Redefining the Value Chain to Achieve Social and Business Progress A Case Study of Sri Lankan Export Oriented Out Grower Programme

B. A. N. Eranda


External pressure led businesses to adopt corporate social responsibility (CSR)practices. However, the common objective of CSR practices of many companies is toenhance the corporate reputation by offering something back to society. However, thecurrent argument is different i.e. if the businesses create value for the society from theiroperations, they do not need to give back to society. Therefore, businesses can createvalue for the society while they are achieving business progress. Hence, the objective ofthis paper is to find out how to achieve social and business progress at the same time. Inachieving this objective the researcher used the redefinition of value chain activitiessuggested by Porter and Kramer (2011) which looked at CSR from a strategicmanagement perspective.

A qualitative embedded single-case design was adopted for the study. The casestudy is referring to an “Out Grower” programme in one of the leading Sri Lankanexport oriented condiments manufacturers. Several units of analysis were usedincluding the top management involved in value chain operations, extension officersand the farmers. Secondary data was gathered from company documentary evidence andprimary data was collected by using semi-structured interviews. Judgmental samplingwas used in selecting the respondents for the study. Data analysis includes documentaryanalysis and synthesizes the findings in a cross-respondent synthesis.

The findings reveal that the company can use its value chain activities in order toachieve both social and business progress simultaneously. Particularly, the company cancreate value for the society while they are undertaking the business operations. Furtherthis way of social contribution tends to be much more appealing and beneficial for thestakeholders compared to short term CSR initiatives. Moreover, this strategy drivenCSR practices enable to provide a solution for some of the burning issues faced byfarmers and also uplift their standard of living.

Key words: Strategy-driven corporate social responsibility, Value chain, Socialprogress

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