School of Business publications portal
This portal is no longer updated. Aalto University School of Business Master's Theses are now in the Aaltodoc publication archive (Aalto University institutional repository)
School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2015
Thesis number: 13931
Understanding strategic corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Finnish consumer goods industry
Author: Kuusela, Nina
Title: Understanding strategic corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Finnish consumer goods industry
Year: 2015  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; yritykset; companies; strategia; strategy; yhteiskuntavastuu; corporate responsibility; elintarviketeollisuus; food industry
Pages: 74
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_13931.pdf pdf  size:2 MB (1238343)
Key terms: Corporate Social Responsibility; yhteiskuntavastuu; strategic CSR; strateginen yritysvastuu; competitive advantage; kilpailuetu; Finnish consumer goods industry; suomalainen päivittäistavarakauppa

The main objective of the study is to understand how the various elements of strategic Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are utilized as a source of differentiation, and even as a competitive advantage for a company. The study explores the different company approaches to CSR, and widens the understanding of strategic CSR through a Finnish case company that aims to utilize CSR as a competitive advantage. The theoretical background of this study lies in academic literature about viewing CSR as a competitive advantage.


The research is qualitative in nature, and follows ontology and critical realism as philosophical viewpoints for a qualitative research. The study represents an intensive case study research. Six well-experienced managers were interviewed at the case company with a semi-structured data collection method. The interview transcriptions form the empirical data of the study.


The study contributes to the existing research by clarifying the various company approaches to CSR and their differences. Previous research suggests that company approach to CSR can be categorized as project-oriented, quality-oriented, or strategic. The case study showed that the lines between these categories are rather wavering. The case company utilizes numerous elements of strategic CSR, but evidence to some of the elements remained weak. For example, innovativeness related to responsibility issues and outstandingly effective CSR communication both on company level and on product level were aspects that still need attention, when the purpose is to clearly differentiate with CSR. Finally, the study showed that the strategic CSR approach has a lot to offer for consumer goods companies aiming at utilizing CSR as a competitive advantage.
Electronic publications are subject to copyright. The publications can be read freely and printed for personal use. Use for commercial purposes is forbidden.