In this age of information, firms are losing control of their image. Perhaps this is one reason that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become a buzzword among packaged food industry leaders – firms seem determined to show stakeholders that they have values and behave responsibly, and are driven by more than the prospect of financial gain. They produce elaborate annual sustainability reports in which they meticulously account for their CSR efforts. Nevertheless, according to the literature, it is unlikely that CSR is actually intrinsically motivated by the values of firms. This paper aims to uncover how self-reported motivations for different dimensions of CSR can be explained by distinct aspects of the organizational environment. We take a qualitative approach to accomplish this aim. First, we classify self-reported motivations for CSR according to the Triple Bottom Line (3BL). We then classify the same motivations according to the stakeholders and institutional pillars that comprise the organizational environment of the firms. We use a combination of Institutional Theory (IT) and Stakeholder Management (SM) to investigate how and to what extent different types of stakeholders and institutional pressures influence specific packaged food firm motivations. Our findings show that motivations that are framed as intrinsic or values-based can be explained by external pressures. We also conclude that in addition to legislation and normative obligations, social pressure is an effective driver for CSR. Overall, this paper shows that different types of institutions and stakeholders motivate different types of CSR, and that these motivators can be used to drive policy.
Journal of Cleaner Production – Elsevier
Published: May 20, 2016
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