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Balancing economic, social and natural capital: the contribution of Corporate Social Responsibility and the role of Greenpeace in creating balance

Meurs, Emma (2012) Balancing economic, social and natural capital: the contribution of Corporate Social Responsibility and the role of Greenpeace in creating balance.

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Abstract:This thesis presumes that various forms of capital (economic, social and natural capital) an organization depends on to survive are not equivalently integrated in businesses. Economic capital is considered more important than other forms of capital, resulting in a rise of social, environmental and ethical problems in the past decades. Balancing these forms of capital asks for a shift in mindset by business leaders from maximizing profits to a new sustainable business model. Effective Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) could put more weight in the ‘balance scale’ by means of adding value to all forms of capital. This thesis explains how the principle of Heider’s balance theory is shaped through CSR by presenting five unbalanced situations, whereof the imbalance between short-term growth and long-term responsibility and the imbalance between a CSR strategy and stakeholder expectations of CSR. Balance theory is used as a framework to demonstrate where CSR conflicts emerge between the organization and its environment. Expectations with regard to CSR issues are particularly propagated by Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs). A focus is therefore laid on the environmental organization Greenpeace and their role in creating balance. Furthermore, thirteen CSR managers of different organizations have been interviewed on themes such as stakeholder engagement, CSR motivation and sustainable growth in order to find an answer to the research question: how can CSR contribute to balancing economic, social and natural capital? This research concludes that a key challenge for organizations in the long run is to ensure their continuity by means of a more collective approach based on mutual benefits instead of a return-on-investment, shareholder value approach. To have a substantial impact, CSR needs to be envisioned and valued by all employees of the organization and not only by the CSR manager and his or her team. At the same time NGOs like Greenpeace should not only fight these businesses but also look for modes of cooperation. Greenpeace could focus more on offering CSR managers the ‘ammunition’ they need to become more sustainable and to help them reduce internal scepticism
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/61810
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