PurposeThis study aims to identify and analyze the different roles corporate social responsibility (CSR) can play in corporate strategy. By acknowledging that one of the biggest challenges for companies in committing to sustainability is the strategy work, the authors outline specific strategic initiatives to achieve these roles and the strategic outcomes that will follow such initiatives.Design/methodology/approachFour illustrative case examples show how companies are recasting the role of CSR. The new CSR roles are characterized through two strategic dimensions: an inside-out (firm-oriented) vs outside-in (market-oriented) orientation and an emphasis on leveraging vs an emphasis on prospecting activities.FindingsThe findings show that to realize the opportunities of CSR for business, the environment and society at large, the role of CSR in the boardroom must be reconfigured. By recasting its role, CSR can become a driver for the strategy process and a transformative force generating strategic changes.Practical implicationsThis paper aims to encourage top executives to take a proactive stance toward responsibility, recognize the new roles and potential impact that CSR can have in corporate strategy and assist strategic decision-making regarding CSR.Originality/valueThe paper aims to move beyond integrating sustainability into existing strategies and business models by demonstrating how sustainability can also inspire strategic changes a priori when the role of CSR is recast in companies. By viewing CSR as a driver of corporate strategy and strategic initiatives, the authors suggest that besides helping the environment, the community and society, CSR can take care of corporate strategy.
Journal of Business Strategy – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 16, 2018
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