The Influence of CSR on B2B Relationships: Leveraging Ethical Behaviors to Create Value

The Influence of CSR on B2B Relationships: Leveraging Ethical Behaviors to Create Value

Susan Saurage-Altenloh (Saurage Research Inc., USA) and Phillip M. Randall (Capella University, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2650-6.ch001
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The chapter addresses how ethical actions deliver value through sustainable competitive advantage. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has a proven role in developing audience trust that increases brand equity among target audiences and stakeholders, thus ensuring that the brand sustains its competitive advantage through improved profitability and reputation in the market. Not only do businesses have a social responsibility to the markets from which they earn revenues, but buyers expect ethical businesses to have an established CSR program in place. Businesses that engage in CSR activities within the process of corporate brand management experience stronger reputation that drives loyalty and sales, resulting in a competitive, sustainable market advantage.
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Corporate Ethical Behavior

Ethical behavior as an organizational endeavor may be defined and exacted in multiple ways. In their exploration of ethics in international business situations, Amine, Chakor, and Alaoui (2012) indicated that integrating ethical dimensions into overall organizational values represented a company’s commitment to an ethical approach. At the same time, Amine et al. determined that a firm’s leadership established the relevant ethical values that ultimately were institutionalized by way of incorporation into the decision structure. Jose and Thibodeaux (1999) declared that the formal, explicit incorporation of ethics into organizational culture, leadership, and communication revealed a deep commitment to ethical behavior. Peloza and Shang (2011) recognized ethical behavior as taking the form of socially responsible business practices, philanthropy, and product-related aspects such as biodegradability or quality. Many cohorts within an organization can exhibit, benefit from, or influence ethical behavior, including company leadership (Ponnu & Tennakoon, 2009; Pučėtaitė & Lämsä, 2008), employees (Valentine & Barnett, 2003), corporate marketers (Murphy, Laczniak, & Wood, 2007), and even corporate reputational character (Valenzuela, Mulki, & Jaramillo, 2010).

Ethical behavior is an expectation by key stakeholders, which may include company shareholders, internal workforce, current and potential customers, suppliers and partners, regulatory agencies, and financial markets. Failure to meet these expectations of ethical behavior can harm the firm’s reputation with catastrophic results to shareholder value.

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