CSR as Corporate Political Activity

Observations on IKEA’s CSR Identity–Image Dynamics

Mette Morsing, Anne Roepstorff

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    In this article, we develop a conceptual framework to understand how a company’s CSR identity becomes defined as a political activity destabilizing the strong identity–image relations. We draw on theories of political CSR and organizational identity–image relations to study how CSR emerges as a corporate political activity in a context where the corporate CSR work is first appreciated and later critiqued by the public in the wake of socio-political events. We analyse the micro-organizational processes in the context of macro-political level changes, and we refer to this as the ‘identity–image dynamics of political CSR’. Concretely, we describe in two vignettes how IKEA’s declared ‘apolitical and neutral’ CSR identity becomes entangled with national and international socio-political events that critically challenge the corporate engagement prior national understandings of citizenship rights. In this process, IKEA’s CSR identity becomes defined as a political and non-neutral activity. Our article contributes by bringing attention to the organizational level dynamics of political CSR by offering a conceptualization of how global and local socio-political events may disturb the alignment between CSR identity and image and challenge the corporate CSR work beyond managerial control.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Business Ethics
    Volume128
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)395-409
    Number of pages15
    ISSN0167-4544
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - May 2015

    Cite this

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    title = "CSR as Corporate Political Activity: Observations on IKEA’s CSR Identity–Image Dynamics",
    abstract = "In this article, we develop a conceptual framework to understand how a company’s CSR identity becomes defined as a political activity destabilizing the strong identity–image relations. We draw on theories of political CSR and organizational identity–image relations to study how CSR emerges as a corporate political activity in a context where the corporate CSR work is first appreciated and later critiqued by the public in the wake of socio-political events. We analyse the micro-organizational processes in the context of macro-political level changes, and we refer to this as the ‘identity–image dynamics of political CSR’. Concretely, we describe in two vignettes how IKEA’s declared ‘apolitical and neutral’ CSR identity becomes entangled with national and international socio-political events that critically challenge the corporate engagement prior national understandings of citizenship rights. In this process, IKEA’s CSR identity becomes defined as a political and non-neutral activity. Our article contributes by bringing attention to the organizational level dynamics of political CSR by offering a conceptualization of how global and local socio-political events may disturb the alignment between CSR identity and image and challenge the corporate CSR work beyond managerial control.",
    keywords = "Corporate social responsibility (CSR) , Political CSR, Organizational identity–image relations, CSR identity, IKEA",
    author = "Mette Morsing and Anne Roepstorff",
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    language = "English",
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    journal = "Journal of Business Ethics",
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    CSR as Corporate Political Activity : Observations on IKEA’s CSR Identity–Image Dynamics. / Morsing, Mette; Roepstorff, Anne.

    In: Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 128, No. 2, 05.2015, p. 395-409.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

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    T2 - Observations on IKEA’s CSR Identity–Image Dynamics

    AU - Morsing, Mette

    AU - Roepstorff, Anne

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    Y1 - 2015/5

    N2 - In this article, we develop a conceptual framework to understand how a company’s CSR identity becomes defined as a political activity destabilizing the strong identity–image relations. We draw on theories of political CSR and organizational identity–image relations to study how CSR emerges as a corporate political activity in a context where the corporate CSR work is first appreciated and later critiqued by the public in the wake of socio-political events. We analyse the micro-organizational processes in the context of macro-political level changes, and we refer to this as the ‘identity–image dynamics of political CSR’. Concretely, we describe in two vignettes how IKEA’s declared ‘apolitical and neutral’ CSR identity becomes entangled with national and international socio-political events that critically challenge the corporate engagement prior national understandings of citizenship rights. In this process, IKEA’s CSR identity becomes defined as a political and non-neutral activity. Our article contributes by bringing attention to the organizational level dynamics of political CSR by offering a conceptualization of how global and local socio-political events may disturb the alignment between CSR identity and image and challenge the corporate CSR work beyond managerial control.

    AB - In this article, we develop a conceptual framework to understand how a company’s CSR identity becomes defined as a political activity destabilizing the strong identity–image relations. We draw on theories of political CSR and organizational identity–image relations to study how CSR emerges as a corporate political activity in a context where the corporate CSR work is first appreciated and later critiqued by the public in the wake of socio-political events. We analyse the micro-organizational processes in the context of macro-political level changes, and we refer to this as the ‘identity–image dynamics of political CSR’. Concretely, we describe in two vignettes how IKEA’s declared ‘apolitical and neutral’ CSR identity becomes entangled with national and international socio-political events that critically challenge the corporate engagement prior national understandings of citizenship rights. In this process, IKEA’s CSR identity becomes defined as a political and non-neutral activity. Our article contributes by bringing attention to the organizational level dynamics of political CSR by offering a conceptualization of how global and local socio-political events may disturb the alignment between CSR identity and image and challenge the corporate CSR work beyond managerial control.

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    KW - Political CSR

    KW - Organizational identity–image relations

    KW - CSR identity

    KW - IKEA

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