This section describes the methodology of researching and gathering the data for the purpose of completing the research. It also analyses the different views of conducing the information towards accomplishing this study. Another aspect of this section is the limi-tations of the chosen methodology and its approach.
In the theory of methodology the basic and one of the most common classifications is the one which divides the information gathered as of a primary and secondary source. According to the University of Maryland (n.d..) the primary sources are from the time involved and have not been processed by any kind of assessment. The secondary sources on the other hand are assessed and evaluated primary information which is not genuine i.e. processed primary information.
The method itself was quite a challenging part of this study. The information that need-ed to be collected was initially imagined to be mostly of a primary source but in the lat-er phases of the work the primary information collection was seen as something which required significant amount of effort and persistence. Also the primary sources were not sufficient so secondary sources had to be included in the research including previous re-search and several case studies. The larger part of the study used analysis of secondary data which allowed us to interpret results in a manner that it was a subject of previous primary research and sources of information. That makes the research more flexible and elaborative. The usefulness of the secondary data is based on the content of a lot of in-formation collected not only to answer our concrete question but also to provide/give additional details, facts and figures. Another benefit of the secondary data collection and its prevalence in the research makes the subjectivity of the research less dominant. Fi-nally the more various source used the higher the quality of the research is.
The Qualitative Method
The purpose of our thesis clearly sates, it will deal with CSR and cultural adaptation, two things that might be considered quite subjective. The research is even narrowed more specifically to the community involvement and the philanthropy of the companies analyzed. When deciding on the type of methodology which is going to be used in data analysis and result implementation this choice made qualitative the most suitable form of methodology used. As already decided and chosen as the most appropriate method it was crucial to understand what does one qualitative research truly represent. According to Golafshani (2003), qualitative research is a research which does not represent any kind of results derived by statistical methods or any kind of quantification. The research is based solely on analyses of information which does not contain quantification but ra-ther statements and results which are non-statistical. Evaluative reports, points of view, policies and strategies, critical evaluation, descriptive form actions makes the quantita-tive method completely unsuitable for this type of research.
Data Collection/Conducting the Study
Before the companies were analyzed it was crucial for this paper to work with the theo-ry that was used. By using various sources of secondary nature, mostly internet articles, online journals and books, sufficient number of theories were found and able to imple-ment in the research. The following step in conducting the research was to investigate and analyze the companies which the research is based on. For this purpose online resources were used such as online journals, articles and corporate websites. It was crucial for the research to understand the general policies of the companies in order to continue with the rest of the research.
The following step was to contact the companies themselves. Around 30 multinational companies were contacted regarding an offer to collaborate with us on this research. From all of the contacted companies only Nestle and the Husqvarna Group were the ones who replied with positive attitude and the willingness to help with the research. The answers which were received by the rest of the companies were either that they were too busy to participate in the research or we were referred to their official corpo-rate websites but such action would not be sufficient to support and contribute this re-search with the necessary amount of information. We contacted those two initially by email. When they expressed the will to help us with our research we contacted them by phone in different occasions throughout the research. The telephone conferences were of an unstructured interview nature. The purpose of that was to establish informal rela-tionship with the company representatives. That type of communication was used for the simplicity of the conversations and the ability to come up with new questions and topics to be raised so as for the companies to feel more free in answering and participat-ing in the discussion. The main point was to create a discussion with the contacts since Corporate Social Responsibility is something which companies are at the same time willing and reluctant to discuss especially large corporations which are often a subject of criticism. While contacting with the companies it was important to provide the re-search with another source of data. For that purpose the largest European CSR organiza-tion – CSR Europe was contacted. The organization provided us with general info on CSR and some more detailed information regarding our research. The data collection was led through email. The information gathered contributed the research in the empiri-cal data by allowing us to support some of the claims made especially regarding the global CSR strategies of the large MNC’s.
In the further stage of the work on the paper a direct communication with Nestle Bul-garia was established. The interviewee was the Director of Communication department in the country – Maria Hristova-Svec. After a detailed explanation of the researched topic and the areas of our interest Hristova-Svec has replied promptly to the interview questions. Those were aiming to examine to what extend the global social campaigns of the firm vary and localize in relation to Bulgarian culture. Concretely, the type of semi-structured qualitative interview which consists of open-ended questions was used. Hence, the interviewee can give more complex and complete answers in comparison to questionnaire, for instance. The questions largely concerned the localization and stand-ardization approach of the international campaigns applied in the regional market. The information gathered, was exchanged mainly through online communication. The inter-view was very well organized and hence we reached a personal opinion, direct contact with the firm and objective results concerning socially responsible actions in Bulgaria.
Discussing the corporate social responsibility is quite vague but also in some terms ab-stract. Defining what the companies do for their environment and the society is some-thing which cannot be described or pointed in definitive measures. The purpose of cor-porate social responsibility from the company’s perspective is definitely something which is worth researching on.
When describing a CSR strategy companies might overemphasize the purpose of their actions but also what the company is benefiting from that action. Another fact to be mentioned is the reluctance of the companies to discuss the criticism of their action. In many countries especially from the developing world the actions of the large companies are a subject of criticism but we did not raise this issues while conducting the research. What was the main subject of discussion were the positive actions of the companies and especially their society involvement. These activities are becoming more and more im-portant for the enterprises since the competition in the market is not only a competition of performance but is slowly becoming a competition of societal significance. Compa-nies are trying their best to become an important member of the society and the efforts toward that are increasingly important.
Research on CSR is generally quite extensive. In order to reach the purpose it was im-portant to invest a lot of resources. The time was a constraint and a luxury which was not present while this research was being conducted. That’s why we had to limit our-selves and shorten the research as much as possible.
This chapter presents the empirical material collected from the two research units; the Swedish Husqvarna Group and the Swiss based food and nutrition giant Nestlé S.A.. The two sections covering the corporations both begins with general principles of the companies and continues more in depth with primary data. Due to different levels of ac-cess, more material was collected from Nestlé and the structure is generally different between the two sections. The different quantities of findings, and hence depth, between the two firms does crease sort of an imbalance, as far as structure goes. However, con-sidering the lack of research in the field and sensitivity of the topic, all findings are deemed relevant and interesting to readers of this paper.
On its corporate website, the Husqvarna Group presents a well-developed and well-structured CSR policy, along with environmental, social and economic responsibilities and a code of conduct, which underscores the values of the company. It is stated that “The code applies to all employees irrespective of position or country” (Husqvarna Group, 2012, p.1). At the same time, in the company’s anti-discrimination section, it is stated that “In a global business such as Husqvarna’s it is also important to respect local cultures and the way of working in different countries, without compromising company rules” (Husqvarna Group, 2012, p.1). Principles of the company
Principles of the company
The Husqvarna Group’s CSR policies are mainly guided by the code of conduct, envi-ronmental policy and several additional internal policies (Husqvarna, 2011). In its code of conduct, the Husqvarna Group divides its principles into four basic sections; business principles, human rights and workplace practices, the environment and safety (Husqvar-na AB, 2009). A summary of the code of conduct is presented in the table below.
The company itself presents three aspects of corporate responsibility, economic, envi-ronmental and social. Economic responsibility is basically the pledge to stakeholders to create long-term value. The environmental policy is characterized by the life cycle thinking, which refers to a holistic view on the company’s environmental impact. The focus is extended beyond manufacturing sites to ensure a product’s entire life cycle is accounted for. Every phase of the life time of a product is to be taken into consideration. The cycle begins with product design and ends with recycling. The main feature of Husqvarna’s social responsibility is an initiative to make the firm more attractive to women. The company has a male dominated workforce. Hence, a diversity project was launched in Europe and the US in 2010 (Husqvarna Group, 2012; Husqvarna AB,2011). These areas are basically Husqvarna’s take on CSR. The responsibilities brought up are similar to the three first levels of CSR, according to Carroll’s pyramid. The first aspect, economic responsibilities is the same. Environmental responsibility corresponds to legal responsibility and social responsibility corresponds to ethics, in a way. What the Husqvarna group seem to miss is the fourth level or CSR, philanthropy.
The Head of Environmental Affairs, who is the contact initially referred to, states that there no direct initiatives for adapting CSR policies or practices, from the Husqvarna group. The company does take higher precautions and are more thorough in their selec-tion of suppliers and other business partners when it comes to China. The country is perceived as less corresponding to Husqvarna’s code of conduct and hence subjected to more scrutiny. In general the company applies a global approach to CSR, which is based on enforcing the code of conduct, to a large extent. The company could also clari-fy a section in the code of conduct, which appeared slightly ambiguous. Husqvarna will not hire anyone below the age of 15 no matter what local law says. Local law can only increaser the age requirement (J. Willaredt, personal communication, 2012-04-09).
Husqvarna’s corporate communications manager states that the company’s main con-cern regarding CSR on the global level is to first follow the local laws (K. Stjärnekull, personal communication, 2012-04-23).
Since corporate community involvement and philanthropy is the focus of this study and that part was missing in Husqvarna’s own declaration of CSR policy, that became the fundamental question of further investigation of the company.
An independent organization, CSR Europe, was consulted in order to obtain further in-formation about the topic. CSR Europe is the leading business network for issues con-cerning corporate responsibility in Europe (CSR Europe, 2012). A member of their ser-vice team stated that when it comes to CSR how it differs between countries and re-gions, there is one aspect which is especially prominent. Corporations have different approaches to philanthropy and community investments. One example of this is the fact that it is generally more accepted to donate large sums of money to charity in the US than in Western Europe (D. Karlsson, personal communication, 2012-04-19).
The Husqvarna Group confirms that their involvement in community investment is larger in the US, compared to Europe (K. Stjärnekull, personal communication, 2012-04-23). The claim can be backed by the fact that the company won a major award for their community service in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2011 (Swedish-American Chambers of Commerce, 2012). Information regarding the Husqvarna Group’s corpo-rate community involvement does not seem to be available on the company website or in any official documents referred by contacts.
Nestlé S. A.
Nestle S.A. is a Swiss nutrition, health and wellness company which is one of the larg-est in the industry. It was formed in 1905 by the merge of two companies. Since then the company is based in the Swiss town of Vevey, operates successfully in almost every country in the world and employs 328 000 people.
The company’s mission of « Good Food, Good Life » is to provide consumers with the best tasting, most nutritious choices in a wide range of food and beverage categories and eating occasions, from morning to night.”(Nestle, 2012). According to the company earning the trust of their stakeholders and shareholders is that it requires a long period of time by constantly fulfilling their promises. Furthermore they believe that creating a long-term sustainable relationship with the shareholders is achieved only if the compa-ny’s behavior, strategies and actions create value for the communities in which they are present. The company calls this “creating a shared value”.
Principles of the company
The company has designed the following code of conduct in order to “provide a frame of reference against which to measure any activities. Employees should seek guidance when they are in doubt about the proper course of action in a given situation, as it is the ultimate responsibility of each employee to “do the right thing”, a responsibility that cannot be delegated” (Nestle, 2008).
Table of Contents
1.2 Problem statement
2 Theoretical framework
2.1 GI-LR framework
2.2 Cultural analysis theories
3.1 Method selection
3.2 The Qualitative Method
3.3 Data Collection/Conducting the Study
4 Empirical findings
4.1 Husqvarna Group
4.2 Nestlé S. A
5.1 Husqvarna Group
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Corporate Social Responsibility and Culture A Study of European Multinational Corporations’ adaptation of Commu-nity Involvement Practices