Step-by-step solution file
1.Summarize findings of one scholarly article that addresses the
In an essay of at least 500 words,
Summarize findings of the attached scholarly article that addresses the degree to which CSR influences the corporate bottom line.
- Explain how your research did or did not affect whether you agree with the shareholder or stakeholder perspectives.
1.Summarize findings of one scholarly article that addresses the degree to which CSR influences the
corporate bottom line.
2.Explain how your research did or did not affect whether you agree with the shareholder or stakeholder
perspectives as identified in this lesson. 1. Introduction In 2013, a Coca-Cola television advertisement claimed that proper labeling, sugar substitutes, and
portion control make it possible to be healthy while consuming Coke products. This prompted one
YouTube user to voice over the advertisement1 in a way that attacks the company's original message
with information about safety of the sugar substitutes that they use and the health risks associated with
consuming Coke products, featuring the message that not all calories are created equal. The satirical
advertisement also points a finger at Coca-Cola for being a cause of the obesity epidemic. The video
went viral, and while it is unclear if or how this affected sales, the message certainly reached an
enormous international audience. The Coca-Cola advertisement voiceover is just one example of how
major players in the packaged food industry have taken hits to their reputations as a result of modern
outlets of communication.
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 like Coca-Cola ? firms seem
determined to show their stakeholders that they have values and behave responsibly, and that they are
driven by more than just the prospect of financial gain. For this reason, they produce elaborate annual
sustainability reports in which they meticulously account for their CSR efforts (see Shnayder et al., 2015).
According to the literature, it is unlikely that CSR is actually intrinsically motivated by the values of firms.
First, CSR is a multidimensional construct most often perceived to be divisible into three categories:
people, planet and profit ? the so-called ?Triple Bottom Line? (3BL) (Elkington, 1997). This view of CSR
was born as a policy guideline, but has also been used as a basis for theory in the literature (see Nikolaou
et al., 2013). The existence of a ?profit? category, which captures financial gain, already demonstrates
that values alone cannot be responsible for CSR. While some studies find an intrinsic component to CSR
motivation (see Graafland and Mazereeuw-Van der Duijn Schouten, 2012) the theoretical perspectives
on the topic, particularly for larger firms, support the idea that the choice to engage in CSR is not
motivated intrinsically (see Garriga and Melé, 2004 for an overview). Some CSR theories focus on selfserving behavior based on the idea that the responsibilities of firms are purely economic. One example is
Cause Related Marketing, which suggests that the point of CSR is to encourage customers to engage in
revenue-providing exchanges (Varadarajan and Menon, 1988). Other perspectives are based on a specific
or contextually limited focus such as human rights (see Cassel, 2001); or on the role of the firm in
society, where society is defined only in terms of a specific group of stakeholders (Mahon and McGowan,
1991 and Velasquez, 1992); or focus only on pre-defined responsibilities (see Davis, 1967 and Logsdon and Wood, 2002), thereby limiting the perspective of the approach. Despite their differences, one
commonality between all of the approaches is that CSR is motivated by the organizational environment
and as such, not by the existence of intrinsic values within a firm. The relationship between this
organizational environment and different dimensions of CSR remains largely unexplored. Gaining insight
into this relationship is vital if we are to understand what motivates CSR.
This paper aims to uncover how self-reported motivations for different dimensions of CSR can be
explained by different aspects of the organizational environment. To accomplish this aim, we empirically
classify self-reported CSR motivations according to frameworks that we derive from the literature. We
first classify the motivations for CSR according to the Triple Bottom Line. The organizational environment
is often conceptualized to consist of institutions that affect the organization (DiMaggio and Powell, 1983
and North, 2005) and stakeholders that affect the organization (Pfeffer and Salancik, 2003). We use a
combination of Institutional Theory (IT) and Stakeholder Management (SM) to explain these motivations.
From IT, we use Scott (1995) three pillars to determine the regulative, normative, or cultural-cognitive
nature of the identified motivations. From SM, we use Clarkson (1995) stakeholder categories to
investigate how and to what extent different types of stakeholders influence packaged food firms. We
thereby follow the suggestion by Aguinis and Glavas (2012) to combine different levels of analysis to
explain CSR ? in this case, institutional and organizational.
Empirically, we use qualitative methods to study the packaged food industry in the context of the
aforementioned theory. We base our conclusions on self-reported motivations from a combination of
annual CSR reports and oral interviews. In doing so, we take a bottom-up approach, looking to the
packaged food firms themselves to help us further investigate their motivations for CSR.
Understanding motivations for CSR is of particular importance in the packaged food industry. Firms in
this remarkably large industry are few, influential, and difficult to avoid. With the industry's great
lobbying power, legislation is not always an effective means of regulating behavior. Packaged food firms
have the resources and political influence to impact legislation and influence it's direction (Nestle, 2007,
pp92). A clearer understanding of the conditions under which firms choose to participate in responsible
initiatives and make responsible choices can help policy makers to manipulate those conditions to
encourage such behavior, while decreasing time and resources spent battling these firms on the
In the following sections of this paper, we will discuss different frameworks and complimentary theories
for CSR, and show how we arrived at SM and IT as the most fitting context in which to analyze CSR
motivations. We then discuss our empirical methods, demonstrate our results, and finish with some
concluding remarks. 2. The industry
We define packaged food as foods that are, to at least some extent, processed such as convenience
foods, chips and cookies, frozen foods, pastas, sauces, oils and spices, and much more. Though we limit our definition to foods that have been processed, we choose to use the term ?packaged food? over
?processed food? because it relates to all relevant foods equally and helps to mitigate health-related
biases associated with processed foods. Empirically, we chose to limit our study to the packaged food
industry because it serves as an important case in demonstrating the capacity of SM and IT to explain
CSR behavior that firms claim to be intrinsically motivated. As a remarkably large and influential industry,
understanding the motivations for CSR in packaged food can have positive social implications, in addition
to serving as a case to demonstrate the theoretical framework from which we can continue to study CSR.
There are a myriad of features that separate this industry as an exemplary case.
One distinguishing feature is enormity of size. Forbes Magazine estimates the worth of the packaged
food industry at almost $1.6 trillion (Murray, 2007). Numbers that large imply strong public influence as
they show that consumers are truly dependent on the industry's products, making accountability by
packaged food firms exceptionally important (Nestle, 2007). Perhaps more crucially, globalization and
the worldwide spread of western urbanized lifestyles ensure that the industry will continue to grow in
coming years (Murray, 2007). This ensures that there is a lot of money to be made for the few huge
multinational food companies with very concentrated market power that make up this industry (Stuckler
and Nestle, 2012). In addition to its uniquely large size and potential for growth, the packaged food industry enjoys the
benefit of unwavering demand. Simply put, everyone must eat, and because of the aforementioned
spread of western urbanized lifestyles, subsistence farming is no longer our day-to-day. As such,
patronizing the packaged food industry has become very difficult to avoid without significant and
inconvenient lifestyle changes. Eating packaged food is easy, while avoiding it requires effort and
forethought. The few huge multinational packaged food companies (all of whom enjoy very
concentrated market power) reap the benefits of this (Stuckler and Nestle, 2012). Beyond their inherent
presence in the lives of consumers, these firms are also essential to the survival of their supply chain
partners. Armed with this knowledge, they wield this power for financial gain (Oxfam, 2013).
Another separating factor is that packaged foods, in particular those that are ultra-processed, have
pointedly longer supply chains as compared to industries for most other commercial goods. It is not
uncommon for ultra-processed snack foods to contain thirty or forty ingredients, each of which contains
its own supply chain. Chains this large can be difficult to manage, as it is virtually impossible to control
the ongoing processes at each individual stage. This makes it difficult to accurately guarantee values like
healthiness, environmental friendliness, or human rights throughout the supply chain.
The final distinguishing feature of this industry that we discuss is that food is different from most other
consumer products because we ingest it. This brings forward ethical issues that go beyond economics
such as human health, disease risk, and quality of life. Some components of food such as fat, sugar, and
salt, have been directly linked to negative physical effects on the human body (Poirier et al., 2006), but
there is also a psychological component to consider. Foods that are high in sugar and other refined
sweeteners, refined carbohydrates, fat, salt, and caffeine have been shown to cause addiction, which leads to an overconsumption of these items and perpetuates the cycle of physical and psychological
damage (Ifland et al., 2009).
These features mean that industry has a wide range of stakeholders worldwide, and is subject to many
different institutional pressures. This makes the packaged food industry a prime example of a
stakeholder management and institutional context. In addition, it also shares characteristics with other
large and influential sectors, such as energy or pharmaceuticals, which allows for some level of
generalization. This makes it a clear and comprehensible example for future researchers looking to study
motivations for CSR among influential firms in other large industries. 3. Theory
In this section, we discuss the dimensions of Corporate Social Responsibility and how firms are
motivated to engage in CSR practices. Following Campbell (2007), we define CSR using two criteria: (1)
Knowingly doing no harm to stakeholders; and (2) Rectifying unknowingly done harm as soon as it is
discovered. The broadness of this definition allows for a high level of inclusion. This is important because
a limited definition of CSR restricts the discussion of motivations for CSR to motivations for behaviors
that fit within the limited definition. This can be particularly concerning when definitions of CSR differ
between science, industry, and government. It inadvertently prompts the three to work towards
different goals, even when the intention to collaborate is there. More specific definitions of CSR are quite
prevalent in the literature (see Moir, 2001 and Wood, 1991) and in policy (Commission of the European
Communities, 2002), with countless additional definitions and adaptations thereof being used by firms
on their websites and in sustainability reporting.
Methodologically, we gravitate towards the broad for two reasons. First, a broad definition is in line with
our bottom-up approach. Since we are dealing with self-reported motivations for self-reported CSR
behavior, a broad definition of CSR allows us to include everything that the firm reports without setting
theoretical boundaries or limitations. A more restrictive definition could force us to exclude motivations
for behaviors that were reported by the firms as responsible but did not fit with that particular definition
of CSR, thereby contradicting our bottom-up approach. Second, Campbell uses this definition to offer an
institutional perspective on CSR, which is consistent with our own theoretical framework. This is
supported by other authors in the field of CSR (see, for example, De Villiers et al., 2014).
We continue by introducing the Triple Bottom Line as a framework for classifying motivations. We then
discuss stakeholder management and the role of stakeholders as actors in motivating CSR behaviors.
Finally, we talk about the concept of institutions, how they arise, and the pressures that they put on
firms. 3.1. Categorizing CSR motivations: the triple bottom line The Triple Bottom Line (Elkington, 1997) is widely used in the management literature to classify CSR
behaviors. It is based on the idea by sustainability consultant, John Elkington, that companies, which
consider their effects on people, the planet, and profit, are taking into account the full cost of doing
business. The idea of 3BL arose from the 1987 Brundtland Report, the document that served as the
culmination of an international summit with the goal of uniting to pursue sustainable development
(World Commission, 1987). However, it was not until after Elkington's book was published ten years later
that the model went viral. Firms began to use these three categories to describe their efforts to be more
sustainable and responsible. The Dutch petroleum company, Shell, set this standard, and other firms
quickly followed (Idea: Triple Bottom Line, 2009). Researchers have followed the lead of the firms,
adopting this framework as a tool for studying CSR (see Lozano and Huisingh, 2011, Rana and Platts,
2008 and Silberhorn and Warren, 2007). This framework has some well-documented flaws, particularly
pertaining to measurement, category interdependence, and effectiveness in improving compliance with
CSR policy (see for example Norman and Macdonald, 2003 and Sridhar and Jones, 2012). However, it is
still the mainstream standard for sustainability reporting in many industries (see Raar, 2002), including
packaged food (see Wognum et al., 2011). Nikolaou et al. (2013) offer a well-researched theoretical
overview of 3BL.
The criteria used in this framework are both general and fairly standard among its uses. People is the
social category. It is comprised of everything related to how the firms' actions affect people. This
includes topics such as health, human rights, safety, fairness, diversity, and others. Planet is the
environmental category. It includes everything related to how the firm's actions effect the environment.
In this category are topics such as pollution, waste, recycling, environmental protection, and others.
Profit is the financial category. It includes everything that concerns the firm's financial well-being. Here
we find topics such as growth, marketing, competitiveness, and others. Topics can be categorized across
multiple categories if they are related to more than one 3BL category ( Shnayder et al., 2015).
Considering the wide use of this framework in categorizing and assessing the responsibility of firms'
behaviors, we use the same framework to categorize the motivations behind each of those behaviors.
This allows us to contextualize motivations for CSR using a framework that is already well understood
and well accepted among firms and organizational behavior researchers. Furthermore, motivations are
discussed together with their respective behaviors in the sustainability reports. Given that behaviors are
usually tied to 3BL categories, categorizing motivations in the same way allows for simplicity and
consistency. Motivations for People-based behaviors are placed in the People category, motivations for
Planet-based behaviors are placed in the Planet category, and motivations for Profit-based behavior are
placed in the Profit category. Based on this classification, motivations can be divided into two categories,
depending on whether they are framed by the firm as values-based or profit-based. All motivations that
are framed as being in no way associated with profit, but as stemming from the firm's own intrinsic
values are categorized as values-based. All motivations for which firms admit a pathway to monetary
gain are categorized as profit-based. 3.2. Explaining CSR motivations: stakeholder management and institutional theory We chose theoretical perspectives that compliment each other's limitations, and through their
consistency with our broad definition of CSR, do not infringe on our bottom up approach.
We use Institutional Theory (DiMaggio and Powell, 1991 and Scott, 1995) to identify the types of
pressures that firms experience to engage in CSR. IT is a general theory that places strong emphasis on
firm behavior as a function of pressures from the firms' environments (Lewin et al., 2004.) We use the
flexible structural framework to explore the conditions under which organizations in the packaged food
industry are motivated to behave responsibly. This theory has been applied previously to CSR (Campbell,
2007 and Jones, 1999) and is the source of our broad definition. In our discussion of the institutions that
put pressure on firms, we must also discuss the actors that initiate, strengthen, and break down these
institutions ? stakeholders.
As previously mentioned, Campbell (2007) offers an institutional perspective of CSR: a term, which he
defines using the concept of stakeholders. He attests that researchers in both the CSR and IT bodies of
literature recognize that the way that corporations treat their stakeholders depends on the institutions
within which they operate, citing some examples (Fligstein and Freeland, 1995 and Hall and Soskice,
2001). More recently, Doh and Guay (2006) declare that differences in institutional environments affect
the efficacy of specific stakeholders within that institutional context. We take these ideas one step
further and agree with Scott (1995) that organizations (both firms and stakeholder groups, in this case)
are not only influenced by their institutional context but can also influence it, albeit much less
dramatically. We use stakeholder management (Sturdivant, 1979) to identify the stakeholders to which
the firm is responsible and the institution-embedded motivations that are instigated or perpetuated by
these stakeholders. In practice, the concept of stakeholders as actors often arises in the discussion of the practical
implications of institutional pressures on firms (e.g. Doh and Guay, 2006 and Oliver, 1991). Though some
researchers see SM and IT as mutually exclusive (e.g. Mitchell et al., 1997 and Husted and Allen, 2006),
the two theories are more commonly seen as complimentary (Aguinis and Glavas, 2012), By combining
SM and IT, we are able to explain who incites or perpetuates institutional pressures, and how these
pressures motivate CSR. 3.2.1. Institutional theory and CSR IT unpacks the effects of influences and pressures from institutions on organizations. Institutions are
organized sets of schemas, rules, norms and routines, which become a strong and authoritative set of
(often) unwritten rules for behavior. Institutions can influence all aspects of organizational behavior,
including those that go beyond profit maximization (Jepperson, 1991 and Scott, 1995). Scott (1995) categorizes institutions based on the manner in which they influence firms: the Regulative
pillar, the Normative pillar, and the Cultural-cognitive pillar. The Regulative pillar encompasses
institutions that pressure organizational behavior using laws, directives, and other compulsory
regulations. In the context of the packaged food industry, these sanctions could come from policy makers
at all levels of government or para-statal organizations, and often motivate behaviors with significant
public stakes such as health, food safety or non-discriminatory hiring practices. Of regulative institutions,
Scott (1995, pg. 62) writes:
The institutional logic underlying the regulative pillar is an instrumental one: Individuals craft laws and
rules that they believe will advance their interests, and individuals conform to laws and rules because
they seek the attendant rewards or wish to avoid sanctions.
While governments are the formal law-making bodies, other stakeholders can participate in crafting
rules and laws to advance their interests. Stakeholders can create, change, or strengthen regulative
institutions by being vocal about their interests. For example, if consumers are interested in improving
the nutritional value of a given line of products, they may stage a boycott or contact news outlets,
thereby catching the attention of policymakers. They may even initiate a letter-writing campaign to their
elected leaders, directly. Action in pursuit of this goal on the part of the consumers could lead to the
creation, change, or strengthening of regulative institutions that begin to govern food ingredients more
strictly. These types of institutions are very formal. Regulations are usually handed down from an
organized and legitimate legislative body. The terms of the regulation are explicit, and the consequences
for non-compliance are clear.
The Normative pillar often encompasses institutions that encourage organizational behavior using moral
or ethical criteria, usually in compliance with external or industry standards. In the context of the
packaged food industry, this could include the fulfillment of criteria set by popular certifying bodies such
as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) or the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), or optin self-regulation such as the EU Pledge ( WFA supports Children's Food and Beverage Advertising
Initiative, 2007), which regulates the advertisement of junk food to children. Using the same example as with the Regulative pillar, if the consumers' nutritional interests are become
a threat to the firms' collective success, this could prompt normative cooperatives, agreements, or
certifications on the part of the industry in order to save face with their customers. These types of
institutions are less formal than regulative institutions but do require some level of formality in
organization, enforcement of requirements or restrictions, and the potential involvement of third party
organizations such as certifying bodies. The Cultural-cognitive pillar encompasses less tangible institutions that encourage organizational
behavior with social pressures and conformity. This is a highly tacit category, and includes external
pressures based on shared beliefs and taken-for-granted actions. As such, Cultural-cognitive institutions
are the least formal of institutions. No official rules are set, and the consequences for non-compliance
are not always clear or understood. Institutions from this pillar can encourage isomorphism between
firms. As more firms adopt certain behaviors, they become normal or standard, causing the remaining
firms to hop on board. This can be demonstrated using the consumer nutrition example from the
previous two pillars. As consumers begin to act on their interest in nutrition, other stakeholders may pick
up on this and join in with actions of their own. The institutions surrounding nutrition strengthen and
organizations begin to succumb to pressures from those institutions by updating their processes to
accommodate these new, healthier recipes. As the institutions continue to gain momentum and more
organizations engage in this behavior, isomorphism takes over and the new processes become the norm.
Scott (1995) elaborates that the Cultural-cognitive pillar serves as the deepest foundation of institutions.
Institutions emerge from this pillar to set a cultural precedent, which then guides the Regulative and
Normative pillars to adopt and strengthen the institutions. Like all organizations, firms in the packaged food industry are affected by institutions. Because of its size
and scope, this industry is on the radar of many government organizations, locally, nationally, and
internationally (Brownell and Warner, 2009). Institutions are constantly at play in both the internal and
external corporate environment within this (and every other) industry, motivating the affected firms to
engage in certain actions ( Scott, 1995). In our discussion of motivations for CSR in the packaged food
industry, we use IT as a structural framework, by which we investigate the conditi...
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