Corporate social responsibilty in private, public and third sector


The aim of the thesis was to find out

1) what corporate social responsibility (CSR) means to organizations in different sectors
2) which are the most active stakeholder groups to advance CSR
3) what is the role of employees in advancing CSR.

The research is especially interested in the environmental responsibilities of organizations. The research was conducted by interviewing nine CSR specialists in three sectors (public, private, and third sector). The data was analyzed using qualitative content analysis.

The results indicate that CSR means different things in different sectors. However, the views on current and potential challenges are similar in all sectors. The third sector presents itself as responsible, but not as performing CSR. The third sector sees CSR as connected to public and private sector organizations and its own responsibility to be value based regardless of whether the third sector organization does business or not. CSR is mostly performed and advanced by CSR specialists in all three sectors. Employees as a stakeholder group are neglected in organizations since their role in advancing CSR is minor. In addition, environmental management should be higher in organizational priorities if business is to be developed in a more sustainable direction.

The interviewees experience conflict between economic and sustainability-related values and measuring CSR outcomes is experienced as challenging. Perhaps organizations should place more intrinsic value on our natural environment to decrease the need for measuring. The thesis connects to CICAT2025 by outlining the basis for developing CSR and circular economy in different sectors. In addition, this research indicates the role of different agents and stakeholder groups in advancing CSR.

Author: Larissa Niemi, University of Turku