How a MNC’s CSR-strategy is affected by CSiR A case-study into the CSR-strategy of Volkswagen AG after its involvement in the diesel emissions scandal

No Thumbnail Available
Issue Date
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
To generate more knowledge on how CSR strategies are shaped after legitimacy loss, this study investigated how and why a CSR strategy of a MNC is affected by legitimacy loss due to CSiR. This research was a single case study with an abductive qualitative approach, about Volkswagen AG that lost legitimacy due to the diesel emissions scandal. The data collection included a document analysis and two semi-structured interviews. To analyse the data, a template analysis was used. The results show that this MNC made several changes in its CSR strategy in reaction to this legitimacy loss. First of all, the loss in public trust in combination with external (stakeholder) pressure created an accelerated transformation within the MNC corporate strategy. In this transformation, the MNC incorporated social and environmental responsibility in the core strategy to fulfil stakeholders’ external pressure. Secondly, the external control (appointed after the CSiR) forced the MNC to broaden its CSR perspective from only ‘doing good’ to also preventing ‘the bad’ from happening. Thirdly, the MNC changed its legitimacy strategies in the field of social and environmental responsibility. The legitimacy strategy of moral reasoning was intensified after the loss of legitimacy, due to the establishment of an advisory council of nine independent experts, who stimulated the dialogue with stakeholders. The MNC also shifted its decoupling approach to the substantial influence approach. This decoupling approach had led to a loss of legitimacy as it was morally rejected by stakeholders in modern society. The findings of this study contribute to the literature on the relationship between CSiR and CSR. In addition, this study shows how important it is for an MNC to include measures in its CSR strategy to prevent CSiR.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen