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Environmental CSR application in geographically disparate contexts: the Scandinavian cooperative advantage?: An investigative study into the role of stakeholder theory for competitive advantage within the European construction industry.
Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering.
Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Currently, the environmental parameters of CSR are receiving more academic, institutional, societal and organisational attention as being paramount to competitive advantage, alongside the traditional economic and social concerns. The challenge for firms now is to balance considerations between all five facets of CSR - stakeholder, social, economic, degree of voluntariness and environmental - and fundamentally, the two approaches of shareholder and stakeholder; whereby the shareholder is, in effect, a stakeholder, and the stakeholder is a dimension of CSR. Stakeholder pressure now forms a fundamental role in the application of CSR uptake - both explicitly and implicitly - and this study sought to assess the validity of the current assumption of a Scandinavian cooperative advantage in relation to environmental CSR implementation. With collaboration at the core, multilateral actor-to-actor (A2A) networks exhibited in Scandinavia were considered as key to effective CSR, and thus organisational success. This research analysed this by an investigative study between Sweden and Scotland over a two month period, within an industry traditionally associated as polluting, namely construction. The study employed a mixed-methodology via a series of primary and secondary data analyses with the objectives to explore: a) if the contextual conditions of a country affect environmental CSR uptake; b) if construction companies exhibit environmental CSR-practices differently in different contexts; c) the role of stakeholder collaborations and A2A networks for explicit (soft-law) CSR uptake; and d) how environmental CSR practices increase organisational competitive advantage in each context. The study was highly relevant as it was original, current and necessary considering the increasing international sustainability mantra and the assumption that stakeholders help industry efficiencies by promoting continual innovation. The results found that indeed the contextual conditions of a country do affect the perceptions, and likelihood, of environmental CSR uptake from both organisational and customer perspectives, as well as the ways environmental CSR is displayed within, and out with, Scandinavia. Yet, it remained unclear as to whether stakeholder collaborations and A2A networks, traditional within Scandinavian societies (i.e. Sweden), actually influenced explicit CSR uptake more so than external contexts (i.e. Scotland), thus questioning the very raison d'être of the apparent Scandinavian cooperative advantage; these phenomena not solely as ‘Scandinavian’. Finally, it was noted that for all companies within the construction industry, corporate image, trust and competitive advantage were boosted when acting in the true interests of the environment, beyond mere corporate greenwashing or the historical neoclassical profit motive.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 114 p.
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238
Keyword [en]
Corporate Sustainability, CSR, Environmental CSR, Environmental Management, Stakeholder Theory, Scandinavian Cooperative Advantage
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-32320OAI: diva2:946023
Subject / course
Business Administration
Available from: 2016-07-04 Created: 2016-07-04 Last updated: 2016-07-04Bibliographically approved

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