How Companies in Umeå Interpret, Implement and Communicate CSR (Management Project)

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During recent years, company scandals and an intensified demand from the public that companies should take social responsibility have increased the importance for companies to work with corporate social responsibility (CSR). Medias extended coverage of firms’ behavior has further underlined this significance.

The purpose of this thesis is to investigate how companies in Umeå approach CSR. We have used three research questions in order to get an understanding of how companies in Umeå interpret CSR, implement CSR and communicate CSR

Our study has been conducted in the form of a comparative case study. We have done four interviews at four different companies, all conducting business in Umeå. We have performed face-to-face semi-structured interviews as our primary data collection method.

As a theoretical framework, we have used the stakeholder theory and the shareholder value theory, and also looked at theories of how companies can use CSR as a business strategy. Furthermore, CSR from a local perspective as well as how standards and regulations impact on CSR has been discussed from a theoretical viewpoint.

Our findings indicate that the companies we have studied can be considered good at implementing CSR measures. However, they do not interpret their work in this area as CSR; instead they use the term sustainability or they use no definition at all. There is a belief among the studied companies that it is important to take social responsibility, not just from a economic view point as a business strategy but also because it is seen as the right thing to do.

The ways in which they implement CSR (or sustainability as the majority of them choose to call it) differs among the studied companies, reflecting the nature of their business. The communication of CSR work also differs: three out of four companies of our study are generally reluctant to promote their CSR work, even though their CSR commitments are great. One company though sees the promoting of their CSR work as a way to attract investors.

Our studied firms have generally acted in a social responsible way for a long time without really reflecting over it as being CSR. Conducting business in a small place like Umeå means you constantly interact with different stakeholders. In turn, this makes taking social responsibility a vital part of doing business in Umeå, which is one conclusion to be drawn from our thesis.
Source: Umeå University
Author: Bergman, Jacob | Bäckström, Daniel

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