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School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2012
Thesis number: 12813
The untapped value of strategic CSR in contemporary business to government relationship marketing. Case: Industrial B2G Environment in the EU
Author: Santalainen, Juhana
Title: The untapped value of strategic CSR in contemporary business to government relationship marketing. Case: Industrial B2G Environment in the EU
Year: 2012  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; suhdemarkkinointi; relationship marketing; yhteiskuntavastuu; corporate responsibility; yritysviestintä; business communication; yksityinen sektori; private sector; julkinen sektori; public sector
Pages: 120
Full text:
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Key terms: business-to-government; B2G; corporate social responsibility; CSR; institutional environments; interactive communication; relationship marketing; public request for quotations; RFQ; institutionaaliset ympäristöt; sidosryhmämarkkinointi; yhteiskuntavastuu; yksityisen ja julkisen sektorin välinen liiketoimintaympäristö; interaktiivinen yritysviestintä
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY By referring to recent academic discussion on corporate social responsibility and its communication, business to business (B2B) relationship marketing as well as public purchasing and contemporary policy development, this thesis aspires to provide an understanding about the possibilities that exist for industrial companies to enhance collaborative relationship management through strategic CSR management and communication in the business-to-government (B2G) context.

DATA The data for the study consists of qualitative interviews. Included in the study are key executives from the case company operating in the safety and security markets in Finland and the EU (2), directors from key public organizations (3) one semi-independent public organization (1) and a competitor (1). Additional data was derived from an EU-wide marketing workshop at the case company´s premises in Germany. Secondary data from governmental publications and other relevant publicly available documents were used to complement the primary interview data. The data was analyzed using methodology derived from interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). The case context provided a good venue for conducting the empirical study since many of the relationships between the case company and key governmental institutions and decision makers have existed for a long time, some spanning over many decades.

FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS Firms serving public institutions have recently become to identify the growing business opportunities that increasing public outsourcing and downsizing of public activities have created. Simultaneously, public institutions have recently tried to find ways to coordinate the activities of privately held firms to better reflect the needs of the society in general. Concerns of opportunism and mismanagement have grown as more and more activities are operated under private ownership. In the conceptual framework developed for this thesis, an institutional gap related to the aforementioned issues is identified. The framework argues that strategic CSR management and its proper integration to relationship marketing strategies will aid B2G companies to enhance their competitive position in the shifting institutional environments. To do so, firms have to first understand contemporary developments, such as the Europe 2020 strategy, which aim to align societal and business goals in the EU and individual member countries.

By having the ability to create and maintain more interactive two-way communication channels with key public partners, firms are better equipped to understand and contribute to the needs and goals of individual public projects in a longer time-frame as well as identify new follow-up business opportunities. Strategic CSR management works as a mediating factor in finding a common ground for profitable public-private collaboration. Public institutions are intrinsically risk averse and value partners that are trustworthy and show interest and concern in the overall national welfare in a specific context.

In essence, integrating CSR into relationship communication and the overall business strategy in the B2G context is less about encouraging "green management" than understanding the social role of the firm and its actions in the contemporary institutional environment. Academics can be in the forefront in steering the discussion and turning managerial attention towards strategic CSR in the B2G context by highlighting the economic benefits that this strategic long-term orientation has in the changing institutional environments. Yet, it is not within the academia, but in the actions taken by political decision makers and executives in private organizations to step away from a quartile economy and embrace sustainable long-term oriented business practices.

KEYWORDS: corporate social responsibility (CSR), interactive communication, relationship marketing,
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