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Investigating the Impact of Firm Size on Small Business Social Responsibility: a Critical Review

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  • J. LEPOUTRE

    ()

  • A. HEENE

    ()

Abstract

The impact of smaller firm size on corporate social responsibility is ambiguous. Some contend that small businesses are socially responsible by nature, while others argue that a smaller firm size imposes barriers on small firms that constrain their ability to take responsible action. This paper critically analyses recent theoretical and empirical contributions on the size – social responsibility relationship among small businesses. More specifically, it reviews the impact of firm size on four antecedents of business behaviour: issue characteristics, personal characteristics, organizational characteristics and context characteristics. It concludes that the small business context does impose barriers on social responsibility taking, but that the impact of the smaller firm size on social responsibility should be nuanced depending on a number of conditions. From a critical analysis of these conditions, opportunities for small businesses and their constituents to overcome the constraining barriers are suggested.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration in its series Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium with number 06/396.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:06/396

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Cited by:
  1. Nina Evans & Janet Sawyer, 2010. "CSR and stakeholders of small businesses in regional South Australia," Social Responsibility Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 6(3), pages 433-451, October.
  2. Gerrit de Wit & Lorraine Uhlaner & Marta Berent-Braun & Ronald Jeurissen, 2011. "Beyond Size: Predicting engagement in environmental management practices of Dutch SMEs," Scales Research Reports H201118, EIM Business and Policy Research.
  3. Sarit Nisim & Orly Benjamin, 2008. "Power and Size of Firms as Reflected in Cleaning Subcontractors’ Practices of Social Responsibility," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 83(4), pages 673-683, December.
  4. Geoff Moore & Richard Slack & Jane Gibbon, 2009. "Criteria for Responsible Business Practice in SMEs: An Exploratory Case of U.K. Fair Trade Organisations," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 89(2), pages 173-188, October.
  5. Cody Jones, 2013. "Moving Beyond Profit: Expanding Research to Better Understand Business Environmental Management," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(6), pages 2693-2721, June.
  6. Chris Groves & Lori Frater & Robert Lee & Elen Stokes, 2011. "Is There Room at the Bottom for CSR? Corporate Social Responsibility and Nanotechnology in the UK," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 101(4), pages 525-552, July.
  7. Maria Jesus Munoz-Torres & Maria Angeles Fernandez-Izquierdo & Luisa Nieto-Soria & Juana Maria Rivera-Lirio & Elena Escrig-Olmedo & Raul Leon-Soriano, 2009. "SMEs and corporate social responsibility. The perspective from Spanish companies," International Journal of Sustainable Economy, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 1(3), pages 270-288.
  8. Véronique Bon & Alain Lacroux & Pierre Teller & Corinne Van Der Yeught, 2012. "Les pratiques de développement durable et de RSE en région PACA : la spécificité des petites entreprises en question," Post-Print hal-00689826, HAL.
  9. Pepe, Cosetta & Musso, Fabio & Risso, Mario, 2009. "Retailers and SME suppliers social responsibility in international supply chains," MPRA Paper 31112, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. David Gadenne & Jessica Kennedy & Catherine McKeiver, 2009. "An Empirical Study of Environmental Awareness and Practices in SMEs," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 84(1), pages 45-63, January.
  11. Groening, Christopher & Kanuri, Vamsi Krishna, 2013. "Investor reaction to positive and negative corporate social events," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(10), pages 1852-1860.
  12. Johan Graafland & Corrie Mazereeuw-Van der Duijn Schouten, 2012. "Motives for Corporate Social Responsibility," De Economist, Springer, vol. 160(4), pages 377-396, December.
  13. Massimo Battaglia & Francesco Testa & Lara Bianchi & Fabio Iraldo & Marco Frey, 2014. "Corporate Social Responsibility and Competitiveness within SMEs of the Fashion Industry: Evidence from Italy and France," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(2), pages 872-893, February.
  14. Patricia Crifo & Vanina Forget & Sabrina Teyssier, 2012. "The price of unsustainability: An experiment with professional private equity investors," Working Papers hal-00757203, HAL.
  15. Iain Clacher & Jens Hagendorff, 2012. "Do Announcements About Corporate Social Responsibility Create or Destroy Shareholder Wealth? Evidence from the UK," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 106(3), pages 253-266, March.
  16. Lowdermilk, Jamey M. & Templeton, Scott R. & Privette, Charles V., III & Hayes, John C., 2011. "An Economic Analysis Of Sediment Control At Construction Sites: The Case Of Greenville County, South Carolina," 2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 103976, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  17. Jean Clarke & Robin Holt, 2010. "Reflective Judgement: Understanding Entrepreneurship as Ethical Practice," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 94(3), pages 317-331, July.
  18. Philip H. Howard & Daniel Jaffee, 2013. "Tensions Between Firm Size and Sustainability Goals: Fair Trade Coffee in the United States," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(1), pages 72-89, January.
  19. Stephen Chen & Petra Bouvain, 2009. "Is Corporate Responsibility Converging? A Comparison of Corporate Responsibility Reporting in the USA, UK, Australia, and Germany," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 87(1), pages 299-317, April.
  20. Thomas Laudal, 2011. "Drivers and barriers of CSR and the size and internationalization of firms," Social Responsibility Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 7(2), pages 234-256, July.
  21. Cene Bavec, 2012. "Social Responsibility and Professional Ethics in Management: Some Empirical Evidences at Country Levels," Managing Global Transitions, University of Primorska, Faculty of Management Koper, vol. 10(4 (Winter), pages 361-377.
  22. Angeloantonio Russo & Francesco Perrini, 2010. "Investigating Stakeholder Theory and Social Capital: CSR in Large Firms and SMEs," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 91(2), pages 207-221, January.

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