Managing corporate social responsibility: Are companies following a trend?

Martin Olsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has over the past years gained increasing awareness in the society as a whole, interesting stakeholders and accordingly attained prominence on the corporate agenda. A challenge for companies is to build a business case for CSR, defending the new investments with positive payback to the company. Even though the perception is somewhat changing, many companies today still view CSR as an isolated costly activity, de-coupled from core business. The aim for this thesis is to analyse if companies are fully integrating their CSR into their business in order to make the concept of CSR more tangible towards the stakeholders. CSR is an elusive concept and numerous and distinct definitions exist. Each individual corporation should define CSR according to context including range of stakeholders, core expertise and skills. CSR should furthermore be integrated into vision, values, strategies, and organizational culture and into business operations. This implies that there is no one size that fits all definition. A corporate-wide integration of CSR is influenced by what motives and outcomes corporations are driven by when engaging in CSR. The context of two case companies’ (Novozymes and Danisco) was the foundation of the research. Both companies have increased their focus on CSR and sustainability and both claim that it is built into the core strategies of the companies. With that in mind, the first part of the thesis aimed at analysing how the companies presented themselves and if this was linked to CSR strategies, looking into values/mission vision statements of the companies. The second part of the thesis aimed at understanding if the case companies had fully integrated their CSR agenda into their core business. The findings demonstrated a high level of integration from the case companies. The third part of the thesis was to understand how the companies influence the sensemaking processes of CSR towards their employees.

EducationsMSc in Strategy, Organization and Leadership, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages90