The Debate over Corporate Social Responsibility

By Steve May; George Cheney et al. | Go to book overview

6

Corporate Social Responsibility
in Scandinavia
A Turn Toward the Business Case?

METTE MORSING ATLE MIDTTUN KARL PALMÅS

Scandinavian companies have a long history of integrating issues of ethics and social responsibility into corporate strategies, and today these issues seem to appear with a renewed urgency in the wake of globalization. While Scandinavian companies since the 1980s have been exposed to strong environmental regulation and so have integrated environmental concerns into their business strategies for a number of years, many Scandinavian managers also claim that ethics and social responsibilities always have been an inherent way of doing business. Often, the social initiatives have been implemented in an informal and even implicit way as a response to current local expectations and demands. Lately, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) discussions in Scandinavian companies engage a new tone of international concern and call for a systematic and conspicuous corporate commitment as Scandinavian companies experience the consequences of globalization.

In this chapter, we explore the interplay among state, society, and business as we depict how CSR unfolds in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. First, we briefly outline five analytical approaches to CSR and position the Scandinavian perspectives. Then, we outline some characteristics in the Scandinavian context for CSR initiatives in the small welfare states. Next, we introduce how CSR unfolds in each of the three countries: in what shape it emerged, what stakeholders were involved, and how it is developing today. We follow this with an outline of selected Scandinavian industries' CSR activities based on an empirical study. We end the chapter with a discussion of future challenges for CSR in Scandinavian companies.


APPROACHES TO CSR

While discussions of CSR and the influence of stakeholders are as old as the concept of the corporation itself (Carroll, 1999), it has developed throughout the twentieth century and engendered many conceptualizations. Across theories of stakeholder relations, there is a shared assumption that stakeholder engagement is critical and that CSR initiatives are needed. We define CSR initiatives as those actions taken to bridge organizational and stakeholder expectations. The stakeholder theories differ, however, in their conceptualizations of the corporate commitment to CSR, but across theories there is a general agreement on the distinction between CSR stemming from a desire to do good, that is, the “normative case,” and CSR reflecting an enlightened self-interest, that is, the “business case” (Smith, 2004). In our understanding of the business case, it is a question of companies' attempts to make rational sense of their CSR engagement and so arguing beyond the obligation to society as reason for engaging in CSR activities.

In her book Value Shift, Lynn Sharp Paine (2000) at Harvard Business School develops four

-87-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Debate over Corporate Social Responsibility
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 490

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.