Navigating the Storm: Exploring the Adaptation of CSR Strategies in Multinational Corporations during an crisis

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This study investigates the impact of COVID-19 on the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies of multinational corporations (MNCs) in the automotive and food industry in Europe. The research aims to understand the challenges faced by MNCs during COVID-19 and the subsequent changes in their CSR approaches. A qualitative research design was employed, utilizing interviews and annual reports from 9 MNCs. The findings reveal significant disruptions in both industries, including supply chain disruptions, reduced market demand, and shifts in sales channels. While some CSR initiatives were temporarily stalled due to COVID-19 measures and supply chain disruptions resulting from COVID-19, the majority of projects were sustained, and certain initiatives were even accelerated. Notably, some MNCs showcased resilience and innovation by diversifying their strategies, creatively utilizing their resources to make substantial contributions to combatting COVID-19. This study extends Oliver's (1991) organizational framework by introducing new response patterns, including: stalling, accelerating, sustaining, and diversifying, which shed light on the complex dynamics of CSR strategies during crises. The research contributes to the understanding of CSR responses in external crisis situations and provides implications for MNCs in navigating CSR activities during challenging times. Further research is needed to generalize the findings across different industries and crises.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen