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5. Theoretical overview

The research field of CSR is a rather young field but nevertheless constitutes a large body of research. In order to answer our research question on how and why IKEA engages in CSR, we reviewed a multitude of theories and previous research findings. We chose to focus on literature with direct relevance to CSR and using more general theories merely as background research. The main clusters of research which emerge in the field are: development of the CSR concept and definition over time, CSR as integrated into the strategy of a company, motivations and approaches to CSR169, and communication of CSR. We have chosen to review the latter three clusters as we believe these research bodies will enable us to get a dynamic picture of CSR at IKEA. We have excluded the development of the CSR concept and definition over time, as this research is very descriptive and does not contribute to studying the phenomenon. A brief overview of this field is given in section 3.2. The research on CSR strategy is rather limited and the term strategy is used in a rather broad fashion within the literature; it includes both different CSR strategies as well as how CSR ties into corporate strategy. We have included both CSR strategy and overall corporate strategy as they are not separate concepts but rather CSR strategy is part of the overall corporate strategy. 170

5.1 Review of different motivations for CSR

By studying the motivations for CSR in IKEA we answer the why part of our research question “Why and how does IKEA engage in CSR”. From the research studied, two types of motivations emerge: normative and business-oriented/economic motivations. Normative motivations171, is a grouping of reasons for CSR from a non-shareholder perspective. According to Egels172, this includes the perspectives that corporations have responsibilities not only towards shareholders but also to stakeholders and that the responsibilities go beyond maximizing profits. The second category is the business-oriented/economic motivations173, which is defined as being related to a business case when the financial performance can be improved for stakeholders. In order to establish the motivations that are prevalent in research (see Figure 3), we have looked at a wide body of literature. However, we have chosen to focus on a select few when describing the different motivations in section 5.1.1.

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This includes studies on the direct relation between CSR and financial results. Galbreath, J. ( 2006). Egels, N. (2005), Smith, N. C. (2003), Castka, P. et al. (2004). Egels, N. (2005). Smith, N. C. (2003), Margolis, J.D. & Walsh, J.P. (2003).


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