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Strategic and moral motivation for corporate social responsibility


  • Ven van de, B.
  • Graafland, J.J.


This article examines the relationship between management’s view on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and firms’ actual CSR efforts. It focuses on the practices of 111 Dutch firms with respect to five stakeholder groups—employees, supplies, customers, competitors and society at large—and their use of organisational instruments. We find that the moral (intrinsic) motive, which holds that CSR is a moral duty of companies towards society, induces a stronger involvement in CSR than the strategic (extrinsic) motive, which holds that CSR contributes to the financial success of the company in the long run. This particularly applies to ethical aspects of employee relations and the use of instruments to integrate CSR in the company’s organisation. With respect to consumer relations, the strategic and moral motives are equally important. As for relations with suppliers and competitors and society at large, we do not find a significant relationship between management’s strategic and moral view on CSR and actual CSR performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Ven van de, B. & Graafland, J.J., 2006. "Strategic and moral motivation for corporate social responsibility," MPRA Paper 20278, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:20278

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gachter & Georg Kirchsteiger, 1997. "Reciprocity as a Contract Enforcement Device: Experimental Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 833-860, July.
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    1. Baskaran, Venkatesan & Nachiappan, Subramanian & Rahman, Shams, 2012. "Indian textile suppliers' sustainability evaluation using the grey approach," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(2), pages 647-658.
    2. Fernando, Mario & Almeida, Shamika, 2012. "The organizational virtuousness of strategic corporate social responsibility: A case study of the Sri Lankan family-owned enterprise MAS Holdings," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 564-576.
    3. Peter Chemwile & Gregory Namusonge & Mike Iravo, 2016. "Relationship between Strategic Environmental Relations Practice and Organizational Performance of Companies Listed in Nairobi Securities Exchange," International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, vol. 6(10), pages 339-355, October.
    4. Sasan Ghasemi & Mehran Nejati, 2013. "Corporate social responsibility: opportunities, drivers and barries," International Journal of Entrepreneurial Knowledge, VSP Ostrava, a. s., vol. 1(1), pages 33-37, December.
    5. Esben Pedersen & Wencke Gwozdz, 2014. "From Resistance to Opportunity-Seeking: Strategic Responses to Institutional Pressures for Corporate Social Responsibility in the Nordic Fashion Industry," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 119(2), pages 245-264, January.
    6. Corrie Mazereeuw-van der Duijn Schouten & Johan Graafland & Muel Kaptein, 2014. "Religiosity, CSR Attitudes, and CSR Behavior: An Empirical Study of Executives’ Religiosity and CSR," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 123(3), pages 437-459, September.
    7. van der Ven Hamish, 2014. "Socializing the C-suite: why some big-box retailers are “greener” than others," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 16(1), pages 31-63, April.
    8. Graafland, J.J. & Kaptein, M. & Mazereeuw V/d Duijn Schouten, C., 2010. "Motives of Socially Responsible Business Conduct," Discussion Paper 2010-74, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    9. Florian Wettstein & Dorothea Baur, 2016. "“Why Should We Care about Marriage Equality?”: Political Advocacy as a Part of Corporate Responsibility," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 138(2), pages 199-213, October.
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    12. Supriti Mishra & Damodar Suar, 2010. "Does Corporate Social Responsibility Influence Firm Performance of Indian Companies?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 95(4), pages 571-601, September.
    13. Johan Graafland & Corrie Mazereeuw-Van der Duijn Schouten, 2012. "Motives for Corporate Social Responsibility," De Economist, Springer, vol. 160(4), pages 377-396, December.
    14. Enrique Alcañiz & Ruben Cáceres & Rafael Pérez, 2010. "Alliances Between Brands and Social Causes: The Influence of Company Credibility on Social Responsibility Image," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 96(2), pages 169-186, October.
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    16. Lorraine Uhlaner & Marta Berent-Braun & Ronald Jeurissen & Gerrit Wit, 2012. "Beyond Size: Predicting Engagement in Environmental Management Practices of Dutch SMEs," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 109(4), pages 411-429, September.
    17. Brown Dana L & Vetterlein Antje & Roemer-Mahler Anne, 2010. "Theorizing Transnational Corporations as Social Actors: An Analysis of Corporate Motivations," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-39, April.
    18. Peggy Brønn & Deborah Vidaver-Cohen, 2009. "Corporate Motives for Social Initiative: Legitimacy, Sustainability, or the Bottom Line?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 87(1), pages 91-109, April.
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    20. Seitz, Claudio S. & Beuttenmüller, Oliver & Terzidis, Orestis, 2015. "Organizational adoption behavior of CO2-saving power train technologies: An empirical study on the German heavy-duty vehicles market," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 247-262.
    21. Jha, Anand & Cox, James, 2015. "Corporate social responsibility and social capital," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 252-270.
    22. Luca Stanca & Luigino Bruni & Marco Mantovani, 2011. "The effect of motivations on social indirect reciprocity: an experimental analysis," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(17), pages 1709-1711.
    23. Stephanie Jones & Taghreed Badawoud & Mohammad Reza, 2012. "Corporate Social Responsibility: Transparency, Ethics and Governance in Emerging Markets," Working Papers 2012/09, Maastricht School of Management.
    24. Busaya Virakul & Kalayanee Koonmee & Gary N. McLean, 2009. "CSR activities in award-winning Thai companies," Social Responsibility Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 5(2), pages 178-199, June.
    25. repec:eee:aumajo:v:17:y:2009:i:2:p:92-98 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Moral motivation;

    JEL classification:

    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility
    • L21 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Business Objectives of the Firm


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