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A small business leader's perception of corporate responsibility and business ethical concepts


  • Fassin, Y.
  • Van Rossem, A.


  • Buelens, M.

    () (Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School)


Recent academic articles point to an increased vagueness and overlapping of the concepts around business ethics and corporate responsibility. However, the perception of these notions in the entrepreneurial world can differ from the original academic definitions. This paper focuses on entrepreneurial cognition, a research stream which is increasingly being recognized as a perspective for understanding entrepreneurship related phenomena. Given the impact of the entrepreneur as owner of his venture, corporate responsibility and ethical issues can take a different breadth in SMEs. The entrepreneur has the possibility to shape the corporate culture and to enact values other than profit. This paper centers its attention on the cognitive study of a specific topic of management and entrepreneurship: the process of how CSR and business ethics related concepts are perceived or interpreted. For this research, the Repertory Grid Technique (RGT) is used, a method with limited applications in the business and society field. Our findings partially reject the confusion in terminology noticed in the academic literature. Entrepreneurs, pragmatically and rather clearly differentiate the various corporate responsibility and business ethics related concepts. These findings add to a better understanding of how entrepreneurs think and integrate corporate responsibility and ethical issues into their decision-making.

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  • Fassin, Y. & Van Rossem, A. & Buelens, M., 2007. "A small business leader's perception of corporate responsibility and business ethical concepts," Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School Working Paper Series 2007-32, Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School.
  • Handle: RePEc:vlg:vlgwps:2007-32

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. A. E. Fernández Jilberto, 1991. "Introduction," International Journal of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(1), pages 3-9, March.
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