Tailoring responses: How the Icelandic Fashion Industry Employ Strategies in a Response to CSR Pressures

Sigrún Ýr Árnadóttir

Student thesis: Master thesis


Organizational scholars are increasingly conceptualizing organizational responsiveness to institutional pressures as a strategic choice. The purpose of this thesis is to ultimately examine CSR within Icelandic fashion companies in terms of pressures and responses. Based on those insights, this thesis explores how those companies shape their strategic responses depending on different pressures or type of company. The thesis delves into how fashion companies experience this pressure from different sources and accounts for how the industry should execute strategic responses based on those pressures. In particular, the study relies on a multiple case study methodology, that includes interviews with managers of six different Icelandic fashion companies, divided into three groups depending on their CSR emphasis, plus interviews with two industry specialists. The thesis uses DiMaggio and Powell’s (1983) typology of the sources of isomorphic change (i.e., change that makes organizations adopt similar structures, processes, and outputs) to identify the institutional pressure for CSR. This study assumes that the fashion companies respond to institutional pressures strategically; hence the thesis uses Oliver’s (1991) typology to explore the variations in responses across the cases and to examine connection between the use of different strategies and characteristics of the institutional environment. The main findings show that the source of CSR pressure comes from financial uncertainty and stakeholders, such as customers, competitors and authorities, and strong leadership; however the companies experience this pressure in a substantially different way. The response towards this pressure depends on these different experiences as well as different types of companies. Most importantly this study shows that strategic responses towards institutional pressures are contingent because companies are dissimilar, that is companies employ stronger responses towards isomorphic pressures, if they have more emphasis on CSR.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages79