Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Performance

Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Performance

Theories and Evidence about Organizational Responsibility

Tobias Gössling

Does it pay for businesses to act morally? This book attempts to answer this question. Taking a positive approach, it demonstrates that, under certain conditions, organizations can act responsibly and profitably at the same time. It elaborates on these conditions and provides evidence for the assumed positive relation between responsibility and profitability.

Chapter 8: Beyond Responsive Responsibility: An Empirical Study About the Possibilities for European Organizations to Engage in Sustainability at the Bottom of the Pyramid

Tobias Gössling

Subjects: business and management, corporate social responsibility, management and sustainability, organisation studies, environment, environmental management


Introduction Organizations should behave responsibly, since societies ask them to do so. Given the empirical evidence, it seems that organizations should also behave responsibly given their self-interest. However, organizational responsibility can go beyond responding to societal pressure and beyond the normative obligation to reduce harm that they are doing to societies. Societies expect organizations also to contribute to the overall wellbeing of society and provide financial means, for example, by donating to charities (c.f. Mohr and Webb, 2005). By doing so, organizations can contribute significantly to the quality of life of the respective society. This type of responsibility is often referred to as corporate citizenship or philanthropy. Corporate philanthropy is not necessarily product-related and does not affect the sheer quality of a product; neither does it impact on the production process. However, it can result in the ascription of moral qualities of the products of the respective organization. Apparently, consumers are willing to pay higher prices for products with a positive moral connotation (Dean, 2003; Mohr and Webb, 2005). Consumerism seems to be one of the driving forces behind CSR (Auger et al., 2003). Ethical consumers translate institutional pressure into market pressure. They base their consumption behaviour on their moral convictions and buy those products with a positive moral connotation and boycott those with a negative connotation. That is due to the fact that consumers feel responsibility towards societies and express this with 103 08 103-122 Chapter 8.indd 103 04/10/2011 14:20 104 Corporate social responsibility and business performance their...

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