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Corporate Social Responsibility — a fancy term with a lot of meaning


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a fancy word these days, often demonstrated by big companies through a dashboard with numbers of charity donations. The problem is that beneficent donations do not replace the lack of social responsibility at the core of the firms’ strategy.

Why can’t we look at CSR’s concept through a vision based on a company’s internal resources?

For that matter, we can start by introducing the resource-based view model.

CSR vs Resource-Based View

RBV (Resource-Based View) is an approach that emerged in the 80s/90s, where is shown a model that sees resources as key to superior organizational performance. The supporters of this view argue that organizations should look inside the company to find competitive advantages instead of looking at the competitive environment.

VRIO framework (an acronym for value, rarity, imitability, and organization) is the tool used to analyze a firm’s internal resources and capabilities to determine if they can be a source of sustained competitive advantage.

VRIO analysis stands for four questions that ask if a resource is:

  • Valuable?
  • Rare?
  • Costly to imitate?
  • Is an organization able to capture the value of the resources?

A resource or capability that meets all four requirements can bring sustained competitive advantage for the company:

  1. Question of Value: resources are valuable if they help organizations increase the customers’ value. The resources that cannot meet this condition lead to a competitive disadvantage.
  2. Question of Rarity: resources that can only be acquired by one or a few companies are considered rare. When more than a few companies have the same resource or capability, it results in competitive parity.
  3. Question of Imitability: a business with valuable and rare resources can achieve at least a temporary competitive advantage. However, the help must also be costly to imitate or substitute for a rival if a company wants to gain sustained competitive advantage.
  4. Question of Organization: the resources themselves do not confer any advantage for a company if it’s not organized to capture the value from them. Only the organization capable of exploiting the valuable, rare, and imitable resources can achieve sustained competitive advantage.

But the topic of this blogpost is CSR, so we are missing the word “social.” Let’s do an upgrade do RBV and add it an “S” — Social Resource-Based View.

Social Resource-Based View

For an SRBV vision, a social capacity can leverage external and internal relations within the reciprocal exchange. The exchange may concern information, products, labor force, financial means, and also intangible elements such as compassion, education, and care.

Examples of capacities or resources in an SRBV are: to know, understand, and mobilize internal processes to promote attitudes according to the model or develop a social strategy capable of sustaining it.

Thus, large organizations with “social entrepreneurship projects” should be able to cover the limits of the private, public and non-profit sectors and to reconcile conflicts of purely economic or profitable motivation, ensuring the practice of environmental sustainability social benefits. For example, this can be done by defining a clear vision of the organization and internal procedures and processes, which act as a constant compass in its decision-making.

For you to have a vision worthy of playing in the “Social Impact game,” it must be:

Resilient means that your vision can withstand cultural, political, or technological change; inclusive denotes anybody can feel that he or she can contribute directly to that vision; and finally, service-oriented suggests the primary benefit goes to those others than the contributor;

The future of Corporate Social Responsibility

This framework implies that to foster value creation, strategic reorientation may be necessary, making this a continuous process.

Trocando por miúdos, which means “to put it simply,” these actions makes the local community better than it was before the project started.

But SRBV is only a previous elaboration of RBV, so the first can also be a prior elaboration of a future vision. Besides, I would say that a future project vision would be guided by the three pillars of the business ecosystem of the following years: people, problems, and technology.

Originally published at on January 7, 2021.



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