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activities as “icing on the cake” once the other responsibilities are in place. Generic social issues may not create as much tangible value as those that are central and specific338, but are key to showing that the company cares about the world: something imperative for a company of IKEA’s size and global operations.

CSR communication We have seen that the quest for legitimacy is one of the main drivers for IKEA's most recent CSR efforts. To market CSR efforts can give an adverse effect to legitimacy339, as companies have to make sure that they “walk the talk” before they “talk the talk”. IKEA chooses not to market their CSR efforts, but are showing a tendency to increasingly communicate its efforts. These attempts to increase legitimacy as well as communication can be related to the change of CSR strategy in the direction of a citizenship strategy. Another factor behind this may be that IKEA has acquired substantial experience and knowledge in the area of CSR. IKEA is pursuing a stakeholder involvement strategy340, which in itself is not sufficient. Communication of CSR is to be directed to all stakeholders. It has thus continued to complement the stakeholder involvement strategy with traditional PR activities. The auto-communication341 message to its employees is thereby re-enforced. The wider scope is in line with societal expectations; the world demands to know what IKEA is doing, and expects it to be responsible. If it does not perform these tasks, it is not in line with societal expectations and will thus not acquire the legitimacy custom for large companies. Additionally, a company such as IKEA that is so aggressively cost-conscious may have greater legitimacy requirements in order to show that low costs are not achieved at the cost of environment and society.

It is interesting to note that IKEA is moving away from the best-practice approaches to CSR as defined by Porter & Kramer342, Burke-Logsdon343 and Morsing & Schultz344. No theory is yet available to explain why this is so. We consider IKEA’s shift in strategy a necessity for a company of its calibre, as societal expectations for companies go beyond creating shared value between business and society – they must create value solely for society’s benefit.


Burke, L. & Logsdon, J. (1996).


Ashfort, B. & Gibbs, B. (1990).


Morsing, M. & Schultz, S. (2006).


Morsing, M. (2006).


Porter, M. & Kramer, M. (2006).


Burke, L. & Logsdon, J. (1996).


Morsing, M. & Schultz, S. (2006).


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