Embedding CSR in Danish Organizations: An Operational Model of CSR Embeddedness

Mette Fisker & Jonas Jonsson

Student thesis: Master thesis


Recent literature in the CSR-HRM nexus has revealed the importance of companies embedding CSR internally in the organizational culture, and fostering affective commitment to CSR among all employees. However, little is understood of how companies can effectively embed CSR and there are critical shortcomings in existing literature, including a lack of in-depth qualitative studies that incorporate the employee perspective and contextual factors. These are important because CSR embeddedness is a highly contextual phenomenon that is manifested in affective employee commitment, comprising knowledge of, identification with and emotional attachment to CSR. We address these shortcomings by conducting an in-depth qualitative study interviewing employees and managers in several Danish organizations, revealing the conditions under which CSR can be effectively embedded. The thesis is guided by a predictor-criterion approach, which is rather underappreciated in business management studies, and has major implications for social science research, as it reflects a normative scientific approach, in which the criterion variable (CSR embeddedness) represents a desired outcome. Through this approach, we are able to construct a model of CSR embeddedness based on data from our company cases. The model contains eight predictor variables encompassing CSR conceptualization, top management engagement, holistic CSR, CSR communication and employee involvement that are directly linked to CSR embeddedness. The model also contains eight contextual variables that encompass national country context, industrial context and organizational context. The contextual variables are important facilitators of many of the predictor variables or preconditions whose absence would undermine the company's CSR efforts. The implications of our research are threefold, as it demonstrates the applicability of the predictor-criterion approach in research on CSR embeddedness, provides an empirically based operational framework for managers to embed CSR, and forms the basis for a number of policy recommendations for the Danish government and for the UN to strengthen CSR embeddedness.

EducationsMSc in Business, Language and Culture - Business and Development Studies, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages128
SupervisorsCharles T. Tackney