Date on Senior Honors Thesis


Document Type

Senior Honors Thesis

Degree Name



Political Science

Degree Program

College of Arts and Sciences

Author's Keywords

CSR; corporate social responsibility; ESG; business strategy; business ethics; organizational values; qualitative research


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a form of private self-regulation conducted by businesses; CSR aims to contribute to societal goals of philanthropy, activism, and ethics by improving society, policy, and or the environment. Corporate social responsibility is becoming a greater aspect of modern business, but as it becomes part of the modern discourse, it is right to question whether its efforts are authentic to those driving these initiatives? This case study seeks to understand how the leadership within the parent company of a global foods brand depicts authenticity and communicates its social and environmental efforts to stakeholders. Building on existing literature, the study uses qualitative interviews to determine whether the measures portrayed in externally facing reports and the emerging themes were consistent and internalized by the leadership. This study finds that the values espoused in the corporate reports are authentic to leaders creating CSR policies, and that communication across stakeholders and within diverse markets reinforces the authenticity of these efforts.

Lay Summary

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a business strategy in which organizations consider the triple bottom line of economic, social, and environmental good for all stakeholders. Stakeholders include both investors, consumers, and all members of the supply chain involved in producing and sharing the product. CSR is now commonly reported to external stakeholders, but questions of its legitimacy and value arise. Is CSR a means of risk mitigation? Is it only to attract consumers and investors? Does the company really believe in these values? This case study builds on prior literature and investigates the authenticity of commitment to CSR principles at the parent company of global restaurant brands. Through in depth interviews, this research reveals that the values are espoused by the organization and that it is integral to the parent company's strategy with brands, global location, and franchise relationships.