Advertisement

Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 127, Issue 1, pp 17–31 | Cite as

From Implicit to Explicit CSR in a Scandinavian Context: The Cases of HÅG and Hydro

  • Siri Granum CarsonEmail author
  • Øivind Hagen
  • S. Prakash Sethi
Article

Abstract

The aim of this article is to explain the transition from implicit CSR to explicit CSR that has taken place in Scandinavia over the last two decades. Matten and Moon’s (Academy of Management Review, 33:404–424, 2008) distinction between implicit and explicit CSR is the point of departure for the analysis, which is based on case studies of two Norwegian companies: HÅG and Hydro. On the basis of these case studies, we identify two forces that are pushing the transition from implicit to explicit CSR in Scandinavia: (1) Organizational expressiveness and (2) Re-legitimizing. Both of these measures are adjustments to the globalization of the economy, altering the competitive situation even in highly institutionalized, Scandinavian economies. HÅG, a midsized Norwegian manufacturer of office chairs, made CSR and environmental values an integral part of their expressive strategy in the early 1990s. Hydro, a big Norwegian aluminium producer, made CSR an explicit issue around the turn of the millennium, in an attempt to re-legitimize their business operations in a new market situation where plants in local communities in Norway were shut down and relocated to less regulated regimes in low-cost regions abroad.

Keywords

Implicit CSR Explicit CSR Organizational expressiveness Legitimacy Re-legitimizing Globalization Scandinavia Hydro HÅG 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank three anonymous reviewers as well as the editors of this thematic issue on the Scandinavian Approach for their thoughtful and instructive comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript. We would also like to thank Sverre Lie for proofreading of the manuscript.

References

  1. Andersen, K. G. (2005). Flaggskip i fremmed eie. Hydro 19051945 [Flagship in foreign hands. Hydro 1905–1945]. Oslo: Pax Forlag.Google Scholar
  2. Andersen, K. G., & Yttri, G. (1997). Et forsøk verdt: Forskning og utvikling i Norsk Hydro gjennom 90 år [Worth a trial. Research and development in Hydro through 90 years]. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.Google Scholar
  3. Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction. A social critique of the judgement of taste. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Brun, P., & Thornam, H. (2013). Corporate Sustainability reporting. In A. Midttun (Ed.), CSR and beyond. A Nordic perspective (pp. 88–116). Oslo: Cappelen Damm Akedemisk.Google Scholar
  5. Brunsson, N. (1989). The organization of hypocrisy. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  6. Carroll, A. B. (1999). Corporate social responsibility. Evolution of a definitional construct. Business & Society, 38(3), 268–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carson, S. G., Fet, A., & Skaar, C. (2011). A Nordic perspective of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Etikk i Praksis, 5(1), 3–7.Google Scholar
  8. Cassell, C., & Symon, G. (Eds.). (2004). Essential guide to qualitative methods in organizational research. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  9. Center, A. H., & Jackson, P. (2003). Public relations practices: Managerial case studies and problems. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  10. Chapple, W., & Moon, J. (2005). Corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Asia. A seven-country study of CSR website reporting. Business & Society, 44(4), 415–441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. DiMaggio, P. J., & Powell, W. W. (1983). The iron cage revisited: Institutional isomorphism and collective rationality in organizational fields. American Sociological Review, 48(2), 147–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Eisenhardt, K. M., & Graebner, M. E. (2007). Theory building from cases: Opportunities and challenges. Academy of Management Journal, 50(1), 25–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Forgues, B., & Vandangeon-Derumez, I. (2001). Longitudinal analyses. In R-A. Thiétart (Ed.), Doing management research. A comprehensive guide (pp. 332–350). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  14. Frøland, H. O., & Karlsen, A. (2008). Innledning: Globalisering gjennom et århundre. Langsiktige trekk ved norsk aluminiumsindustri [Globalization through a century. Long-term features of Norwegian aluminum industry]. In J. Henden, H. O. Frøland, & A. Karlsen (Eds.), Globalisering gjennom et århundre. Norsk aluminiumsindustri 19082008 (pp. 7–32). Bergen: Fagbokforlaget.Google Scholar
  15. Gjølberg, M. (2010). Varieties of corporate social responsibility (CSR): CSR meets the “Nordic Model”. Regulation & Governance, 4(2), 203–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gummesson, E. (2000). Qualitative methods in management research. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  17. Gustavsen, B. (2007). Work organization and the ‘Scandinavian Model’. Economic and Industrial Democracy, 28(4), 650–671.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hagen, Ø. (2002). Mot et etisk marked? [Towards an ethical market?]. In U. Forseth and B. Rasmussen (Eds.), Arbeid for livet. Oslo: Gyldendal.Google Scholar
  19. Hagen, Ø. (2008a). Seduced by their proactive image? On using auto communication to enhance CSR. Corporate Reputation Review, 11(2), 130–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hagen, Ø. (2008b). Driving environmental innovation with corporate storytelling: Is radical innovation possible without incoherence? International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development, 3(3/4), 217–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hagen, Ø. (2009). Do socially responsible brands lead to socially responsible companies? Understanding change in expressive organizations. PhD Thesis, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim.Google Scholar
  22. Hofstede, G., & Hofstede, G. J. (2005). Cultures and organizations: Software of the mind. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  23. Hovden, J. (1998). The ambiguity of contents and results in the Norwegian internal control of safety, health and environment reform. Reliability Engineering and System Safety, 60(2), 133–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hydro. (2004). Corporate Social Responsibility—Invitation to Action. Oslo: Hydro. Retrieved April 10, 2012, from http://www.hydro.com/pagefiles/7233/CSR_en.pdf.
  25. Hydro. (2007). The Hydro way—Our way of working. Retrieved April 10, 2012, from http://www.hydro.com/en/About-Hydro/The-Hydro-Way/.
  26. Hydro Annual Reports. (1997–2011). Retrieved April 10, 2012, from http://www.hydro.com/en/Investor-relations/Reporting/
  27. Hydro Annual Report. (2011). Hydro, Oslo.Google Scholar
  28. HÅG Annual Report. (1993). HÅG, Oslo.Google Scholar
  29. HÅG Annual Report. (1995). HÅG, Oslo.Google Scholar
  30. HÅG Annual Report. (1998). HÅG, Oslo.Google Scholar
  31. HÅG Annual Report. (2006). HÅG, Oslo.Google Scholar
  32. Ihlen, O., & Høivik, H. (2013). Ye Olde CSR: The historic roots of corporate social responsibility in Norway. Retrieved June 05, 2013, from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10551-013-1671-9.
  33. Lie, E. (2005). Oljerikdommer og internasjonal ekspansjon. Hydro 19772005 [Oil wealth and international expansion. Hydro 1977–2005]. Oslo: Pax Forlag.Google Scholar
  34. Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
  35. Lunheim, R. (2005). Confessions of a corporate window dresser. Summer: Leading Perspectives.Google Scholar
  36. Maignan, I., & Ralston, D. A. (2002). Corporate social responsibility in Europe and the U.S.: Insights from businesses’ self-presentations. Journal of International Business Studies, 33(3), 497–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Matten, D., & Moon, J. (2008). ‘Implicit’ and ‘explicit’ CSR: A conceptual framework for a comparative understanding of corporate social responsibility. Academy of Management Review, 33(2), 404–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Meyer, J. W., & Rowan, B. (1977). Institutionalized organizations: Formal structure as myth and ceremony. American Journal of Sociology, 83(2), 340–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Midttun, A. (Ed.). (2013). CSR and beyond. A Nordic perspective. Oslo: Cappelen Damm Akedemisk.Google Scholar
  40. Midttun, A., Gautesen, K., & Gjølberg, M. (2006). The political economy of CSR in Western Europe. Corporate Governance, 6(4), 369–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Näsi, J. (1995). A Scandinavian approach to stakeholder thinking: An analysis of its theoretical and practical uses, 1964–1980. In J. Näsi (Ed.), Understanding stakeholder thinking (pp. 97–115). Helsinki: LSR-Julkaisut Oy.Google Scholar
  42. Nielsen, K., & Kvale, S. (2008). A qualitative stance: In memory of Steiner Kvale, 1938–2008. Aarhus: Aarhus Universitetsforlag.Google Scholar
  43. Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (2008/2009). Corporate social responsibility in a global economy. Report No. 10 (2008-2009) to the Storting.Google Scholar
  44. Reiten, E. (2007). Askeladden og den globaliserte økonomien—Hydro i endring. [Askeladden (The rising star) and the global economy—Hydro changing]. Kristofer Lehmkuhl Lecture, Norges Handelshøyskole. Retrieved April 10, 2012, from http://brage.bibsys.no/nhh/bitstream/URN:NBN:no-bibsys_brage_24761/1/Lehmkuhl_2007.pdf.
  45. Rhenman, E. (1964). Foeretagsdemokrati och foeretagsorganisation [Industrial democracy and industrial management]. Stockholm: Thule.Google Scholar
  46. Rhenman, E. (1968). Industrial democracy and industrial management. London: Tavistock.Google Scholar
  47. Røvik, A. (2007). Trender og Translasjoner: Ideer som former det 21. århundrets organisasjon [Trends and translations: Ideas shaping the 21st century’s organization]. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.Google Scholar
  48. Røyrvik, E. A. (2008). Directors of creation: An anthropology of capitalist conjunctures in the contemporary. PhD Thesis, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim.Google Scholar
  49. Sagafos, O. J. (2005). Progress of a different nature. Hydro 19052005. Oslo: Pax Forlag.Google Scholar
  50. Saksvik, P. Ø., & Quinlan, M. (2003). Regulating systematic occupational health and safety management: Comparing the Norwegian and Australian experience. Industrial Relations, 58(1), 33–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Scandinavian Business Seating Annual Report. (2008). Scandinavian Business Seating, Oslo.Google Scholar
  52. Scandinavian Business Seating Annual Report. (2011). Scandinavian Business Seating, Oslo.Google Scholar
  53. Schultz, M., Hatch, M. J., & Larsen, M. H. (2000). The expressive organization: Linking identity, reputation, and the corporate brand. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Sethi, S. P. (2003). Globalization and the good corporation: A need for proactive co-existence. Journal of Business Ethics, 43(1–2), 21–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sethi, S. P. (2008). Defining the notion of Good Corporation in the context of globalization: A paradigm shift from corporate social responsibility to corporate social accountability. In A. Scherer & G. Palazzo (Eds.), Handbook of research on global corporate citizenship (pp. 74–98). Zurich: Edgar Elgar.Google Scholar
  56. Strand, R. (2009). Corporate responsibility in Scandinavian supply chains. Journal of Business Ethics, 85, 179–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Strand, R. (2013). The chief officer of corporate social responsibility: A study of its presence in top management teams. Journal of Business Ethics, 112(4), 721–734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Suchman, M. C. (1995). Managing legitimacy: Strategic and institutional approaches. Academy of Management Review, 20(3), 571–610.Google Scholar
  59. Tamagno, S., & Aasland, T. (Eds.). (2000). Invitasjon til dialog [Invitation to a dialogue]. Oslo: Hydro Media.Google Scholar
  60. Tengblad, S., & Ohlsson, C. (2010). The framing of corporate social responsibility and the globalization of national business systems: A longitudinal case study. Journal of Business Ethics, 93(4), 653–669.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Tesch, R. (1990). Qualitative research: Analysis types and software tools. New York: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  62. Trygstad, S., & Lismoen, H. (2008). Fagbevegelsen og CSR [The trade union movement and CSR]. Oslo: Fafo.Google Scholar
  63. Vallentin, S., & Murillo, D. (2010). Government, governance and collaborative social responsibility. In A. Tencati & L. Zsolnai (Eds.), The collaborative enterprise. Bern: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  64. Visser, W. (2011). The age of responsibility: CSR 2.0 and the new DNA of business. West Sussex: Wiley.Google Scholar
  65. Vogel, D. (1992). The globalization of business ethics: Why America remains distinctive. California Management Review, 35(1), 30–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Whitley, R. (1997). Business systems. In A. Sorge & M. Warner (Eds.), The IEBM handbook of organizational behaviour (pp. 173–186). London: International Thomson Business Press.Google Scholar
  67. Whitley, R. (1998). Internationalization and varieties of capitalism: The limited effects of cross-national coordination of economic activities on the nature of business systems. Review of International Political Economy, 5(3), 445–481.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Willums, J. (2005). Voluntary partnerships as a social asset. In A. Habisch, M. Wegner, R. Schmidpeter, & J. Jonker (Eds.), Corporate social responsibility across Europe (pp. 37–50). Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Yin, R. K. (2003). Case study research. Design and methods. London: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Siri Granum Carson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Øivind Hagen
    • 2
  • S. Prakash Sethi
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyNTNU Norwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Department of Leadership and Organizational BehaviourBI Norwegian Business SchoolOsloNorway
  3. 3.Zicklin School of Business, Baruch CollegeCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations