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Dr Helena Barnard will give a presentation during the International Business and Strategy research seminar series on 21st November

International business conference 2015 98 3 hbs New Henley Business School WK web mtime20170410170038
Event information
Date 21 November 2018
Time 13:00-14:30 (Timezone: Europe/London)

Dr Helena Barnard of of the University of Pretoria in South Africa is giving a seminar presentation during the International Business and Strategy lunchtime seminar series on 21st November, at 13.00-14.30 in room 108, Henley Business School.

Presentation title:

CSR as a mechanism for market innovation in developing countries: Shared benefits or hidden costs?


Identifying new market segments and how to profitably serve them is an important part of innovation in developing countries. Like technological innovation, market innovation involves experimentation and uncertain and often only long-term returns. Lacking supportive organisational mechanism like R&D laboratories, some multinational corporations (MNCs) use corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects as "living laboratories". Thus MNCs invest in CSR projects with the aim of eventually profiting from the targeted beneficiaries and other similar users. Executives claim that their profit orientation transforms the relationship with beneficiaries from one of charitable giving to a more sustainable sharing of benefits. However, appropriating CSR for experimentation purposes carries risks for not only the firm but also users. Analysing four cases from Southern Africa, we find that the more firm-specific the offering, and the more active the involvement of users in the value chain, the greater those risks for users. This research has implication for both innovation and CSR investments in developing countries.