The article “Competing Responsibility” by Bert van de Ven and Ronald Jeurissen sheds light on the specificity of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) paying more attention to the fact of moral legitimacy. In this vein, the authors urge to maintain the golden mean in what makes a firm stronger in terms of CSR. The main thesis of the article is that “differential strength of competition produces differential moral legitimacy of firm behavior” (Ven & Jeurissen, 2005, p. 525). The article is split into 5 main parts comprising the core information on the overall research.
First of all, it touches upon intensity of competition and CSR strategies (Ven & Jeurissen, 2005). In this paragraph the authors explain that perfect competition is not in making profits, but in particular rewards for all stakeholders. In this respect CSR is a tool to take care of the environment in which employees and management staff work. Moreover, ideals of team building and overall morality jointly serve this purpose: “Firms always have a moral responsibility to help counteracting the market situation where immorality leads to a competitive advantage by seeking a solution on a higher institutional level” (Ven & Jeurissen, 2005, p. 526).
Secondly, the article highlights the issue of competitive forces and competitive strategies (Ven & Jeurissen, 2005). It means that the firm is usually evaluated in terms of the current level of competitiveness within an industry and how it strives to augment its presence among rivals (Ven & Jeurissen, 2005). It is an important strategic push for a successful firm seeking prosperity and respect within an industry.
Thirdly, under conditions of fierce competition, CSR strategies take second billing, so to speak (Ven & Jeurissen, 2005). It is because lower costs will be the drive for a buyer to find out a cheaper competitor. The rational decision to fight fierce competition suggested in the article is simply divided into three strategies, namely: “ethical displacement, legal compliance, and reputation protection” (Ven & Jeurissen, 2005, p. 530). These are the hallmarks to ensure application of weighed tactics while competing with the closest rivals.
Fourthly, under conditions of strong competition, CSR strategies go hand in hand with the idea that “strongly competitive markets will be less restrictive” (Ven & Jeurissen, 2005, p. 533). In this case strategies should be dealt in terms of a close attention to the mechanisms driving the market to a particular phase. Stakeholders make CSR grow in its value. On the flip side, it makes the rivals get angry due to the fact that the firm’s reputation is still stable in growth. Nevertheless, there are four strategies to be taken into account under conditions of strong competition, namely: “compliance with the spirit of the law, stakeholder management, brand reputation management and ethical reporting, and ethical product differentiation” (Ven & Jeurissen, 2005, p. 533).
Fifthly and finally, the article finds out CSR strategies in the context of weak competition (Ven & Jeurissen, 2005). In this situation, a firm is enabled to invest more into CSR strategies. Moreover, it is a chance for each firm to choose which tools will serve the purpose of strategic management better. In this respect the authors tend to admit the following idea: “A firm in a weakly competitive market has the financial and managerial room to choose any of the CSR strategies” (Ven & Jeurissen, 2005, p. 536).
Given that, the article is a detailed guide toward better understanding of how to implement CSR strategies under different circumstances and conditions. Ven and Jeurissen managed to make this article both concise and detailed so that to make it clear for a wide audience of readers.
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