Motivations for engaging in Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting : Comparative Study among Different Industries in Sweden

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Stockholm Resilience Centre

Abstract: The primary purpose of this thesis is to provide a better understanding of the motivations that lead companies to engage in CSR reporting practices and to explore how such practices differ among industries within Sweden. Furthermore, the study attempts to explain the phenomena from the perspective of stakeholder theory. To do so, the study adopts a semi-structured qualitative interview with four Swedish companies which are currently reporting CSR performance and four companies which are not reporting CSR performance in four industrial categories. The companies selected in the study were asked to explain what made them decide to issue CSR reports or do not.The results show that the most important motivating factors are increasing shareholder value and reputation management by means of CSR reporting. The motivations in CSR reporting of different industrial sectors in Sweden are found similar to the cases of the previous research except for environmentally-sensitive industry. When companies in this industry decide to start reporting they do so to be perceived as environmentally-responsible to a broad set of stakeholders. In the next step, companies recognize that it can be important to a more narrow range of stakeholders such as institutional investors.When applying a stakeholder strategy matrix, two industry groups − environmentally sensitive industry and corporate governance-issues-sensitive industry show that the practice of CSR reporting is to communicate with traditional stakeholders, specifically, the shareholders, not with multi-stakeholders. This means that motivations for companies to engage in CSR reporting are led by diversified interests of traditional stakeholders rather than diversified types of stakeholders (Freeman, 1984). On the other hand, the supply chain issues-sensitive industry employs CSR reports as a mean of defending potential risks so as to manage the relationship with multi-stakeholders. In an ethical issues-sensitive industry, a more important factor considers incorporating sustainability to be beneficial to business which indicates taking care of traditional stakeholders.

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