durable furniture for the majority of people.27 I. Kamprad states that IKEA should “stand on the side of the majority of people, which involves taking on more responsibility than might at first seem to be the case”.28 A recent example is the company’s exceptionally costly move into the Russian market, but considered necessary as affordable furniture is a pressing need for the Russian population.29 The democratic design also involves representing the interests of ordinary people and getting rid of designs, which are difficult and expensive to produce, even if it is easy to sell.30 The concept was formalized in 1976 in Ingvar Kamprad’s thesis “Testament of a Furniture Dealer”, which became an important way to spread the IKEA philosophy.31 The fundamental goal was and is to provide affordable furniture for the people and cost cutting is key to achieving this. Cost-consciousness is a strong part of the business idea and the waste of resources is considered a “mortal sin at IKEA”32. By ensuring that ordinary people are able to afford to furnish their homes beautifully, many associate IKEA with a company that stands on the side of the “little person” and this is a positive image for a company to have. In addition to this, I. Kamprad had another dream: the “dream of good capitalism” which is the idea that the good in a profit-making business can be combined with a lasting social vision. This implies the goal of developing and achieving a better future for IKEA’s customers as well as people working for IKEA believing that by working for IKEA, they are working for a better society and thereby contributing to a better world.33
3. 2 Definition and development of the concept of CSR
There seems to be an infinite number of definitions of CSR, ranging from the simplistic to the complex and a range of associated terms and ideas - including corporate sustainability, corporate citizenship, corporate social investment, the triple bottom line34, socially responsible investment, business sustainability, corporate governance amongst others. In accordance with the EU definition of CSR35, it can usually be agreed upon that CSR consists of taking on more responsibility than the purely traditional economic one or more than is required by law.36 This is normally understood as encompassing environmental and social responsibilities.37 In other terms, CSR implies a stakeholder view, e.g. that companies have responsibilities beyond the need to generate returns for their shareholders. This is obviously not in line with the shareholder view of the firm as formulated by Milton Friedman (1970): “the business of business is business”. CSR is in this regard considered merely as a useless fad. This stance is often upheld to the difficulty in measuring the direct financial benefits of CSR.38 The correlation between CSR and financial results, albeit not necessarily positive has, however, not been proven to be negative.39 There is still ambiguity in that regard in the field of research.
27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 Edvardsson, B & Enquist, B. (2002). Bartlett, C. et al (2006), p. 167. Interview, Gyhlenius, A., 2008-11-10. Edvardsson, B & Enquist, B. (2002). Bartlett, C. et al (2006), p. 4. Bartlett, C. et al (2006), p. 4. Bartlett, C. et al (2006), p. 170. A sustainable organization must be financially secure, eliminate its negative environmental impacts and must act in accordance with societal expectations (Elkington, 1997). http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/soc-dial/csr/csr_resolution.html. McWilliams, A. & Siegel, D., (2000). Carroll, A. (1999). http://www.hhs.se/NR/rdonlyres/035F48F1-C830-480F-BBAC-3BF66CF374F7/0/DI20080903.pdf. McWilliams, A. & Siegel, D., (2000), Waddock, S. & Graves, S., (2003), Orlitzky, M. (1997). 35 36 37 38 39