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    • 7.1

      Implications and contributions of study

      • 7.1.1

        Contributions to theory

IKEA is one of the largest and most successful companies in the world and can be considered leading in terms of integrating CSR in its core competence as well as in its company vision. The contribution of this thesis is to show the distinct connection and interrelatedness between CSR motivations, strategy and communication by the use of an integrated framework (see Figure 8 above). The results were concurrent with earlier research on existence of both business and normative motivations for CSR. However, there is a major gap in research in terms of few existing holistic approaches to CSR motivations. Our thesis can thus be seen as showing that the two types of motivations are not mutually exclusive, but that companies are complex and multifaceted entities. Our paper supports theory in that CSR related to vision and values are paramount to the success of CSR; the fact that IKEA’s vision and values have a strong social anchor in the form of “Better everyday life for the majority of people” and the focus on cost consciousness guide the CSR undertaken by the company.

There is substantial research on the field of CSR and its definitions and development. However, there is only limited research on the field of CSR strategy and CSR as related to corporate strategy. Our thesis is unique in having integrated the available research within this field in order to shed light on the phenomenon of CSR at IKEA. Furthermore, it highlights that strategic and responsive CSR in Porter & Kramer’s345 sense are not two separate entities, where one necessarily should be pursued over another. Direct business-related benefits are not the only drivers of CSR, but legitimacy and reputation (also brand-related) are becoming increasingly important. Instead, the case of IKEA shows that the choice will depend on the maturity and knowledge of the company with regard to these issues as well as different legitimacy and reputation requirements depending on size, scope and globalization of the company in question. A company of IKEA’s magnitude can thus not shy away from generic

social issues and philanthropy responsibilities346 legitimacy.

as part of the CSR mix as they are a great source of

7.1.2 Managerial Implications for IKEA In light of the presented results and the conducted analysis, it is possible to derive a few direct

managerial implications for IKEA. In our study of the motivations for CSR at IKEA as well as of its CSR strategy, we see that IKEA is moving towards a broader view of CSR; including philanthropic activities. We believe that this is the right path for IKEA to follow, as the company has earlier primarily focused on integrating CSR into its value chain for business-related benefits. The company has thus now reached the point where it can focus on philanthropic activities, which Carroll347 regards as additional responsibilities (“icing on the cake”) when more elementary responsibilities have been fulfilled. Although the benefits of more generic social issues, such as the collection of money to local projects are difficult to measure, IKEA should nevertheless continue to focus on these, because of the effect on the motivation of employees and the goodwill of customers.

The main managerial implication derived from this study is that it would make sense for IKEA to communicate its CSR on different levels. IKEA is involved in substantial CSR efforts and although these are known to stakeholders; it seems that the awareness of other important stakeholders (e.g. customers and employees) is not sufficiently high. We are not suggesting that IKEA go against the

345

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

346

Carroll, A. (1991).

347

Carroll, A. (1991).

50

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