Journal of Business Ethics

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

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



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 Ethics 27, 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.


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


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

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

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