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The Swedish financial services sector’s response to CSR
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Centres, Centre for Banking and Finance, Cefin.
(English)Article in journal (Other academic) Submitted
Abstract [en]

This paper aims to explore if and how the financial services sector in Sweden translates the idea of CSR into organizational practice. In a total study of the financial corporation´s websites in Sweden, the paper reveals that 25% of them had adopted CSR. CSR is therefore not widely spread within the industry. Secondly, the paper discloses that translating CSR into practice within eight selected financial corporation’s was a matter of incorporating already legitimate CSR elements into the internal structures, blending CSR with existing culture, products and services and by endowing the idea of CSR an internal history of a longstanding tradition of responsibility. The outcome of the translation processes was that both similar and distinct practices proliferated themselves.

Keyword [en]
CSR, financial services sector, Sweden, translation
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-34113OAI: diva2:419105
QS 2011 QS 20120326Available from: 2011-05-25 Created: 2011-05-25 Last updated: 2012-03-26Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Corporate Social Responsibility in the Swedish Financial Services Sector: Translating an Idea into Practice
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Corporate Social Responsibility in the Swedish Financial Services Sector: Translating an Idea into Practice
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis focuses on how popular ideas in society influence corporate behavior, as corporations adapt to normative ideas in society in order to achieve legitimacy. However, we need more knowledge about how ideas influence organizations and what happens when ideas enter in an organizational context. Hence, this thesis deals with the following research question: ‘How do actors transform ideas on being socially and environmentally responsible into practice?’ This question is studied empirically within corporations in the Swedish financial services sector. The thesis contributes to organizational institutional theory and to knowledge on the translation of ideas in organizational contexts.

Based on analyses of the empirical observations six translation processes are identified. Incorporation is used to incorporate already legitimate external CSR elements into the organization. Localizing is used to give an idea local character by inscribing the idea into the history of the organization. De-coupling is used to translate ideas simultaneously and over time by adjusting the presentation of the organization’s business according to the relevant audience. Co-optation is used to incorporate external actors with know-how and legitimacy into internal processes. Organizing is used to gain internal acceptance for the idea. Blending is used to translate the idea into a modest adaptation to make it fit existing practice in the firm’s core business.

Several of these translation processes are at work at the same time. As demonstrated in the study, new ways of presenting the organization as well as new activities appear as outcomes of translation. Translation processes that both influence presentation and practice are necessary for gaining legitimacy for the idea.

The adoption of CSR in the studied financial services corporations could only partly be strategically planned. Results from the study also point to unintended and unexpected consequences of integrating social and environmental responsibility. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2011. 55 p.
TRITA/KTH/CEFIN-DT, ISSN 1654-9376 ; 2011:04
Organizational institutionalism, translation, CSR, financial services sector, Sweden
National Category
Business Administration
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-33756 (URN)978-91-978518-2-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-06-10, E1, Lindstedsvägen 3, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)

QC 20110526

Available from: 2011-05-26 Created: 2011-05-16 Last updated: 2013-11-11Bibliographically approved

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Göthberg, Pauline
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