Journal of Business Ethics 127 (1):17-31 (2015)

The aim of this article is to explain the transition from implicit CSR to explicit CSR that has taken place in Scandinavia over the last two decades. Matten and Moon’s distinction between implicit and explicit CSR is the point of departure for the analysis, which is based on case studies of two Norwegian companies: HÅG and Hydro. On the basis of these case studies, we identify two forces that are pushing the transition from implicit to explicit CSR in Scandinavia: Organizational expressiveness and Re-legitimizing. Both of these measures are adjustments to the globalization of the economy, altering the competitive situation even in highly institutionalized, Scandinavian economies. HÅG, a midsized Norwegian manufacturer of office chairs, made CSR and environmental values an integral part of their expressive strategy in the early 1990s. Hydro, a big Norwegian aluminium producer, made CSR an explicit issue around the turn of the millennium, in an attempt to re-legitimize their business operations in a new market situation where plants in local communities in Norway were shut down and relocated to less regulated regimes in low-cost regions abroad
Keywords Implicit CSR  Explicit CSR  Organizational expressiveness  Legitimacy  Re-legitimizing  Globalization  Scandinavia  Hydro  HÅG
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-013-1791-2
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