The Role of CSR in Sustainable Swedish Startups - Beyond Sustainability as an Exclusive Selling Poin
Sammanfattning: Research Problem: Existent literature has predominantly focused on applying the concept of CSR on large corporations, disregarding the role of CSR in startups despite the fact that CSR related aspects especially in relation to sustainability provide a fruitful avenue for new ventures to base their competitive advantage on. Investigation of the link between CSR and startups is needed since emerging firms face different challenges in regard to CSR than established companies, mostly related to their constrained resources. Research Aims: This research aims to shed light on the role of CSR for sustainable Swedish startups. In particular, we aim to provide a deeper understanding of possible communication, market and stakeholder management strategies these companies make use of. Method: We deploy a qualitative case study approach, comparing the strategies deployed by four Swedish startups who derive the competitive advantage from offering innovative and environmentally-friendly product solutions. ResultsBased on our analysis of the case studies, we arrive at four conclusions related to the non-exclusivity of sustainability as the exclusive selling point, the consequent association of the sustainability argument with accompanying selling points, the use of third-party endorsement as a source of legitimacy as well as the trade-off between sustainability and profitability. Implications: Our results provide theoretical contributions regarding the role of CSR in sustainable startups which fundamentally differs from the way it is being implemented in established corporations. Practical implications include insights into how managers of sustainable startups can strategically implement sustainability as a selling point by integrating it with related selling points.
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