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Small Business Social Responsibility and the Missing Link: The Local Context

Listed author(s):
  • Mara Del Baldo


    (Department of Economics, Society & Politics, Università di Urbino "Carlo Bo")

  • Paola Demartini


    (Department of Management and Law, University of Rome 3, Italy)

A further development in the socially responsible management debate my consider the following question: is SMEs’ orientation towards Corporate Social Responsibility sustained by entrepreneurs’ values and facilitated by environmental factors – that is, of an anthropological and socio-cultural nature – present in the territory where entrepreneurs and SMEs are sited? The chapter aims at proposing thoughts upon the contribution of SMEs in spreading the philosophy and practices of CSR and sustainability focusing on the importance of entrepreneurial values and the relationship with the local context to which the SMEs and entrepreneurs are profoundly rooted. In developing the research question, the analysis may be divided on two levels: one deductive and the other inductive, which correspond to the two main sections of the chapter. The first section (1-2) presents the theoretical framework by way of recalling threads of study on entrepreneurship and on business ethics centred upon behaviour, motivations and business values. The analysis then concludes by presenting a review of the international studies on the theme of the relationship between managerial culture and territory. The second section (3-4) is developed by way of a qualitative research methodology centred upon the analysis of behavior towards CSR and sustainability of a sample of SMEs belonging to the Marche Region, Italian territory “cradle” of the small-sized company and craft traditions. Empirical evidence presented, highlights how best practices of socially-oriented Marche SMEs - who are excellent examples of “convivial enterprises” strongly rooted in their territories - contribute to a model of Territorial Social Responsibility (TSR) that progresses within the particular socio-economic context of the region. The “social capital”, enriched by values, cultures and traditions tied to a specific community-space, synthesizes intangible factors that favour the development of CSR and the sustainability of SMEs. The economic model of “gentle capitalism” centred around “territorial” SMEs, which can be found in the business contexts under discussion, leans on the construction of a large consensus both within and external to the company, as well as on an environment which is neither restraint or limitation, rather it is an opportunity. The possible pathway of territorial CSR based on the culture of doing “good” in the local context, may offer a possible alternative to the often, unfortunately, short-sighted “turbo-capitalism” of the major transnational companies, which are not rooted in the area where they are located and “nomadic” in their character.

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File Function: First version, 2012
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Paper provided by University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Department of Economics, Society & Politics - Scientific Committee - L. Stefanini & G. Travaglini in its series Working Papers with number 1206.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision: 2012
Handle: RePEc:urb:wpaper:12_06
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  1. Birley, Sue, 1985. "The role of networks in the entrepreneurial process," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 107-117.
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