CSR Strategies Toward Organizational Learning

Saturday, 4 July 2015: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
TW1.1.04 (Tower One)
David Vallat, UNIVERSITE LYON 1, Lyon, France
Sandra Bertezene, Lyon 1, Lyon, France
Jacques Martin, University of TOULON, Toulon, France
In a context of globalization and increased competition, corporate social responsibility (CSR) may offer a competitive advantage for a number of enterprises and organizations, even more so as the public opinion is better and better informed and more sensitive to issues of social justice, respect of human rights or protection of the environment (Carroll, 1979, 1999). The European Commission defines CSR as a voluntary approach permitting to “satisfy fully the applicable legal obligations, but also to go beyond them and to invest more in the human capital and the environment” (CCE, 2001:7). CSR consists in being “engaged, in close cooperation with stakeholders, in a process destined to integrate preoccupations in social, environmental, ethical, human rights, consumer matters in commercial activities and strategy” (CCE, 2011:7). In this context, the formalization of a policy of CSR is part of a logic of control (Trevino and Weaver, 1999) in order to answer better the pressure exerted by the different stakeholders. The academic literature about CSR is abundant, notably because the subject is not a recent one (Bowen, 1953). There are also many press issues, professional books, internet sites or societies devoted to the question of CSR with the aim of providing enterprises and organizations expertise on the subject, even more so as CSR is developing fast thanks to institutional investors such as pension funds and big listed companies. The question is then to investigate what sort of CSR approach an organization can adopt for what sort of strategic objective. In order to try and answer this question, we will first analyze the different approaches proposed by referentials and guides of good practices in CSR most commonly used to rank the degree of integration of stakeholders and their holistic nature. We will then propose a typology of CSR approaches made up of four categories, more or less strategically ambitious, that can be implemented depending on the vision and objectives of the management. Finally different strategies integrating stakeholders (Oliver, 1991), within the framework proposed, are analyzed. We will show that the most ambitious vision of CSR produces empowerment and solidarity inside the firm and leads toward organizational learning (Argyris, 2002).