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Legitimating Business Activities Using Corporate Social Responsibility: Is there a Need for CSR in Agribusiness?


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  • Heyder, Matthias
  • Theuvsen, Ludwig
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    result, enterprises in the agribusiness sector are increasingly exposed to the public eye (Jansen/ Vellema: 2004). The perception of consumers and other stakeholders - which are according to Freeman “any group or individual who can affect, or is affected by, the achievement of the organization’s objectives” - is of growing criticism and risk-consciousness and manifests itself in changed attitudes towards food production (Jäckel/Spiller: 2006; Haddock: 2005). The use of GMO in agriculture, e.g., is regarded to be morally reprehensible (Becker: 1999). The BSE-crisis and other food scares led to growing consumer uncertainty and resulted in decreased meat consumption and in the increasing percentage of outspoken vegetarians and low-meat consumers (von Alvensleben: 1997; Staack: 2005). Moreover, the influence capacity of stakeholders is growing (Gerlach: 2006). As a result these factors have reduced the legitimacy of traditional (e.g., animal production) as well as new production technologies (e.g. bioenergy) in the agribusiness. In the long term the success of enterprises in the agribusiness can be affected by legitimacy losses. Against this background, legitimacy is regarded as a resource that guarantees the long-term survival of an enterprise (Palazzo/Scherer: 2006). Primarily the market based view in general management literature and the macro-institutional approach in neo sociological-institutionalism are employed to understand business operations embedded in societal structures. In this context legitimacy means the conformation of an organization with social norms, values and expectations (Oliver: 1996).

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    Paper provided by European Association of Agricultural Economists in its series 110th Seminar, February 18-22, 2008, Innsbruck-Igls, Austria with number 49851.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:ags:eea110:49851

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    Keywords: Agribusiness; Agricultural and Food Policy; Farm Management; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Industrial Organization;

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    1. Fritz, Melanie & Fischer, Christian, 2007. "The Role of Trust in European Food Chains: Theory and Empirical Findings," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IAMA), vol. 10(02).
    2. Torres, Antonio, Jr. & Akridge, Jay T. & Gray, Allan W. & Boehlje, Michael & Widdows, Richard, 2007. "An Evaluation of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Practices among Agribusiness Firms," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IAMA), vol. 10(01).
    3. Guido Palazzo & Andreas Scherer, 2006. "Corporate Legitimacy as Deliberation: A Communicative Framework," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 66(1), pages 71-88, June.
    4. Frentrup, Mechthild & Theuvsen, Ludwig, 2006. "Transparency in Supply Chains: Is Trust a Limiting Factor?," 99th Seminar, February 8-10, 2006, Bonn, Germany 7733, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
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    Cited by:
    1. Matthias Heyder & Ludwig Theuvsen, 2009. "Der Einsatz von GVO: Empirische Ergebnisse zum Legitimierungsdruck und zur Corporate Social Responsibility im Agribusiness," Yearbook of Socioeconomics in Agriculture, Swiss Society for Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, vol. 2(1), pages 143-176.
    2. Friedrich, Nina & Heyder, Matthias & Theuvsen, Ludwig, 2012. "Sustainability Management in Agribusiness: Challenges, Concepts, Responsibilities and Performance," International Journal on Food System Dynamics, International Center for Management, Communication, and Research, vol. 3(2).
    3. Friedrich, Nina & Heyder, Matthias & Theuvsen, Ludwig, 2012. "Sustainability Management in Agribusiness: Challenges, Concepts, Responsibilities and Performance," 2012 International European Forum, February 13-17, 2012, Innsbruck-Igls, Austria 144979, International European Forum on Innovation and System Dynamics in Food Networks.


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