K.1.3 Motivations for CSR not mentioned by IKEA but for which actions are taken:
Control Our interviewees do not explicitly state that CSR is a form of control in IKEA. Nevertheless, CSR can
definitely be seen as a controlling mechanism within purchasing (Svedberg Nilsson, 2004). This is clear as E. Stål regards IWAY as encouraging motivated suppliers to independently control and improve their operations. Simultaneously, the Head of Purchasing at the IKEA Group, K. Ahlgren, regards CSR as being important when the view on social and environmental matters in the host country differed widely from IKEA’s.293 This is one of the reasons why IKEA only works with unannounced audits in developing countries such as China. In order for IKEA to follow its strategy of building long-term relationships with suppliers, it needs to ensure that suppliers are dedicated to learning and changing their operations.294 IKEA’s close co-operation with suppliers can thus be regarded as a way for IKEA to control this.
In conclusion, one can say that there is a strong business case for CSR at IKEA and IKEA is very open and direct in admitting this. IKEA’s goal is to be involved in CSR efforts that are a perfect symbiosis of profitability and “doing good”. The strongest motivations for CSR seem to be legitimacy, due to growing societal expectations, as well as total quality management to ensure low cost and profitability in all parts of the operations. Legitimacy is important, because of the increased focus on CSR by stakeholders, such as media, and has led IKEA to engage in closer partnerships with NGOs. Nevertheless, it seems that IKEA increasingly sees itself needing to show more of a “common goods” approach with its CSR activities. The drivers of this development are the needs of employees as well as legitimacy factors. The importance of motivations, such as risk management, are decreasing in importance as IKEA learns more about CSR; causing the company to be proactive in CSR. We could also see that although the interviewees mention that CSR is important for the brand, this is more in the form of CSR being a hygiene factor, rather than CSR actively shaping and driving consumer preference. However, IKEA seems to anticipate CSR as becoming increasingly important for customers and thus affecting the long-term demands and expectations that customers have on the brand. CSR is seen as a lasting element in a recipe for success and the fact that IKEA is able to take its time to make sure it gets it right is only possible thanks to the company’s already good reputation.
K.2 CSR as integrated in corporate strategy
This part of our analysis will serve to further answer the “how” part of our research question on why IKEA engages in CSR. As earlier mentioned, we can see that there is a strong business case for CSR in IKEA. In the following section, we will examine the relation of CSR activities to corporate strategy through applying Porter & Kramer’s as well as Burke & Logsdon’s theoretical frameworks295 and through the insights gained, try to see which of Galbreath’s296 CSR strategic options IKEA’s CSR activities can be likened to. As strategy can be considered partially emergent and strategy and action are directly interrelated, we will evaluate IKEA’s CSR strategy by looking at our empirical findings in terms of actual actions taken by IKEA. We will also evaluate the shift to increasingly incorporating responsive CSR in the CSR mix and the move towards the chosen strategy in terms of Carroll's297 responsibilities.
293 294 295 296 297
Interview, Ahlgren, K., 2008-10-27. Interview, Bergmark, T., 2008-05-26, Interview Fredriksson, Å., 2008-11-10. Porter, M. & Kramer, M. (2006), Burke, L. & Logsdon, J. (1996). Galbreath, J. ( 2006). Carroll, A. (1991).