Based on a study carried out in 2004‐2005 in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre, this paper explores the theme of CSR strategy formation, investigating how three companies from different industry sectors ‐ a chemical products manufacturer, a diesel engine technology development company and a large multi‐media enterprise ‐ have shaped and institutionalised CSR strategies. The data revealed three major categories of interrelated factors that lead to CSR strategy formation, namely, delineating events; stakeholder influence, and drivers for CSR strategies. Delineating events are chronologically ordered events that trigger a process of reflection on CSR issues. Stakeholders such as the company’s president, stockholders, employees, community, customers, and competitors exert considerable influence in the formation of CSR strategies. Drivers are events and processes emerging from the company’s environment, which create the conditions to shape CSR strategies. The first part paper provides a brief discussion of the notion of CSR and examines a selection of management theoretical models that provide essential insights to understand CSR as strategy; the second part focuses on the findings of the exploratory study which provides the basis for this paper.
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