Publication Details

Fernando, M. & Almeida, S. (2012). The organizational virtuousness of strategic corporate social responsibility: a case study of the Sri Lankan family-owned enterprise MAS Holdings. European Management Journal, 30 (6), 564-576.


Relatively little is known about strategic corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Asian companies. In the post-tsunami period, the authors interviewed 23 senior executives at ten prominent companies in Sri Lanka. Nine of the companies responded to the tsunami with philanthropy based CSR initiatives. Interviews with three senior executives at the family-owned enterprise MAS Holdings revealed an explicitly strategic CSR approach. MAS Holdings, an apparel manufacturer owned by three brothers, is Victoria Secret's lead strategic partner and an ethical buying source for other well-known apparel retailers. This paper examines the organizational virtuousness of MAS Holdings' strategic CSR initiatives. The analysis uses Bright et al.'s (2006) conceptualization of organizational virtuousness in terms of the three dimensions of human impact, moral goodness and unconditional societal betterment. The case study findings for MAS Holdings illustrate how strategic CSR initiatives could be virtuous due to positive contributions to the community in those dimensions despite generating profits, publicity and reputation advantageous to the firm. While the empirical findings are limited to one company in Sri Lanka in the post-tsunami period, the paper discusses the broader implications of and directions for future research into the organizational virtuousness of strategic CSR.

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