Strategic CSR and Performance: The Strategic Effect of CSR Initiatives

Lisbeth Kjeldsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The purpose of this thesis has been to investigate the strategic effects of CSR, and its influence on company performance. Based on a multiple case-study of six Danish companies this thesis has evaluated the companies’ CSR initiatives in terms of their measured impacts and results. This has been done using a Resource-Based-View and a range of theories including Porter & Kramer’s theories on “strategic CSR” and “shared value” as well as Pfeffer & Salancik’s performance measures Efficiency and Effectiveness. The analysis has been conducted based on four research parameters (Eco-efficiency, Socio-efficiency, “shared value”, and Eco- & Socio-effectiveness). The first two research parameters aimed to investigate the six companies’ environmental and social initiatives in terms of their impacts and results. The third research parameter, “shared value”, aimed to evaluate the companies’ ability to identify, measure, and report the mutual benefits created from the CSR initiatives in terms of value to business and society. Finally, the fourth research parameter intended to examine the extent to which CSR has entailed new business opportunities and innovations for the companies resulting in a competitive advantage. The main conclusions from this thesis are that, despite the large number of CSR initiatives carried out by the companies, few of these can be classified as strategic CSR addressing a social issue effectively by leveraging company resources and capabilities, while also contributing to the companies’ competitiveness. Furthermore, it is evident from this research that the companies struggle to measure and quantify the business value created from their CSR initiatives, and that the value created to business, to a large extent, has yet to move beyond the enhancement of company reputation.

EducationsMSc in International Business, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages80