Corporate Social Responsibility : The future of business or just a beautiful surface?

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Ekonomihögskolan, ELNU; Linnéuniversitetet/Ekonomihögskolan, ELNU

Abstract: Master Thesis in Marketing,SchoolofBusinessandEconomicsat Linnaeus University, spring 2012 Authors: Sophie Lindgren and Amanda Tuvhag Title: Corporate Social Responsibility – A successful business strategy or just a trend? Purpose: First of all, this thesis wants to describe managers’ expectations regarding customers’ perception about their retail stores CSR initiatives and furthermore their implemented CSR initiatives. Secondly, to describe customer awareness and engagement towards retail stores CSR initiatives. Finally, to compare the results from retail store and customers, in purpose to identify possible gaps between these two. Research questions:RQ1: What expectations regarding customers’ perception of retail stores CSR initiatives do manager of such stores have and how do they perform CSR activities? RQ2:    How aware are customer regarding retail stores CSR initiative and what level of engagement do customer have concerning retail stores CSR activities? Method:    The empirical material is based on both a quantitative and a qualitative investigation. The quantitative investigation is the main study and contains of a customer survey whereby the collected sample consist of 150 respondents. A pilot study have been conducted in order to improve the intension of the survey. Further, the qualitative investigation contains five in-depth semi-strucutred interviews with local store managers of the selected retail stores. Conclusion: Customer thinks retail stores CSR initiatives are important, but they seldom support them. Retail store expect customers to value CSR products/action low in relation to other factors, but retail store are engaging themselves in several CSR actions. Keywords:    Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), marketing strategy, business ethics, sustainability, reputation, food industry, retailers, gap-model, perception, customer, retail store industry, expectation, environmentally certified, ecological products, fair trade.

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