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CSR – A matter of Distance and Technology

Mårtensson, Victor LU (2017) SKOM12 20171
Department of Strategic Communication
Abstract
This study examines the challenges of managing CSR in modern society. It explores how the image of companies is affected in an ethical sense, when CSR activities and CSR-responsibility are divided among a variety of different parties. Through a qualitative study of the company Big Heart, semi-structured interviews was made, including interviews from all parties in order to gain a deeper understanding of the phenomenon, with a focus on how CSR-activities conducted by companies are perceived in an ethical sense.

The results indicate that, when CSR-responsibility is divided among different parties it is perceived to be ethical, while literature suggest the opposite. Therefore is becomes sufficient for companies to be seen in an ethically... (More)
This study examines the challenges of managing CSR in modern society. It explores how the image of companies is affected in an ethical sense, when CSR activities and CSR-responsibility are divided among a variety of different parties. Through a qualitative study of the company Big Heart, semi-structured interviews was made, including interviews from all parties in order to gain a deeper understanding of the phenomenon, with a focus on how CSR-activities conducted by companies are perceived in an ethical sense.

The results indicate that, when CSR-responsibility is divided among different parties it is perceived to be ethical, while literature suggest the opposite. Therefore is becomes sufficient for companies to be seen in an ethically positive context in order to be perceived as ethically responsible. CSR could therefore work as protection for companies from being perceived as unethical, which is a consequence of modern society and the existence of division of labor. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Denna studie ämnar undersöka utmaningarna med att bedriva CSR i ett modernt samhälle. Den undersöker hur företags image påverkas när CSR-aktiviteter och CSR-ansvar är uppdelat mellan olika parter. En kvalitativ studie har gjorts om företaget Big Heart där semi-strukturerade intervjuer har använts som metod för att uppnå en djupare förståelse av fenomenet. I intervjuerna har perspektiv från alla parter inkluderats där fokus har legat på hur företags CSR-aktiviteter uppfattas på ett etiskt plan.

Resultaten indikerar att när CSR-ansvar är uppdelat mellan olika parter så uppfattas det som etiskt rätt samtidigt som litteraturen antyder på motsatt effekt. Därför blir det tillräckligt för företagen att bli sedda i en etisk positiv kontext för... (More)
Denna studie ämnar undersöka utmaningarna med att bedriva CSR i ett modernt samhälle. Den undersöker hur företags image påverkas när CSR-aktiviteter och CSR-ansvar är uppdelat mellan olika parter. En kvalitativ studie har gjorts om företaget Big Heart där semi-strukturerade intervjuer har använts som metod för att uppnå en djupare förståelse av fenomenet. I intervjuerna har perspektiv från alla parter inkluderats där fokus har legat på hur företags CSR-aktiviteter uppfattas på ett etiskt plan.

Resultaten indikerar att när CSR-ansvar är uppdelat mellan olika parter så uppfattas det som etiskt rätt samtidigt som litteraturen antyder på motsatt effekt. Därför blir det tillräckligt för företagen att bli sedda i en etisk positiv kontext för att bli uppfattade som etiskt ansvarsfulla. CSR kan därför användas som skydd för företag mot att bli uppfattade som oetiska, vilket är en direkt konsekvens av det moderna samhället och existensen av arbetsdelning. (Less)
Popular Abstract
The phenomenon of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is becoming a more and more mainstream activity in today’s business society and social, environmental and ethical factors are of highest importance for consumers. In addition, consumers expect companies to conduct their CSR work in an ethical way, serving society’s best interest ahead of their own. This ought to include a close collaboration between companies and their stakeholders where companies should take consumers perspectives into consideration. But in modern society, where bureaucracy and a division of labor are present, CSR becomes merely protection for companies instead of purely helping society.

Zygmunt Bauman, one of the most highly esteemed social critics in Europe,... (More)
The phenomenon of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is becoming a more and more mainstream activity in today’s business society and social, environmental and ethical factors are of highest importance for consumers. In addition, consumers expect companies to conduct their CSR work in an ethical way, serving society’s best interest ahead of their own. This ought to include a close collaboration between companies and their stakeholders where companies should take consumers perspectives into consideration. But in modern society, where bureaucracy and a division of labor are present, CSR becomes merely protection for companies instead of purely helping society.

Zygmunt Bauman, one of the most highly esteemed social critics in Europe, used the holocaust as a reference and an example to describe what modern society has become. Society today, as in the case with the holocaust, is colored by a separation where work is lead by purely technological bureaucratic ways. His theory lies in the fact that people today are asserted specific roles within organizations where their only responsibility is to complete their specific assignments, thus creating a distance between their actions and the result of the entire organization. This furthermore results in that the participants never fully understand the effects of their actions, which in turn excludes their moral judgments on the organizations results. According to Bauman, this points to a society where there exists a division of labor where the goal is to reach organizational goals in the most effective way possible.

With Baumans theory as reference and in relation to CSR, the company Big Heart serves as an example of how CSR can be examined today. Big Heart provides an app where users of the app actively can give money to charity organizations without changing their daily behavior. By unlocking the home screen on their smartphones, money will automatically be transferred to an account asserted to the user of the app. The money originally comes from a diversity of companies collaborating with Big Heart. These companies pay Big Heart in order for them to have their ads be visible on the users background picture. Big Heart furthermore takes a sum for them selves, giving the rest to the users. The users are henceforward able to donate that money to whichever charity organization they see fit without wasting a lot of their energy.

Just as Bauman stipulates, people, in this case, are asserted different roles and different assignments consisting of different areas of responsibility. The companies responsibility lies in providing money and ads, Big Heart provides a platform where users are able to choose which charity organization to donate to, and lastly, the users responsibility is to actually make sure that the money is donated. Having conducted ten interviews, where eight of them were users of the app and the other two was from Big Heart and one of the companies, interesting results were found. When CSR responsibility is divided among a number of actors, it becomes sufficient for companies to be acknowledged in an ethically positive context in order to be perceived as ethically responsible. Therefore the whole construct of dividing CSR-responsibility is perceived as ethical, while general theories suggest the opposite. Further analysis on the subject therefore tells us that CSR can be used as a protection for companies from being seen as unethical, which is a direct consequence of modern society and a division of labor. In addition, conducting CSR isn’t always as complex as literature suggest. (Less)
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author
Mårtensson, Victor LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
- A qualitative study about CSR with its cross-boarder character and its implications on strategic communication
course
SKOM12 20171
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
CSR, strategic communication, division of labor, consumer involvement, ethics, business ethics
language
English
id
8928818
date added to LUP
2018-02-05 11:15:52
date last changed
2018-02-05 11:15:52
@misc{8928818,
  abstract     = {This study examines the challenges of managing CSR in modern society. It explores how the image of companies is affected in an ethical sense, when CSR activities and CSR-responsibility are divided among a variety of different parties. Through a qualitative study of the company Big Heart, semi-structured interviews was made, including interviews from all parties in order to gain a deeper understanding of the phenomenon, with a focus on how CSR-activities conducted by companies are perceived in an ethical sense.

The results indicate that, when CSR-responsibility is divided among different parties it is perceived to be ethical, while literature suggest the opposite. Therefore is becomes sufficient for companies to be seen in an ethically positive context in order to be perceived as ethically responsible. CSR could therefore work as protection for companies from being perceived as unethical, which is a consequence of modern society and the existence of division of labor.},
  author       = {Mårtensson, Victor},
  keyword      = {CSR,strategic communication,division of labor,consumer involvement,ethics,business ethics},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {CSR – A matter of Distance and Technology},
  year         = {2017},
}