CSR and CSV: The Managerial Interpretation of a Blurry Line
Abstract: From the moment the concept of Creating Shared Value (CSV) was introduced in 2011, it was by some considered to be an evolutionary way of contributing to society whereas for others it initiated an ongoing critical debate. This debate that is taking place on the academic scene has, among other things, focused on defining what CSV really is and differentiating it from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). This is mainly because the critical side believes that CSV is unoriginal and strikingly similar to CSR. Interestingly, in practice companies are implementing CSV in many different ways and some are adding it to their CSR strategy. The fact that these two concepts are closely related has led to a blurry line, which in return has caused disagreements in the mentioned debate. Given the above, we aim at understanding how managers interpret and implement CSV in comparison to CSR and what the differences between these two concepts are in practice. Data was collected by employing case studies which entailed semi-structured interviews with company informants. The findings indicated that managers interpret CSV as a way of contributing to society as well as the firm’s business simultaneously, and thus the implementation of the concept is highly industry-specific. CSR on the other hand, was mostly interpreted as a way of conforming to external pressures and is therefore implemented in relatively similar ways across the companies interviewed. In contrast to academia, it was indicated that managers are more interested in infusing the above two concepts than separating and differentiating them.
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