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Small Business Champions for Corporate Social Responsibility

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  • Heledd Jenkins

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Abstract

While Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has traditionally been the domain of the corporate sector, recognition of the growing significance of the Small and Medium Sized Enterprise (SME) sector has led to an emphasis on their social and environmental impact, illustrated by an increasing number of initiatives aimed at engaging SMEs in the CSR agenda. CSR has been well researched in large companies, but SMEs have received less attention in this area. This paper presents the findings from a U.K. wide study of socially responsible SMEs. The 24 companies studied were chosen as “exemplarsâ€\x9D ofâ\x90£CSR in SMEs. The aim of this study therefore is to progress understanding of both the limitations on and opportunities for CSR in SMEs through the exploration of exemplary characteristics in the study companies. Key areas of investigation were CSR terminology, the influence of managerial values, the nature of SME CSR activities, motivation for and benefits from engaging in CSR, and the challenges faced. The results of this study demonstrate some of the exemplary goals and principles needed to achieve social responsibility in SMEs, and begin to provide knowledge that could be used to engender learning in other SMEs. In particular, there is evidence that stakeholder theory may provide a framework in which SMEs and CSR can be understood. SMEs prefer to learn through networking and from their peers, so this is a possible avenue for greater SME engagement in CSR. This would require strong leadership or “championingâ€\x9D from individuals such as highly motivated owner–managers and from exemplary companies as a whole. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Suggested Citation

  • Heledd Jenkins, 2006. "Small Business Champions for Corporate Social Responsibility," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 67(3), pages 241-256, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:67:y:2006:i:3:p:241-256
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-006-9182-6
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Graafland, J.J. & Ven van de, B. & Stoffele, N., 2003. "Strategies and instruments for organising CSR by small and large businesses in the Netherlands," MPRA Paper 20754, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Shirley Dex & Fiona Scheibl, 2001. "Flexible and Family-Friendly Working Arrangements in UK-Based SMEs: Business Cases," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 39(3), pages 411-431, September.
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