Rhetoric and Realities
Edited by Regine Barth and Franziska Wolff
Chapter 9: CSR Practices Across Four Sectors: A Synthesis of the Surveys
Katharina Schmitt INTRODUCTION 9.1 This chapter synthesizes the four sector surveys presented in the preceding chapters. It provides evidence from the empirical research carried out among 49 European companies in four sectors in late 2005. The aim of the synthesis is to present similarities and differences in companies’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) perceptions, policies and implementation approaches (and hence CSR output and outcome) across sectors, issue areas and company sizes. The comparison is made in percentages in order to compare the fractions of the samples at hand. Given the sometimes small and also varying sizes of the samples, and given the fact that the samples are not random, this is not meant as a representative characterization. Through the synthesis, we identify three remarkable patterns. Firstly, independent of sector and size, the companies frame the concept of CSR not so much as a beyond-compliance strategy but rather as a means to enhance compliance with law. Secondly, by and large, the companies’ CSR approaches are linked to and coherent with their core business, rather than ‘bolt-on’. Thirdly, there is a distinct divide between the oil and banking sectors, on the one hand, and the fish processing industry and automotive sector SMEs, on the other, with regard to the development stage (or ‘maturity’) of their CSR approaches. In general, sector differences seem to better account for variance in CSR output and outcome than differences in issues or company size. 9.2 COMMON INTERPRETATION OF RESPONSIBILITY: FOCUSING ON COMPLIANCE When asked how they understand their...
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