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Strategic CSR: a panacea for profit and altruism? An empirical study among executives in the Bangladeshi RMG supply chain

Enrico Fontana (Department of Marketing and Strategy, The Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm, Sweden)

European Business Review

ISSN: 0955-534X

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




This e-book sheds light on the concept of strategic corporate social responsibility (CSR) in supply chains within a developing country context. This paper aims to investigate cognitive antecedents as well as behavioral consequences of corporate executives toward investing in strategic CSR. Moreover, it displays if and how strategic CSR contributes to creating performance benefits for the supplier.


This study is qualitative and exploratory in its nature. After drafting a five-dimensional framework from extant literature, it empirically elaborates on a case-study analysis based on primary data gathered through semi-structured interviews on ten executives (i.e. top executives, directors, owners) in large-size supplier companies within the Bangladeshi ready-made garment (RMG) supply chain.


First, it highlights altruism and performance as being cognitively and theoretically espoused in strategic CSR; yet, one appears to oust the other. Second, it demonstrates that if CSR-driven investments allow for a competitive positional betterment, as for suppliers in the Bangladeshi RMG industry, profit-driven CSR diffuses at the expense of altruism. Third, it confirms CSR’s strategic role as necessary but not sufficient for competitive advantage, delivering insights on suppliers’ future posture vis-à-vis CSR in the Bangladeshi RMG supply chains.

Research limitations/implications

The e-book investigates strategic CSR’s struggle to maintain a balance between moral and profit-maximization motives at the cognitive level but being paradoxically required in supply chains. A limitation, inter alia, entails the focus on the horizontal perspective of the sample and the RMG supply chain.


The e-book provides valuable theoretical and practical insights by capitalizing on unique data retrieved from the Bangladeshi supply chain.



Fontana, E. (2017), "Strategic CSR: a panacea for profit and altruism? An empirical study among executives in the Bangladeshi RMG supply chain", European Business Review, Vol. 29 No. 3, pp. 304-319.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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