Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (cbsCSR)

Research projects

Selected projects

 

CURRENT PROJECTS

TALK-ACTION DYNAMICS

Lars Thøger Christensen, Mette Morsing & Ole Thyssen, CBS

There is a widespread expectation in society that social actors through their behavior acknowledge, respect and live up to words they have previously uttered. This is a basic premise for trust among social actors and, accordingly, an important source of stable social relations. For central institutions in society, this expectation is vital to sustain legitimacy and a “license to operate”. Leaders and spokespersons in such contexts, especially political and corporate, are therefore advised to practice what they preach or to walk their talk, lest be accused of hypocrisy or for breaching their pro¬mises. Ideal talk-action relation¬ships in these contexts are, in other words, presumed to be tight and unequivocal.
In spite of this ideal, the link between talk and action is increasingly uncertain. Complex ambitions, conflicting agendas, time constraints and unexpected events, for example, frequently intervene to separate or (re)connect the two. Moreover, corporate and political communicators may for various reasons feel an urge to promise more than they can deliver. Yet, since talk in corporate and political contexts is usually vague and ambiguous, referring to values or ideas, the exact nature of the implied action is often unclear or contested.

This research project explores the relationships between talk and action in cor¬po¬rate and political con-texts.
To do that, we investigate a) how corporate and political communicators handle the ideal of tight talk-action links, and b) which other types of talk-action links are at play in their daily work practices, including such possibilities as talk that is action, talk that replaces action, talk that is isolated from action, talk that motivates action (and stimulates further talk), talk that obscures action, and talk that justifies action. By addressing these and other possibilities, the project transcends conventional oppositions between talk and action and acknowledges that talk-action links are dynamic and cyclical rather than linear.

Contact: professor Lars Thøger Christensen, professor Mette Morsing or professor emeritus Ole Thyssen
 
Co- creating social entrepreneurship
Globalization has made co-creation an interesting area of human curiosity and research action. The challenge is how we should understand, create meaning around co-creation and use it to make our innovations sustainable, beyond our own geographical reference.

To do that, co-creation does not presuppose the preeminence of knowledge, but a need for shared experience around a locus where work of the solution will occur.

The central question is how best to apply the idea of co-creation aiming at creating future markets with a focus on innovative sets of products, policies, strategies, alliances, services and models

Please visit the website: http://www.cocreatech.dk/

For more information, contact: Ass. Professor Sudhanshu Rai
CSR konkurrencemæssige fordele

For more information, please contact: Professor Esben Rahbek Pedersen
EU - Innovate

With the overall goal of uncovering the obstacles and prospects that exist in Europe for a sustainable green economy the EU-InnovatE project strives to uncover the underlying factors, challenges and opportunities linked with the transition towards a sustainable society from an economic, social and environmental point of view. Co-financed by the European Union the project endeavors to tackle this area of concern by focusing on how user-centred and user-driven Integration, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship can positively influence our transition towards a greener economy. Not only because user-driven change remains an area of largely untapped potential, but also because it at the moment remains a mostly unexplored research area.

For more information, please contact: Professor Lucia Reisch
From Rio to Roskilde, Roundtrip

From Rio to Roskilde, Roundtrip project was launched in 2013 as a partnership between Roskilde Festival and Copenhagen Business School. The project sets out analyze the sustainability barriers and opportunities at the Roskilde Festival – an annual, week-long Danish music and culture event with approximately 130,000 guests. The objective of the project is to create awareness of how the global sustainability challenges from the Rio+20 Summit are manifested in a local setting, in this case the Roskilde Festival, and how these challenges may generate business opportunities.

The partnership between Copenhagen Business School and Roskilde Festival also involves a number of other research institutions, private companies, and industry organizations, including the University of Copenhagen, Aalborg University, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts - School of Architecture, The Confederation of Danish Industry (DI), Rockwool, and Implement Consulting Group. In close dialogue, the partners have identified three sustainability themes that are relevant to the festival and society more generally:

•    Sustainable food production and waste management,
•    temporary housing, and
•    waste as a resource.

For each theme a team consisting of researchers and experts from relevant companies has been formed. Each group has been affiliated with relevant project managers at Roskilde Festival in order to ensure proper working conditions at the Festival site. During the one-week festival, the involved researchers and experts observed behavior, conducted interviews, wrote blogs, participated in the festival work, and made photo/video documentation for research and dissemination purposes. Some of the work can be found on the project website: www.riotilroskilde.dk.

In 2013, the collaboration has been grounded in analyses and observations of already existing initiatives relevant to the three themes. The results will be presented at a conference in January 2014. The project involves continued collaboration with Roskilde Festival, The Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) and DI’s members, where the result from 2013 will lead to development of concrete innovation ideas and implementation of activities at the 2014 Festival.

Contact: Professor Esben Rahbek Gjerdrum Pedersen.
Global Values

The Global Values project aims to develop a comprehensive and innovative framework for assessing the impact that Multinational Corporations (MNCs) have on issues like sustainable development, human rights, transparency and anti-corruption. The project will shed light on institutional arrangements; analyse systems of governance for responsible business practices; explore responsible competitiveness; assess the complementarity of public and private sector activities; and derive recommendations for decision makers in business, policy and NGOs.

For more information, please contact: Professfor Lucia Reisch
IAP - SOCENT: If Not For Profit, For What? And How?

The overall objective of research programme is "Building interdisciplinary and integrated knowledge on social entrepreneurship and social enterprise" (the acronym of the programme, namely "SOCENT", is derived from this subtitle). The SOCENT research programme covers various thematic lines, among which a major international comparative social enterprise models - ICSEM - project, to be carried out in close partnership with the EMES European Research Network.
For more information, please contact professor Kai Hockert

INP Sustainability in a Scandinavian Context
Scandinavia is routinely cited as a global leader in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability.  In this research project we explore the foundations for claims that Scandinavian countries and Scandinavian companies are leaders in CSR and sustainability.  We do so while also exploring the potential contributing factors for these performances and looming challenges to these performances.  This project is comprised of a number of supporting initiatives that includes the building of the Nordic Network for Sustainability comprised of universities across the Nordic region and beyond, in particular North America, to collaboratively engage in sustainability and CSR research and educational opportunities.  The successful “Sustainability in a Scandinavian Context Conference” hosted at CBS in June 2013 (www.conferencemanager.dk/ssc2013/conference.html) represents one outcome of this project and a pending journal special issue dedicated to these topics.
For more information, please contact:Assistant professor Robert Strand
I4S
The “I4S” Initial Training Network is designed to study sustainability-driven innovation (SDI) in support of the European Union’s strategic commitment to ‘smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’. Preliminary research and prospective studies suggest that SDI involves management competences and organisational capabilities rarely found in traditional business-led, technology-driven innovation. It draws on new platforms of actors or a blend of social and business innovation. It can also lead to new business models that create and capture value, providing for performance in economic, environmental and social terms (including models drawn from nature which can be used as inspiration for innovation).

For more information, please contact: Professor Andreas Rasche
I.Family
You are what you eat and the way that you eat it! Investigate and report
The EC-funded project I.Family will do just that, helping to identify the reasons why young people in Europe eat the way they do and how this influences lifelong health.

Why do young people in Europe eat the way they do? What are the reasons behind their eating habits and choice of foods?
Many factors are at play. Family time and influence are challenged by modern independent lifestyles. Processed foods, drinks and snacks are readily available. Marketing and peer pressures, accompanied by screen-based distractions that can replace physical activity, all play their part, under-pinned by learnt taste preferences and genetic predispositions.

Building on data gained from over 10,000 children in the IDEFICS study, the EC funded project I.Family will provide further insight into the most important influences on Europe’s young people, their lifestyle behaviour and their eating habits.  I.Family will do this by re-assessing families as their children move into adolescence, identifying those families that have adopted a healthy approach to food and eating habits and those who have not. The project will help us understand the biological, behavioural, social and environmental factors that drive dietary behaviour as children journey towards adulthood.

With nutrition-related diseases causing a loss of over 56 million years of healthy life of European citizens as reported in 2000, policy-makers and healthcare professionals need to be sure how they can best support families to achieve healthier lifestyles. Families and individuals themselves will also benefit from the clarity provided by I.Family’s results, helping them to establish the ground rules that will lead to enjoyment of a longer healthier life.

Prof. Lucia Reisch is chairing the Work Package 7 “Consumer health behaviour and environmental factors”. Here, wider factors of nearer and wider environment of children and adolescents and their families are investigated. The regarded age group of pre-teens (tweens) is particularly susceptible to external influences since consumer competence and health literacy in nutrition related behaviour is just being built up, family guidance is gradually losing its predominance and the external consumption environment is gaining importance.

Assistant Prof. Wencke Gwozdz is co-chairing the Work Package 8 “Consumer awareness, ethical acceptability and policy implications”. Here, based on existing research and theory on behavioural change, social marketing and health communication, effective and pragmatic strategies as well as long-term policies to overcome ‘resistance to intervention’ will be designed and tested.
Mistra Future Fashion
The overall objective of the MISTRA Future Fashion project is to promote systemic change of the Swedish fashion industry that leads to sustainable development of the industry and wider society, while at the same time strengthening the competitiveness of this industry. Expected outcomes of the four-year research initiative (2011-2015) include e.g. novel textile fibers, educational materials for designers, innovative recycling solutions, new business models, toolboxes for communication, and recommendations for policy makers. The project is financed by Stiftelsen för Miljöstrategisk Forskning ( MISTRA ).

MISTRA Future Fashion is based on cross-sectoral and cross-disciplinary collaboration between academia and industry. Participants include SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Chalmers University of Technology, Copenhagen Business School, College of Crafts, Arts and Design (Konstfack), Innventia, Malmö University, Stockholm School of Economics, Swerea IVF, and the University of the Arts London. In addition, the project also has participation of industry partners.

MISTRA Future Fashion is divided into 8 research projects. CBS will be responsible for the planning and implementation of two of these:

Professor Esben Rahbek Gjerdrum Pedersen is project leader of Project 1: Changing markets & business models: Towards sustainable innovation in the fashion industry. The objective of this research project is to identify, develop, and disseminate knowledge about new market and business models for sustainable fashion. Concerted action is needed to foster a tipping point for sustainable fashion since no single actor has the capital and power to restructure the entire fashion industry. Therefore, the study of new market and business models have to look beyond the individual company and take into account the factors within the institutional environment that play a role in transforming the fashion industry.

Assistant Professor Wencke Gwozdz leads Project 7 : Sustainable consumption and consumer behaviour. The project strives to identify, develop, and disseminate in-depth knowledge about the sustainable fashion system in general and the behavior of specified consumers in particular. The focus is on potential promising entry points to successfully induce behavioral change towards more sustainable fashion consumption. We will be looking for such entry points in the realm of fashion producers, retailers and consumers as well as in policy making.

Contact persons: Professor Esben Rahbek Gjerdrum Pedersen and Assistant Professor Wencke Gwozdz
Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives in the Cotton Value Chains of South Asia

The overall objective of the Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives in the Cotton Value Chains of South Asia project is to analyze:

•    How multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSI) for sustainable cotton production are formulated, implemented, and monitored in the cotton value chains of South Asia; and

•    whether the processes through which MSIs are institutionalized in South Asia make any difference to the income, work, and environmental conditions of cotton farmers and on-farm workers in this region.

These objectives will be achieved through the development of a theoretical framework that analyzes the processes through which sustainable cotton MSIs emerge, how they are institutionalized in different institutional contexts in the developing world, and how a variety of global forces (MSIs in global value chains (GVCs)) and local forces (national institutional contexts, local industrialization strategies, and the agency of workers/farmers) co-determine cotton producers’/on-farm workers’ income, work, and environmental conditions in developing countries. The framework is then applied to a comparative study of the evolution of the world’s largest sustainable cotton MSI – the Better Cotton Initiative - and its effects in South Asia (India and Pakistan).

Contact person: Professor Peter Lund-Thomsen.
Nudge ItThe prevalence of overweight and obesity across Europe has increased dramatically in the last thirty years, particularly among children. The full consequences of this epidemic have yet to unfold, with an expected increase in a range of both physical ailments and mental health conditions including anxiety and depression. These are accompanied by huge social, health service and economic costs: they affect individuals in the midst of their working lives, impoverishing families through time lost at work and impaired employment prospects. Stress, compounded by social stigma and prejudice in workplace, educational and health care contexts, adds to the pressures on families and employment, and can enhance the vicious cycle of weight‐gain through “comfort eating.

For more information, please contact: Professor Lucia Reisch
ORGSEC

The recent revelations of WikiLeaks highlighted that secrecy is a fundamental part of organizations. This has profound social, economic and political implications. This project will conduct a systematic investigation of the significant, yet still widely neglected topic of organizational secrecy. The aim of the project is to bring organizational secrecy into research focus, add it as a novel basic construct to the analytical repertoire of the field of organization theory, develop a new social process approach to secrecy that focuses on the relation between secrecy, identity and control, and discuss its wide-ranging implications. The project takes an innovative multidisciplinary approach, including organization theory, sociology and philosophy, and empirical approach to secrecy, involving an in-depth qualitative case study.  It will serve to produce first insights on this timely topic of organizational secrecy that is not only foundational to the field of organization theory but also of great socio-economic relevance given the increasing push towards transparency, openness and knowledge-based activity in society and economy

For more information, please contact Professor Dan Kärreman
Social Innovation and Civic Engagement

The network on Social Innovation and Civic Engagement has three thematic strands: (1) Engaging Civil Society in Social Innovation, (2) Developing Democratic Cross-Sector Partnerships and (3) Social Innovation and Social Media. The purpose of nSICE is to bring together academics, government, business and civil society to address broad, fundamental questions of how social innovation and a shift of responsibility from the state to civil society (to individuals, community groups, charities, and the corporate world) can be made possible in sustainable, environmental, social and economic ways. nSICE is funded by the Danish Ministry of Social Affairs.

For more information, please contact: Julie Uldam
 
The Impact of Education on Social Entrepreneurship Intentions Formation

The project aims to study the impact CBS electives on Social Entrepreneurship have on participating students. In particular the study aims to research how these courses impact student intentions to start a social enterprise. This three part project runs from 2012 until 2014. Its first outcome has been a validation study which develops psychometrically validated measures for the antecedents of social entrepreneurial intentions. Currently these measures are used to test prior hypotheses about the impact these antecedents have on social entrepreneurial intentions formation in a student population sample as well as in a general population sample. In a next step longitudinal data will be analyzed comparing student responses before and after taking electives on Social Entrepreneurship.

Contact: Professor Kai Hockerts
The Milky Way to Development – giving a voice to small scale milk producers in a liberalized milk market

The project has been supported by Danida’s (Denmark’s development cooperation, which is an area of activity under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark) CSR-resources in 2013 and the overall responsibility for this project is anchored at Care Denmark.

The abolition of EU milk quotas in 2015 will lead to an explosion in EU milk production and will demand new markets. EU dairy enterprises are planning to target the West African market, which will pressure the local producers further. The overall goal of the project is to prepare small dairy farmers in Niger, Mali, and Senegal to cope with the effects of a liberalized dairy market. To make this happen the project will focus on documenting the consequences of a liberalized dairy market to secure a dialogue based on facts and at the same time try to mobilize the African dairies to make sure they have a political voice. Key activities will therefore be facilitation of multi-stakeholder dialogues between dairy enterprises, local producers and West African dairies. CBS will be responsible for documenting and analysing the outcomes of the NGO facilitated multi-stakeholder dialogues.

Contact: Janni Thusgaard Pedersen

The Paradox of Activism

The ‘paradox of activism’ project explores challenges to the emancipatory potential of social media for activists. The possibilities of social media to provide social movements with a virtual space for mobilization, organization, self-representation and action has spurred hopes for their emancipatory potential. However, the proliferation of social media also provides government and corporate actors with new possibilities for monitoring activists that they consider a potential risk. Recognising that online technologies are embedded in wider societal power relations, the project explores the ways in which companies’ management of visibility and reputation influence activists’ possibilities for leveraging the empowering potentialities of social media platforms. The project is funded by the Danish Research Council for Independent Research.

For more information, please contact:Julie Uldam

Water efficient dairies - a partnership towards the waterless dairy

By the end of 2015 the milk quotas decided by EU will disappear. This will result in an estimated increase of milk produced each year by 10 % or equivalent to one billion kilos milk. This creates the opportunity to investigate the possibilities for greater productions in the dairy industry, where innovation and new technologies including increased water efficiency has great market potential.

The project aims to reduce the water consumption in the Danish dairy industry and at the same time take into account the dairies economy, food safety, work environment, and environmental conditions. To achieve this goal holistic solutions are preferred. This project will furthermore focus on a broad integration and by that secure the greatest possible savings for the industry as a whole.

The project is a partnership between five dairies, The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Landbrug & Fødevarer, The Danish Chamber of Commerce, The Danish Society for Nature Conservation, Vestforsyning A/S, six technology manufacturers and five institutions of knowledge, where CBS is one of them. The funding for this project is supported by a grant from The Danish Government, who administrates the resources in “Growth Plan for Food”.

Contact: Professor Esben Rahbek Gjerdrum Pedersen

WCRE

The MSC World Class Research Environment (WCRE) ‘Governing Responsible Business’ aims at creating a thriving context for research located at the intersection of socio-economic governance and responsible business.

Researchers associated with the Governing Responsible Business (GRB) research environment reflect on the ways in which businesses act as governance takers (e.g. when firms sign up to voluntary standards) and governance makers (e.g. when firms start to supply public goods that used to be provided by state actors), and how these roles affect firms’ responsibilities towards society. Questions with regard to both roles are explored at different levels of analysis – i.e. (1) related to societal issues (e.g. when looking at how governance arrangements for responsible business are taken up on the country/sector level), (2) related to organizational issues (e.g. when researching how firms resist new governance arrangements and communicate about them), and (3) related to the individual level (e.g. when exploring how new ways of governing social and environmental problems affect consumers and other stakeholders).

 

Completed Projects

Corporate Communication and Sustainabilit

Carina Christine Skovmøller started her VELUX supported industrial PhD project in January 2008. Carina Christine Skovmøller has a MA in Communication and Economics and she works at VELUX Stakeholder Communications.

Carina Christine Skovmøller’s project focuses on the implementation of sustainable living in VELUX communications on a global level. The aim is to uncover, which parameters are the most decisive in relation to whether or not sustainable living can be managed in a way, so that it appears credible, but at the same time respects the relationship between global and local level in the company.

Carina Christine Skovmøller will do the PhD in collaboration with cbsCSR and VELUX A/S. Her supervisors are Professor Anne-Marie Søderberg (cbsCSRaffiliated) and Professor Mette Morsing (cbsCSR).
"VELUX's answer to the climate situation and to the demands made of us and our products is ‘Sustainable Living’, which for us means three things: that the buildings of the future have a sound indoor climate, that they are energy efficient and that we have to use renewable energy sources. We hope that we are able to use some of the results from this PhD internally in our future work with sustainable living.”
Michael Rasmussen, Markering Director, VELUX A/S

For more information contact Carina Skovmøller

CORPUS

Enhancing connectivity between research and policy-making in sustainable consumption - CORPUS -

FP7 Project, chaired by Prof. Lucia A. Reisch, cbsCSR (starts 2010)

The current EU Research Framework Programme (FP7) provides the unique opportunity to further improve knowledge transfer at the interface of policy-making and research on sustainable development. CORPUS is a research project within the work programme “Environment”. It aims to develop new and practical approaches in order to enhance the connectivity between research and policy-making. The aim of this activity in FP 7 is to experiment and develop new integrative modalities of linking research results to policy-making through 'secondary exploitation' of existing research. The project will focus on the policy issue of ‘sustainable consumption’ which is of great importance in the current and future strategic development of the EU. It is included, for instance, in the re-launched Lisbon Strategy and is one of the key challenges of renewed EU SDS.

The objectives of the project are:

•    Development and testing of a knowledge web-platform with in-built incentives attracting and matching researchers’ and policy-makers’ interests in knowledge exchange alike.

•    Development and testing of interactive tools of knowledge brokerage within different dialogue-oriented formats, such as scenario workshops and mapping exercises.

•    Initiation of learning processes among researchers and policy-makers involved in the specific trials in order to trigger self-sustaining processes of knowledge brokerage and community building.

•    Assessment of the capabilities and shortcomings of the knowledge brokerage tools under consideration in order to arrive at general recommendations for future methodologies aimed to enhance the connectivity between research and policy-making in sustainable development.

You can download the brochure for the project here: Corpus Folder

Contact person: Professor  Lucia A. Reisch
CREWe

Corporate Responsibility in small Enterprises and Work Environment

To what extent can CSR be used to ensure a healthy working environment? This is the question that cbsCSR and NFA (National Research Centre for the Working Environment) jointly have been trying to answer for the past year. The work continues, and deeper research is taken on, but already now several main conclusions seem ready.

Anne Roepstorff is responsible for CREWe at cbsCSR. “It has been a really positive cooperation with NFA and it has been very exciting to meet with CEOs from SMEs (small- to medium-sized enterprises) from all over the country,” Anne Roepstorff says. Until the start-up of CREWe, the obvious connection between CSR and working environment has been an unexplored theme in Danish as well as international research. That is why this partnership between cbsCSR and NFA is notable among other research projects. cbsCSR has been able to add knowledge about CSR, and NFA has delivered knowledge about the working environment.

”We have found that academic research on the interaction between working environment and CSR in smaller enterprises is practically non-existing; but since most CSR initiatives in SMEs deal with environment and employees, working environment and CSR together are absolutely relevant for further research,” says Anne Roepstorff.

The study is somewhat comprehensive. The CREWe project runs from the summer of 2007 to the summer of 2008. The project will continue the research from the summer of 2008 to the summer of 2011. The CREWe project uses a wide approach. Literature on the subject is studied, ten qualitative interviews with CSR experts are done, and 21 case studies in smaller companies have been arranged. The project has a special focus on smaller- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Large fonds are needed, and through Arbejdsmiljøfonden, the research project has received a total amount of 5.9 million DKK. The main conclusion is so far that different types of CSR activities help improve the working environment. This is interesting in relation to SMEs. Regulation of SMEs is often considered necessary by parliaments, but SMEs tend to see regulation as an external evil, which takes up capacity and suppresses profit rather than supports it. It therefore seems as if the new study in CSR opens the door for SMEs to take up CSR even more and thereby, as time goes by, make current regulation unnecessary.

Another main conclusion is that CSR activities have a large potential to improve the psycho-social working environment. CSR stresses the importance of volunteering, business and dialogue with shareholders. This is an important conclusion since 1/4 of all absence due to illness comes from stress. “CSR with a starting point in the individual company and with focus on freedom for the individual company has been found to have larger appeal to the companies than law-making, which the working environment debate traditionally has been characterised by. On top of that, it has been shown that SMEs have a particularly good possibility to use this CSR-concept to enter into entrepreneurial action,” says Anne Roepstorff.

For more information, please contact Anne Roepstorff
CSR as Governmentality

This part of the centre’s research agenda focuses on the public policy dimension of CSR. The aim is to explore and compare government agendas and initiatives regarding corporate responsibilities at the supranational, national, regional and local level. Particular attention will be devoted to developments within the EU (including EU member states) and in the Nordic countries. At cbsCSR, associate professor Steen Vallentin is leading research into this particular dimension of CSR.

One of the sub-projects in the Nordic Center for Corporate Responsibility (NCCR, see page 37) is concerned with mapping and comparing governmental activities and developments. Among the researchers contributing to this project are, apart from Steen Vallentin, professor Atle Midttun, BI Norwegian School of Management, associate professor Susanne Sweet, Stockholm School of Economics, and PhD candidate Maria Gjølberg, Oslo University. Data has been collected in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland and is currently being analysed. Other research projects in this area involve collaboration with Bocconi University (Milan) and ESADE (Barcelona).

The heading ‘governmentality’ points to the need for critical reflection on public policy developments. In the new millennium we are witnessing a transition from social policy to economic policy as the dominant rationale for government involvement in CSR. The Danish “People & Profit” project and the recently (May, 2008) published Danish government “Action Plan for Corporate Social Responsibility” are both clear-cut examples of a business-driven approach to CSR. Within the EU, the competitiveness agenda is increasingly dominating governmental approaches to CSR and we are, accordingly, seeing widespread employment of liberal and indirect means of steering. Government assumes the role of an empowering facilitator of CSR, not a regulatory enforcer. Government becomes a matter not of providing formal or hard regulation, but of enabling and encouraging socially responsible self-regulation by companies. Government works - not to put social or environmental restraints on companies - but to help them identify and act upon strategic opportunities in their environment. Curiously, government promotes CSR by pushing the profit motive, not by restraining it – which is often assumed to be the role of government in regard to CSR.

The question is: what happens to CSR in the process. The competitiveness agenda subjects CSR to economical reasoning and market thinking with its strong focus on the business case, strategic CSR, value creation, innovation and win-win situations. Although such an economic approach may be considered as absolutely crucial for a widespread mainstreaming of CSR to take place, it also gives reason for concern. Mainstreaming may come at too high a cost. What happens to CSR in the process? Are we witnessing a kind of economic colonisation or takeover of CSR at the public policy level? And, if so, what social issues and concerns may be pushed to the side in the process?

The governmentality approach suggests that we need to take a close look at the means and modes of governance that the turn towards competitiveness leads to. We need to focus not only on the rationalities and mentalities that serve as the impetus for governmental policies and activities, but also on the forms of networks and organisation it gives rise to and its actual implications. Thus, the overall aim is to formulate a critique that is not only ideological but also practical.

For more information please contact Steen Vallentin
CSR-driven Innovation

Combining Design and Business in a Profitable and Sustainable Way

This project aims to inspire and support creative CSR-driven innovation and design solutions for SMEs. The project will study solutions that respond to societal challenges in a profitable way and will strengthen Nordic and regional partnerships. It is part of the Nordic Centre on Corporate Responsibility (NCCR).

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has permeated management practice and theory up to a point, where CSR can be referred to as the latest management fad. Nevertheless, so far CSR integration into business processes has been very uneven. Most companies conceptualise CSR primarily as a tool to reduce risks and operational cost. Only a minority of companies is actually using CSR as a means to drive innovation. Among SMEs the amount is even smaller. This project aims to inspire and support creative CSR-driven innovation and design solutions for SMEs. The project will study solutions that respond to societal challenges in a profitable way and will strengthen Nordic and regional partnerships. It is part of the Nordic Centre on Corporate Responsibility (NCCR).

Each Academic partner has chosen and collected data from three cases within their respective country. These cases have been selected in terms of innovation of business models, design or technology, which makes 15 cases in total. cbsCSR has been the main driver behind data collection and deliverables, among these are state-of-the-art literature reviews. All data is collected and analysed at cbsCSR in order to compare SME engagement within the Nordic countries and determine future business recommendations.

The project aims at strengthening the efforts of Nordic SMEs to generate profitable innovative products and services driven by environmental and societal considerations. Together, the Nordic countries hope to be able to make a difference by underpinning and upgrading enterprises and business partners with knowledge and concrete business tools aimed at promoting and supporting CSR driven innovation – innovation, which is set to improve the competitiveness, sustainability and growth of Nordic SMEs.

This project includes the following Nordic partners:

•    Danish Commerce and Companies Agency, Denmark
•    BI - Norwegian School of Management, Norway
•    Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
•    Design Forum, Finland
•    Finnish Business and Society
•    Helsinki School of Economics, Finland
•    Index, Denmark
•    Institute for Arts, Development and Education, Finland
•    Region Sealnad, denmark
•    Reykjavik Business University, Iceland
•    Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden
•    TrygVesta, denmark
•    Turku School of Economics, Finland.

For more information please contact Mette Morsing
CSR in SMEs

cbsCSR was invited to chair the National Research Panel and Project on “CSR in SMEs in Denmark”, as part of the People and Profit project, which is funded by the EUs Social Foundation and Agency for Employment, and headed by the Danish Agency for Commerce and Companies under the Danish Ministry of Commerce and Trade.

 “CSR in SMEs in Denmark” was part of the People & Profit initiative, which was initiated to prepare the Danish businesses for the increasing international competition by documenting the strong CSR integration in Danish businesses and to help the integration of citizens into the labour market. Small- and medium-sized companies, particularly, were identified as lacking documentation as opposed to multinational companies, as SMEs have not experienced the same vulnerability in respect to media as some MNCs. The initiative should make sure Denmark reaches the goals set up in the Lisbon Agenda.

The overall purpose of establishing the panel and the project was to create awareness about risks and opportunities for SMEs in relation to CSR, and to disseminate knowledge to more than the 4,000 companies and 12,000 people who participated in the People and Profit educational programmes.

The Research Panel consisted of Allan Lerberg Jørgensen (The Danish Institute for Human Rights), Anne Ellerup Nielsen (Aarhus School of Business (ASB)), Anne Roepstorff (cbsCBS), Christa Thomsen (ASB), Henrik Wenzel (Technical University of Denmark), Jeanette Lemmergaard (University of Southern Denmark), Joachim Boll (The Danish National Centre for Social Research), Karin Buhmann (Roskilde University), Martin Marcussen (University of Copenhagen), Mette Andersen (CBS), Mette Mønsted (CBS), Ole Mølvadgaard (Aalborg University), Peter Lund-Thomsen (cbsCSR), Steen Hildebrandt (ASB), Steen Vallentin (cbsCSR), Søren Jeppesen (cbsCSR) and chaired by Mette Morsing (cbsCSR).

The purpose of the research panel was to qualify the debate. The panel collected knowledge and helped disseminate it and comment on it. It commented on the education material created through the People & Profit project, and it contributed with inputs to the train-the-trainers' programme. Finally, a book was published in 2008 by Børsen.
The research project has produced what is so far known as the largest data collection in relation to CSR in SMEs in Denmark. The research project should collect and create knowledge. The research project initiated small research projects, contributed to the publishing of articles, and created a catalogue of best practices.

The research project resulted in a conference, “The Social Responsibility of Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises – Integration of CSR into SME Business Practice”, which is described in further details on the following page.

"While the People and Profit project was a very Danish idea, it turned out to evoke an unexpected international attention. We have travelled internationally to talk about the project and we were invited to talk in the World Bank. Inviting cbsCSR researchers to engage with us in discussing and exchanging ideas on the project has been an enriching experience. We have challenged each other and we will continue to do so in the future: collaborate and challenge each other.”
- Carsten Ingerslev, The Danish Commerce and Companies Agency.

For more information, contact Mette Morsing
DISTRES

The Distributed Renewable Energy Sources Project, Creating EU Leadership within Solar Energy

Lately, climate change and renewable energy seem to be on everybody’s lips, and cbsCSR is no exception. In November 2007, we joined the European Commission funded DISTRES project as the only North-European partner. The DISTRES project is about creating research results, which will help to promote increasing and better use of the abundant resource that solar energy constitutes in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.

And as we have learned at cbsCSR, the project has nothing to do with being distressed! On the other hand, the DISTRES project is about creating research results, which will help to promote increasing and better use of the abundant resource that solar energy constitutes in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. All together, the DISTRES project represents one small piece in the major EU climate and environmental puzzle, which aims to promote the development of “greener” and less CO2-emitting ways of producing energy. Within DISTRES, the focus is particularly on solar cell and solar thermal energy. DISTRES is a three-year coordination action project, which involves a range of different partners with expertise within diverse areas of energy, technology, climate and the environment. The partners are University of St. Gallen (Switzerland), Instituto Superior de Engenharia de Lisboa (Portugal), Institute of Communication and Computer systems (Greece), Scholai Frederickou (Cyprus), TECHNOFI (France),Organization for Energy Planning (Egypt), Centre de Developpement des Energies Renouvelables (Algeria), Palestinian Energy and Environment Research Center (Palestine), Center for the Development of Renewable Energies (Morocco), Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority (Cyprus), Centre for Renewable Energy Sources (Greece), Association Libanaise pour la maitrise de l’Energie et pour l’Environment (Libanon), Cyprus International Institute for the Environment and Public Health in Association with Harvard School of Public Health (Cyprus) and New and Renewable Energy Authority (Egypt). As one of the only two business school partners on the DISTRES project, we will contribute with our knowledge and research expertise on issues of corporate environmental responsibility and business performance.

Our main task in DISTRES is to conduct in-depth research on a range of solar cell businesses along the entire solar industry value chain, from manufacturers of raw materials to major solar system developers. One of our goals is to be able to identify examples of successful business models for solar energy companies; broadly speaking what are the specific characteristics and value propositions of the solar cell companies that do really well today? What are the success factors and how can we use their business models to make recommendations for future solar cell businesses? Another goal is to be able to identify important mechanisms and dynamics for cooperation on the Mediterranean solar energy market in order to enhance the diffusion of solar cells in this area. The research so far touches upon diverse areas - ranging from environmental communications, ownership and investing, motivation, organisational structures, resource access and network capabilities. We have also been happy to see that climate change and renewable energies have attracted a lot of positive attention from students at CBS. We have been fortunate enough to start cooperation with a number of CBS thesis students on the work of DISTRES, so far creating a very positive synergy effect.
For cbsCSR’s part, DISTRES is planned to end in December 2008, concluding with a workshop and conference taking place in one of our Mediterranean partner countries. The event will outline the results achieved on our specific project task, and participants will include other project partners as well as external stakeholders. We already look forward to presenting the results to them as well as to relevant cbsCSR partners at the end of 2008!
 
For more information please contact Kai Hockerts
Employer Branding


Sanne Frandsen started her TDC-supported industrial PhD project in the fall of 2008 with a focus on employer branding, while asking the question of how CSR influences the corporate employer brand. Sanne Frandsen has a MA in Danish and Communication and she came from a position in TDC’s communication department. Her PhD project focuses on exploring how corporate communication and HR may integrate their efforts to strategically pursue the challenges of employer branding. Rather than seeing employer branding as an exercise, which targets external stakeholders, i.e. potential employees, or seeing employer branding as an issue of identity and identification, Frandsen’s project explores how the corporate identity of the company plays a role for external communication with the ambition of creating a strong employer brand.
 
Her PhD project addresses a subject with much focus on current Danish society; yet an area that is relatively unexplored theoretically, and Frandsen’s contribution is, through empirical studies, to explore the relations and dynamics of HR and corporate communication towards employer branding.
A key question for the PhD project is how employer branding strengthens the perception of the company as an attractive place to work among potential and existing employees?
 

For more information contact Sanne Frandsen

European Platform

In the period 2004 to 2007, The European Academy of Business in Society (EABIS) gathered Business Schools from all over Europe to take part in the CSR Platform Project. The Platform was supported by a grant from the EU Commission under the sixth framework with the aim of coordinating and developing the research activities of the issue of CSR in Europe that is to develop “The European Platform for CSR Excellence”.

The project was put into being, because of three key shortfalls of the mainstream academic literature on the field of business in society. First, the European research agenda on CSR appeared fragmented. Secondly, the field had not paid much attention to the perspective of other stakeholders on the role of business in society. Thirdly, the dissemination of research on CSR issues was diffuse (as documented by CBS scholars Ougaard, M. & Elgaard Nielsen, M., 2002), that is there was a lack of interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-fertilisation in dissemination efforts and that there was no strategic dissemination of CSR research at the European level.

The CSR Platform Project was unique as it provided a platform for academic institutions, business, policy-makers and civil society actors with interest in CSR to discuss and shape the European CSR research agenda. The Project provided the opportunity to align and integrate research to achieve synergies between European research institutions. It also helped create a view of best practices in relation to dissemination of research findings.
The project was divided into seven Work Packages. cbsCSR was responsible for CBS’ collaboration with the European partners in two work packages: “European CSR Network for Scholars” (WP3) and “European CSR Network for Young Scholars” (WP2).

Together with Bart Neerscholten (EABIS), Nigel Roome (The Management Development Network, EFMD) and Matthew Wood (EFMD), CBS scholars Mette Morsing, Jonas Eder-Hansen and Cheryl Iseli handled the Work Package “European CSR Network for Young Scholars”. In relation to the project, CBS, katholische Universität Eichstaett-Ingolstadt, Warwick Business School, INSEAD and Cranfield School of Management investigated how to identify ‘best practice’ and to improve the local knowledge environments. It was found that CBS, with a starting point in traditional fundamental fields within business economics, has been very active in facilitating cross-disciplinary work.

CBS choose to try to strengthen the CSR Platform project and to work with knowledge dissemination by having a seminar with keynote speaker Dr. Edward Freeman. The seminar, entitled “Building Bridges between Fundamental and Applied Business Disciplines on the Role of Society” attracted 90 European participants on 25 October 2005.

Researchers were invited to present from either fundamental scholarly disciplines (including political science, economics, sociology etc.) or an applied business discipline (including strategy, marketing, finance etc.) to begin the exploration and discussion of applied-fundamental research. A result from the conference was a list of opportunities as well as a list of barriers in relation to improving the CSR agenda and the dissipation of knowledge.

"cbsCSR has been an important partner in the CSR Platform project. Especially, the unique CBS approach to CSR research and teaching that has consistently integrated applied and fundamental disciplines on various levels. Consequently, cbsCSR has delivered valuable insights and inputs to the creation of the EABIS Platform for Excellence in CSR Research."

For more information contact Mette Morsing
DEFICS

IDEFICS study, Identification and prevention of Dietary- and lifestyle-induced health effects In Children and infants

The IDEFICS study, financed by the EU 6th Framework Programme, was a major multidisciplinary, intercultural project with partners in 11 EU countries and focusing on children aged 2 to 10 years. The project was conducted from September 2006 until February 2012.

Its strategic objectives were:

1. to enhance knowledge of health effects of an altered social environment & lifestyle of children in Europe
2. and to develop, implement & validate specific intervention approaches in order to reduce the prevalence of diet- & lifestyle-related diseases & disorders in the EU

Prof. Lucia Reisch is chairing the Work Activity 07 “Consumer science”. Here, consumer behaviour is put into the broader perspective of society, e.g., internal and external factors of health behaviour are identified. Children’s health behaviour is not only influenced by individual characteristics and the family environment, but also by communities and school and on a societal level by all actors involved, e.g., political actors, mass media, food industry etc. A special interest within this consumer working area is laid on the role of commercials where a qualitative toolbox provides an insight into the effects commercials exert on children’s food related behaviour.

For more information contact: Lucia A. Reisch  and Wencke Gwozdz
ISERC3


Social Entrepreneurship has become a global phenomenon that employs innovative approaches to solve social problems with the aim to radically improve benefits to society. Traditionally, academic interest in the topic has focused on practitioner events and teaching. Only recently social entrepreneurship has become subject to rigorous academic analysis.
 
The International Social Entrepreneurship Research Conference (ISERC) series has been set up to be the leading event for advancing this academic research agenda. In 2008, the third ISERC meeting was hosted at Copenhagen Business School by Kai Hockerts (CBS), Johanna Mair (IESE), and Jeff Robinson (NYU). Following a careful peer review process of over 40 paper submissions, thirteen papers were invited for presentation. Speakers came from leading business schools including Bocconi, Cambridge, Darden, LSE, NYU, Oxford, and Vanderbuild. The presentations gave both empirical and conceptual/theoretical insights into social entrepreneurship as a global phenomenon applying different perspectives and theoretical lenses.
 
ISERC3 has helped with the further refinement of theoretical concepts and scholarly ideas regarding this area of research, and the solidification of a research network for thought leadership and knowledge generation in social entrepreneurship. The meeting was an important step towards securing creative partnerships and cross-national research projects. Participation for the conference was capped at 50 scholars representing the main research streams in Europe and North America. Thanks to the support of the European Commission's Asia Link programme, we were also able to welcome participants from Singapore and the Philippines, thus, extending the reach of ISERC into Asia.
 

For more information contact Kai Hockerts

RESPONSE

RESPONSE - There is no one way...

From 2004 until 2007, CBS partnered in a joint international research effort with INSEAD and Bocconi University. The project RESPONSE aims at understanding how multinational companies see their responsibility towards society and how this is aligned (or not) with the expectations of their stakeholders.

At CBS the project was executed by Professor Peter Neergaard, Associate Professor Kai Hockerts, and Dr. Esben Rahbek Pedersen with the help of seven research assistants. With 400 interviews and a web-based survey with 1,100 managers, RESPONSE is the largest research projects on CSR to date, made possible through a EURO 1.3 million grant from the European Commission’s Framework Programme. An average of 20 interviews per company (top managers and key stakeholders) were carried out in 19 companies, eight of which were conducted by CBS researchers.
Having concluded data collection in 2007, the RESPONSE project is currently analysing its data and developing several research papers. An initial draft report was presented to the European Commission in autumn 2007 at the project’s concluding conference. Furthermore, work in progress has been presented at the EABIS colloquium, the Academy of Management, and several research workshops. A follow-up conference was held in June 2008, at which further findings were presented and discussed.

Coordinating a cross-national research project such as RESPONSE requires much energy. “There has been a lot of administrative work in getting this project realised, but the international dimension has added a unique quality. Nevertheless, it has been a challenge and inspiration to interview top executives in large multinational companies,” concludes Peter Neergaard.

For more information please contact: Esben Rahbek Pedersen, Peter Neergaard and Kai Hockerts
Responsible Business in the Blogosphere

Responsible Business in the Blogosphere (RBB) is a 3 year-project run by Copenhagen Business School (CBS and Danish Technological University (DTU). The goal of the project is to investigate how companies’ reputations as a “responsible business” are constructed online in virtual social networks.

A reputation as a responsible business is becoming more and more important among executives in their work for company value creation. At the same time the online communities of the web are setting the news agenda before journalists and regular media masses. Apple for example did not predict how users would mobilizes a “Green my Macintosh” online supported campaign which demanded that the company acknowledged and lived up to values of environmental sustainability, which Apple never had promised.

The project works from the assumption that communication process, even though initiated autonomously, not necessarily are unpredictable. The projects hypothesis is that these online communication process are taking place in networks and patterns which are possible to identify through the use of socio-economical case studies, linguistic analysis, data-mining, and mathematical models. On this basis the project will contribute with the development of new measurement methods for the value of online communication for the development of ethical capital.

For more information contact Mette Morsing
The Role of Non-Financial Performance Measurement in modern organisational life
 
Non-financial performance measurement (NPM) systems have fast become an integrated part of organisational life. Some see the explosion in NPM systems as a reflection of a disillusion with existing management control systems, others as a representation of the instrumental rationalisation of organisations, and still others as a response to overall societal changes that increase the need to manage intangible assets.
 
Whatever the perspective, there seems to be some consensus that the new NPM systems may stimulate organisational changes, albeit not always in the way that was originally intended. Proponents believe that ‘what gets measured gets done’ and that NPM can potentially be a source of competitive advantage, whereas more sceptical voices argue that these systems have a more symbolic character and are only loosely coupled to organisational decision-making and behaviour.
 
The growing popularity of NPM combined with the ambiguity that still surrounds this area is the main motivation for this project. More specifically, the objective is to analyse how the adoption and use of NPM systems shape and in turn are shaped by the companies’ organisational routines. The project is less a matter of identifying the NPM systems that generate high financial performance than an attempt to draw up the architecture of the companies that adopt NPM and understand the organisational consequences of these management technologies.
 
The project is based on a web-survey and a number of case studies in order to render possible a theory-driven test of hypotheses as well as an inductive inquiry of NPM in a real-life context. With regard to the former, the web-survey tests a number of hypotheses regarding the relationship between the adoption of NPM and the companies’ organisational routines. With regard to the latter, the case studies enable a qualitative analysis of the rationales for adopting NPM, the factors that influence the implementation and daily use, and the intended/unintended impacts.
 
Theoretically, the project improves the understanding of the dynamic relationship between new management technologies (NPM) and the organisation (capabilities). On the one hand, the study of NPM helps explain how management technologies can be used to change, manipulate, and negotiate capabilities. On the other hand, the capabilities' theory contributes to the NPM research by showing how organisational routines affect the adoption and use of these systems.Empirically, the project’s comprehensive investigation of NPM will make a noticeable contribution to the existing research base, where large scale empirical studies are still few. In Denmark only minor surveys of NPM have been carried out and even the international literature remains dominated by case studies.
 
For more information contact Esben Rahbek Pedersen

 

The page was last edited by: Department of Management, Society and Communication // 06/14/2017

Contact

CBS Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility
Copenhagen Business School
Porcelænshaven 18A,
2000 Frederiksberg
Telephone: (+45) 3815 3014
Email: cbscsr@cbs.dk