An Integrative Model for Analyzing Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility in Portugal

Monday, July 14, 2014: 6:05 PM
Room: 419
Oral Presentation
António MARQUES-MENDES , Research Centre In Economic And Organizational Sociology - SOCIUS/ISEG/UL, Lisboa, Portugal
Maria SANTOS , Social Sciences, Lisboa School of Economics & Management - Lisboa University, Lisboa, Portugal
Capital increasingly takes the integration of corporate social responsibility (CSR) into account in the development of business strategy. Nowhere has this been more the case than in the European Union, where commissions on CSR have reported and made policy recommendations to the European Parliament.

Different firms adopt different CSR perspectives, from denial of any interest to commitment to a long-term CSR strategy for sustainability. The paper identifies levels of corporate commitment that we place on a continuum of what we call CSR maturity. Previous studies have neglected the relationship between different business strategies and the firm’s degree of CSR maturity. The research considers the variables underlying commitment to strategic CSR by looking at major companies listed on the Portuguese stock exchange. We are interested in how these companies formulate, implement, and align CSR with business strategy.

After a critical literature review of strategic CSR, we present a matrix and analysis grid that distinguishes different types of strategic CSR orientation, and assesses their degree of maturity. The paper includes the findings of a pilot case study that we will apply to our ongoing research.

The proposed model identifies six types of strategic CSR by looking at patterns in the company-environment relationship. This matrix serves as a diagnostic and improvement tool for the company to take advantage of CSR as a strategic force that can simultaneously create competitive advantage and social value.

The paper advances understanding of strategic CSR and proposes a model to evaluate the maturity of a firm’s integration of CSR into its business strategy. The research holds special interest at a time when Portuguese capital seeks to balance shareholder pressure to find new markets and sources of profit with strategic decisions on whether to pursue CSR as a viable path to profitability and long-term sustainability.