Examining the perceived meanings, motivations, benefits and mechanisms for Creating Shared Value (CSV) by Asian firms

  • Hamid KHURSHID

Student thesis: PhD Thesis (Lingnan)


Creating Shared Value (CSV) is a fairly new concept that emerged in the last decade. CSV was originally conceptualized by Porter & Kramer (2011) as a “hybrid” business model that seeks to create economic value in tandem with social value creation and environmental sustainability. The notion of CSV gained traction with business practitioners worldwide and many Western/US companies now claim to have incorporated CSV within their business models. Notwithstanding the popularity of CSV among business practitioners around the world, CSV has been heavily criticized by some management and business scholars, who have expressed concerns about its novelty, theorization and lack of implementation and assessment guidelines. Therefore, this empirical study addresses the critical concerns of CSV commentators, and it extends the knowledge field of CSV by examining the following topics in the context of Asia based CSV-espousing multinational corporations (MNCs) and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). These are: CSV definitions and understandings; motivations for CSV adoption; processes of CSV implementation and value creation; associated CSV assessment mechanisms; and benefits of CSV.

A qualitative research approach has been adopted to accomplish the research objectives, and accordingly an interpretative approach has been embraced, which seeks to understand the CSV phenomenon from the perspective of the participants. Data for the current study were mainly collected by means of one-to-one semi-structured interviews, which were undertaken with 42 informants from eight firms, comprising five MNCs and three SMEs. These firms were headquartered either in Hong Kong, Pakistan, or Sri Lanka. In order to analyze the data, thematic analysis was carried out to identify patterns of meaning and to provide answers to the research questions.

The findings reveal that informants from the eight focal firms espouse clear distinctions between CSV and CSR, and characterize CSV as a more sustainable strategy than CSR. The interviewees’ accounts indicate that four firms (three SMEs and one MNC) are mainly driven by moral principles to undertake shared value initiatives, and four MNCs are primarily driven by the pressure of the government and benchmarking with other firms to engage in CSV activities. To implement and derive shared value, the five MNCs had repurposed internal resource slack, embraced a resource-abundant model of bricolage, and engaged in internal bricolage. By contrast, the three SMEs had embraced a resource-constrained model of bricolage, under which they had relied upon collective bricolage. Within all focal firms, there was strong evidence of a dynamic and mutually sustaining relationship between their organizational learning processes and CSV. To assess the benefits of their CSV activities, all the eight focal firms separately calculate the economic, social and environmental impact of their CSV, which is consistent with the adoption of a triple bottom line framework. Interviewee’s accounts indicated that the CSV projects of seven focal firms were generated economic value, social/environmental value and firm value. One SME was struggling to make a profit from its CSV project, nonetheless they have created social and economic value for stakeholders.
Date of Award14 Jul 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Lingnan University
SupervisorRobin Stanley SNELL (Supervisor) & Yifeng Nancy CHEN (Co-supervisor)


  • Creating Shared Value
  • bricolage
  • resource slack
  • organizational learning
  • moral foundations

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