Exploring the Nature of the Relationship between CSR and Competitiveness

Posted: 20 Nov 2011

See all articles by Marc Vilanova

Marc Vilanova

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Josep M. Lozano

ESADE Business School

Daniel Arenas

ESADE Business School

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

This paper explores the nature of the relationship between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and competitiveness. We start with the commonly held view that firm competitiveness is defined by the market. That is, the question of what are the critical competitiveness factors is answered by looking at how companies and financial analysts describe and evaluate a firm. To analyze this, we review the current state of the art on the relationship between CSR and competitiveness. Second, CSR criteria used by financial analysts is identified and compared with company valuation methods. Third, the results of a multi-stakeholder dialogue on CSR and competitiveness of the European financial sector are presented. As a conclusion, we argue that CSR and competitiveness relate through a learning and innovation cycle, where corporate values, policies and practices are permanently defined and re-defined. Thus, we propose that learning takes place as CSR is embedded in business processes, and that once it has been integrated, in turn, it generates innovative practices, and finally, competitiveness. At the end of the paper, we propose that CSR in practice consists of managing inherent paradoxes generated by the tension between CSR and business policies.

Keywords: competitiveness, responsible competitiveness, corporate reputation, CSR, organitzational strategy, paradox

Suggested Citation

Vilanova, Marc and Lozano, Josep M. and Arenas, Daniel, Exploring the Nature of the Relationship between CSR and Competitiveness (2009). Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 87, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1855052

Marc Vilanova

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Josep M. Lozano (Contact Author)

ESADE Business School ( email )

Av. de Pedralbes, 60-62
Barcelona, 08034
Spain

Daniel Arenas

ESADE Business School ( email )

Av. de Pedralbes, 60-62
Barcelona, 08034
Spain

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