. Numerous contributions argued theoretical frameworks and taxonomies of CSR practices. The authors want to ground in this knowledge and provide further evidence about how companies adopt CSR practices to address stakeholders’ claims and consolidate their trust. Evidence was provided by a longitudinal case study about an Italian food company that is one of the largest producers of baby food. This company reshaped its corporate strategy along three decades through the adoption of CSR practices in order to win stakeholders’ trust about food safety and supply chain behaviour. The empirical exercise was informed by a literature review of the relevant contributions in terms of CSR business practices and levels of efforts to adopt them. In light of this review, the authors adopted for the research framework the taxonomy of business practices proposed by Spiller (2000, “Ethical Business and Investment: A Model for Business and Society”, Journal of Business Ethics27, 149-160) and the levels of commitment towards CSR proposed by Stahl and Grigsby (1997, Strategic Management; Total Quality & Global Competition (Blackwell, Oxford)). The main findings are discussed in order to argue theoretical implications and identify further areas of research and debate.

Keywords

business ethics CSR business practices corporate strategy food industry stakeholders’ claims 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Abreu, R., David, F., & Crowther, D. (2005). Corporate Social Responsibility in Portugal Empirical Evidence of Corporate Behaviour. Corporate Governance, 5(5), 3–18.Google Scholar
  2. Brand, A.F. 1989, Bedrijfsethiek in Nederland (Business Ethics in The Netherlands). Het Spectrum, Utrecht.Google Scholar
  3. Brenkert, G. (2002). Ethical Challenges of Social Marketing. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 21, 14-25. doi:10.1509/jppm.21.1.14.17601 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Choi, C.J., Eldomiaty, T.I., & Kim, S.W. (2007). Consumer trust, social marketing and ethics of welfare exchange. Journal of Business Ethics, 74, 17-23. doi:10.1007/s10551-006-9128-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Deblonde, M., De Graaff, R., & Brom, F. (2007). An ethical toolkit for food companies: reflections on its use. Journal of Business Ethics, 20, 99-118.Google Scholar
  6. DiMaggio, P.J., & Powell, W.W. (1983). The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organisational Fields. American Sociological Review, 48, 47-160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Enderle, G., & Tavis, L.A. (1998). A balanced concept of the firm and the measurement of its long-Term planning and performance. Journal of Business Ethics, 17, 1129-1144. doi:10.1023/A:1005746212024 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Giddens, A. 1984. The Constitution of Society. Cambridge, Polity Press.Google Scholar
  9. Giddens, A.: 1990, The Consequences of Modernity (Stanford University Press, Stanford)Google Scholar
  10. Jamali, D.: 2007, ‹A Stakeholder Approach to Corporate Social Responsibility: A Fresh Perspective into Theory and Practice’, Journal of Business Ethics. doi:10.1007/s10551-007-9572-4
  11. Kohli, A., B. J. Jaworski and A. Kumar: 1993, ‹MARKOR: A Measure of Market Orientation’, Journal of Marketing Research 30(November), 467-477Google Scholar
  12. Kok, P., T. van der Wiele, R. McKenna and A. Brown: 2001, ‹A Corporate Social Responsibility Audit Within a Quality Management Framework’, Journal of Business Ethics 31, 285-297. doi:10.1023/A:1010767001610 Google Scholar
  13. Konrad, A., Steurer, R., Langer, M., & Martinuzzi, A. (2006). Empirical Findings on Business-Society Relations in Europe. Journal of Business Ethics, 63, 57-67. doi:10.1007/s10551-005-7055-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kostova, T., & Zaheer, S. (1999). Organisational Legitimacy Under Conditions of Complexity: the case of the Multidimensional Enterprise. Academy of Management Review, 24, 64-81. doi:10.2307/259037 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Longo, M., Mura, M., & Bonoli, A. (2005). Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Performance: the case of Italian SMEs. Corporate Governance, 5(4), 28-42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. MacDonald, C., & Whellams, M. (2007). Corporate decisions about labelling genetically modified foods. Journal of Business Ethics, 75, 181-189. doi:10.1007/s10551-006-9245-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Maignan, I., Ferrel, O., & Ferrel, L. (2005). A stakeholder model for implementing social responsibility in marketing. European Journal of Marketing, 29(9/10), 956-977. doi:10.1108/03090560510610662 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Maloni, M.J., & Brown, M.E. (2006). Corporate social responsibility in the supply chain: an application in the food industry. Journal of Business Ethics, 68, 35-52. doi:10.1007/s10551-006-9038-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Owen, D. and T. Swift: 2001, ‹Introduction Social Accounting, Reporting and Auditing: Beyond the Rhetoric?’, Business Ethics. European Review (Chichester, England) 10(1), 4-8Google Scholar
  20. Papasolomou-Doukakis, I., M. Krambia-Kapardis and M. Katsioloudes: 2005, ‹Corporate Social Responsibility: The Way Forward? Maybe Not!’, European Business Review 17(3), 263-279. doi:10.1108/09555340510596661
  21. Siggelkow, N. (2007). Persuasion with Case Studies. Academy of Management Journal, 50(1), 20-24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Spiller, R. (2000). Ethical Business and Investment: a model for business and society. Journal of Business Ethics, 27, 149-160. doi:10.1023/A:1006445915026 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Stahl, M. J. and D. W. Grisby: 1997, Strategic Management; Total Quality & Global Competition (Blackwell, Oxford)Google Scholar
  24. van Marrewijk, M. (2004). Concepts and Definitions of CSR and Corporate Sustainability: Between Agency and Communion. Journal of Business Ethics, 44(2-3), 95-105.Google Scholar
  25. Willard, B.: 2002, The Sustainable Advantage: Seven Business Cases of a Triple Bottom Line (New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, BC, Canada)Google Scholar
  26. Yin, R. K.: 2003, Case Study Research - Design and Methods, 3rd Edition (Sage Publications, CA, USA)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Politecnico di MilanoDepartment of Management, Economics and Industrial EngineeringMilanoItaly

Personalised recommendations