Can small business do CSR? An investigation into the awareness, understanding and application of corporate social responsibility in micro business
- P. Dexter (2011). International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, 429-445
- Abstract: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an approach by which an entity recognises that its activities have wider consequences. It is how an organisation takes account of its economic, social and environmental impacts in the way that it conducts its business. During the past decade, CSR has dramatically increased its profile. It is now seen as a significant factor in business strategy. Most CSR attention is focused on large businesses, yet in the UK, there are over 4 million small independent businesses that employ less than 50 staff. These comprise of 99% of all UK businesses. Furthermore, the majority of smaller businesses are 'micro' businesses which employ less than 10 staff. These account for 95% of all UK businesses (BIS, 2009). Reviews of relevant literature have indicated a paucity of CSR research in this area. This research aims to redress this balance and offer some exploratory insights into very small (micro) business and their CSR policies and operations, i.e.: to identify and examine the extent of CSR awareness, understanding and activity in micro business. Two similar studies were undertaken (2007 and 2010) involving a sample from a wide range of Derbyshire (UK) micro businesses. The studies explored the extent of their wider business responsibilities to stakeholders and society. In addition, those factors or 'drivers' (Jenkins, 2010) that influence or are 'perceived' to influence good CSR business practice were also examined. The results from both studies indicated a conflict between fulfilment of the social obligations of business (Bowen, 1953; Meehan et al, 2006)) and the traditional Western model of wealth maximisation (Friedman, 1970). However, some fundamental CSR activities were widespread amongst 'micro' businesses when driven by cost, legislation or as a by-product of the 'business case'. The 2010 studies from this research project confirmed the 2007 results, with no significant changes. Common Ground, Paul Dexter, All Rights Reserved.
- Theme: Perceptions and attitudes
- Keywords: Business strategy, Conflict of social obligations, Corporate social responsibility (CSR), Operation & application, Policy, UK micro business
- Reference type: Journal Article
- Geographic location: United Kingdom, Europe, Global North