Organizing Corporate Social Responsibility in Small and Large Firms: Size Matters

University of Zurich, Chair of Foundations of Business Administration and Theories of the Firm, Working Paper No. 204

29 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2011 Last revised: 3 Jan 2012

See all articles by Dorothée Baumann-Pauly

Dorothée Baumann-Pauly

New York University, Center for Business and Human Rights

Christopher Wickert

VU University Amsterdam

Laura J. Spence

University of London - Royal Holloway College

Andreas Georg Scherer

University of Zurich - IBW Department of Business Administration

Date Written: December 2011

Abstract

Based on the findings of a qualitative empirical study of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Swiss MNCs and SMEs, we suggest that smaller firms are not necessarily less advanced in organizing CSR than large firms. Results according to theoretically derived, bespoke assessment frameworks illustrate the actual implementation status of CSR in organizational practices. Contrary to commonly raised perceptions in the CSR literature, we suggest that small firms possess several organizational characteristics that could promote the integration of CSR-related practices in core business functions, while large multinational corporations possess several traits that enhance communication and reporting about CSR. We propose a theoretical explanation of these differences in CSR implementation in MNCs and SMEs based on the relationship between firm size and relative organizational costs.

Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Multinational Corporations (MNC), Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME), Organizational Cost

Suggested Citation

Baumann-Pauly, Dorothée and Wickert, Christopher and Spence, Laura J. and Scherer, Andreas Georg, Organizing Corporate Social Responsibility in Small and Large Firms: Size Matters (December 2011). University of Zurich, Chair of Foundations of Business Administration and Theories of the Firm, Working Paper No. 204. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1974194 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1974194

Dorothée Baumann-Pauly

New York University, Center for Business and Human Rights ( email )

44 West 4th Street
Suite 9-160
New York, NY NY 10012
United States

Christopher Wickert (Contact Author)

VU University Amsterdam ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, ND North Holland 1081 HV
Netherlands

Laura J. Spence

University of London - Royal Holloway College ( email )

Egham
Surrey, TW20 0EX
United Kingdom

Andreas Georg Scherer

University of Zurich - IBW Department of Business Administration ( email )

Plattenstrasse 14
Zurich, 8032
Switzerland
+41 44-63 45302 (Phone)
+41 44-63 45301 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.business.uzh.ch/professorships/as.html

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