In order to answer our research question “Why and how does IKEA engage in CSR?” we derive conclusions on the “why” part of our research question by looking at the motivations for CSR at IKEA. We subsequently have answered the “how” part by looking at CSR strategy and communication. The holistic approach chosen in regard to the subject and the natural interconnectedness between these three parts is shown in Figure 8.
CSR motivations We can see that IKEA’s motivations for CSR seem to be business-related. The most important
motivations are legitimacy, reputation and risk reduction, total quality management and internal marketing (see also in Figure 8). We see that risk reduction is becoming less important as IKEA has gained experience and knowledge, leading it to be proactive in its CSR efforts. Legitimacy on the other hand is becoming increasingly important as a result of coercive isomorphism: IKEA sees society as expecting CSR. CSR can be regarded as a core value contributing to total quality management as it permeates every part of the value chain. However, we see that IKEA has not yet fully been able to utilize the benefits of CSR for attracting and retaining employees; this is because CSR activities have been very top-down and weakly communicated. However, as the company realises that the younger generation of employees has a higher awareness of CSR and that they gain satisfaction from being involved in such projects; it wants to communicate more to employees and enable various forums for them to engage in CSR projects. Although most of the interviewees mention CSR as being important for brand we see that it is important more as a way to ensure the reputation of the brand; CSR is thus de facto more of a hygiene factor. IKEA does not yet see itself as using CSR to drive consumer preference or customer loyalty. Nevertheless, IKEA sees CSR as becoming increasingly more important for the brand, as consumers gradually become more interested and informed about CSR. However, we also see that the normative motivation of displaying a common goods approach is becoming increasingly important for IKEA. One of the underlying reasons for this is of course because IKEA itself is anchored in a social vision that goes beyond simply selling. Another driving factor is as earlier mentioned greater legitimacy requirements. The greater common goods approach to CSR is shown through IKEA broadening the view of its CSR to include community involvement and more philanthropic activities.
CSR strategy From our analysis of empirical findings we can see that IKEA engages in both strategic and responsive CSR. Many of its efforts in the past have been directed at transforming value chain activities in order to benefit both society at large as well as to increase competitiveness, such as the reduction of resources in production and reducing energy with large projects such as BCI or “IKEA goes Renewable”. Through its close co-operation with suppliers and assistance in implementing quality standards and becoming IWAY certified, IKEA has also changed the competitive context for the better. Through this IKEA has been able to achieve global sourcing, which has benefited the company in terms of lower costs, as well as the local industry and community, which it sources from. However, we see that IKEA is increasingly integrating generic social issues in its corporate social agenda. We see this as resulting from the fact that it is moving towards a citizenship strategy, which has the broadest view on CSR and recognizes the company’s responsibilities beyond those towards shareholders and internal stakeholders. It is also in line with Carroll337 that sees philanthropic
Carroll, A. (1991).