University of Oulu

An internal view to corporate social responsibility : a case study in a Finnish forest industry multinational

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Author: Ronkainen, Tatu1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Management and International Business, International Business
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
Persistent link: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:oulu-201412042091
Language: English
Published: Oulu : T. Ronkainen, 2014
Publish Date: 2014-12-08
Physical Description: 87 p.
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Mainela, Tuija
Reviewer: Mainela, Tuija
Pernu, Elina
Description:

Abstract

Corporate social responsibility is a concept where companies voluntarily set guidelines on how to conduct responsible business and how to meet the growing requirements of external stakeholders. Having business operations internationally in multiple regions, multinational companies are subject to more stakeholder pressure than companies that are active in only one market. Responsibilities that are expected to be considered by companies by stakeholders are usually described to be interrelated and include economic, legal, ethical, philanthropic and environmental aspects.

This thesis aims to add the internal view of the company to the existing theoretical body of work that mostly consists of reactive solutions to external stakeholder pressure. To gain insight as to how the internal CSR environment differs from the existing theoretical framework, empirical data was acquired by holding semi-structured interviews to three employees that work in CSR related tasks in UPM, the case company chosen for this thesis. The interview data was then analyzed in an effort to provide an oversight into the internal views and values towards CSR within the case company.

This study found out that the internal view to CSR in the case company revolves heavily around the interconnected layers of economic, environmental and social responsibilities. By conducting dialogue with various stakeholder groups that have different expectations related to CSR, the case company is able to pursue the optimal position between legal requirements, the stakeholder expectation and the possibilities of the company to meet those expectations. Furthermore, findings show that industry plays a heavy part in what CSR is conducted by a company and that the integration of CSR into corporate strategy is a fundamental part of creating a corporate culture where responsibility is not a separate entity from the business. Additionally, many CSR issues are global in nature and overcoming those requires a tremendous amount of effort from a growing network of companies and stakeholders, whose aim it should be to create requirements to responsibility that do not vary heavily between regions.

By using CSR, a company can increase their advantages and reduce their challenges arising from being a multinational company. Integrating CSR into business strategy creates internal advantages. Active stakeholder interaction improves and broadens the networks the company is a part of. Also, conducting responsible business reduces the external pressure the companies are subjected to.

The findings of this study could be used to show that further research in the field of CSR needs to be put into the integration of responsibility and business functions, the relationships between a company and its stakeholder groups. The latter especially from the perspective that stakeholder expectations and company possibilities are unlikely to completely match and an optimal solution can be achieved regardless. Lastly, research can be directed towards the growing amount of global issues and the responsibilities placed on them by governments and other regulatory bodies with enforcement capabilities.

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Copyright information: © Tatu Ronkainen, 2014. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.