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Drivers of Environmental Behaviour in Manufacturing SMEs and the Implications for CSR

  • David Williamson


  • Gary Lynch-Wood
  • John Ramsay
Registered author(s):

    The authors use empirical research into the environmental practices of 31 manufacturing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to show that ‚business performance’ and ‚regulation’ considerations drive behaviour. They suggest that this is inevitable, given the market-based decision-making frames that permeate and dominate the industry in which manufacturing SMEs operate. Since the environment is a pillar of corporate social responsibility (CSR), the findings have important implications for CSR policy, which promotes voluntary actions predicated on a business case. It is argued that this approach will not alter the behaviour of manufacturing SMEs significantly because CSR practice will be regarded as an optional and costly ‚extra’ affecting core business activity. Consequently, the use and development of existing regulatory structures, providing minimum standards for many activities covered by CSR, remains the most effective means through which the behaviour of manufacturing SMEs will be changed in the short to medium-term. Another feature of the paper is the distinction made between ‚business performance’ and the ‚business case’ argument. Business performance emphasises cost reductions and efficiency whereas the business case accentuates the benefits to shareholders of good practices as their firms become more attractive to stakeholders and society. Manufacturing SMEsâ\x90£try to improve business performance because of the pressures placed on them by market-dominated decision-making frames. These frames do not encourage manufacturing SMEs to undertake voluntary actions for the benefit of wider stakeholders and society. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Business Ethics.

    Volume (Year): 67 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 3 (September)
    Pages: 317-330

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:67:y:2006:i:3:p:317-330
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    1. Williamson, John, 2000. "What Should the World Bank Think about the Washington Consensus?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 15(2), pages 251-64, August.
    2. Dean, Thomas J. & Brown, Robert L. & Stango, Victor, 2000. "Environmental Regulation as a Barrier to the Formation of Small Manufacturing Establishments: A Longitudinal Examination," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 56-75, July.
    3. Graafland, J.J. & Smid, H., 2004. "Reputation, corporate social responsibility and market regulation," MPRA Paper 20772, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. James Arrowsmith & Mark W. Gilman & Paul Edwards & Monder Ram, 2003. "The Impact of the National Minimum Wage in Small Firms," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 41(3), pages 435-456, 09.
    5. Buston, 1997. "NUD*IST in Action: Its Use and Its Usefulness in a Study of Chronic Illness in Young People," Sociological Research Online, Sociological Research Online, vol. 2(3), pages 6.
    6. Dean Patton & Ian Worthington, 2003. "SMEs and environmental regulations: a study of the UK screen-printing sector," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 21(4), pages 549-566, August.
    7. Fisher, Robert J, 1993. " Social Desirability Bias and the Validity of Indirect Questioning," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(2), pages 303-15, September.
    8. Henriques, Irene & Sadorsky, Perry, 1996. "The Determinants of an Environmentally Responsive Firm: An Empirical Approach," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 381-395, May.
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