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From Resistance to Opportunity-Seeking: Strategic Responses to Institutional Pressures for Corporate Social Responsibility in the Nordic Fashion Industry

Abstract

Using survey responses from 400 fashion companies in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland, we examine the diversity of strategic responses to institutional pressures for corporate social responsibility (CSR) within the Nordic fashion industry. We also develop and test a new model of strategic responses to institutional pressures that encompasses both resistance and opportunity-seeking behaviour. Our results suggest that it is inconsistent pressures within, rather than between, stakeholder groups that shape strategic responses to CSR pressures and that increasing pressures stimulates opportunity-seeking at the expense of compliance.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Here, CSR is broadly defined in accordance with van Marrewijk (2003) as (…) company activities – voluntary by definition – demonstrating the inclusion of social and environmental concerns in business operations and in interactions with stakeholders’ (p. 102). It is beyond the scope of this paper to discuss how this definition relates to other definitions of CSR and related concepts such as sustainable business or corporate citizenship.

  2. 2.

    The response rate was calculated by \( \frac{\text{completes}}{{{\text{completes}} + \frac{\text{completes}}{{{\text{compleles}} + {\text{not}}\;{\text{qualified}}}}*({\text{refused}} + {\text{not}}\; {\text{contacted}})}} \), where ‘completes’ equals completed interviews; ‘not qualified’ denotes respondents who do not meet the screening criteria or overfill the quota; ‘refused’ are respondents who refused to participate or terminated mid-interview; and ‘not contacted’ comprises instances such as wrong or continuously engaged numbers or answering machines.

  3. 3.

    Brent Spar concerns Shell’s planned disposal of an oil storage buoy in the North Sea which sparked international protests, and the Niger Delta case concerns the execution of community activists in Nigeria where Shell as a powerful actor was accused of passivity (at best) (Livesey 2001).

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Correspondence to Esben Rahbek Gjerdrum Pedersen.

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Pedersen, E.R.G., Gwozdz, W. From Resistance to Opportunity-Seeking: Strategic Responses to Institutional Pressures for Corporate Social Responsibility in the Nordic Fashion Industry. J Bus Ethics 119, 245–264 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-013-1630-5

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Keywords

  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Sustainability
  • Institutional pressures
  • Strategic responses