Corporate Social Responsibility that 'Pays': A Strategic Approach to CSR for SMEs

27 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2017

See all articles by Carmen Stoian

Carmen Stoian

University of Kent - Canterbury Campus

Mark W. Gilman

University of Kent, Canterbury

Date Written: January 2017

Abstract

This study adopts a strategic approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR), puts forward a model of CSR activities that enhance small and medium enterprises (SMEs) growth, and argues that by aligning CSR activities with the competitive strategy of the firm, SMEs enhance firm growth. We test this model using multinomial logistic analysis and data from a survey with 211 U.K.‐based SMEs. We find that CSR activities related to the community enhance firm growth for all SMEs, but especially for firms adopting a cost leadership strategy, and that CSR activities related to the workforce are crucial to avoid sales decline, especially for SMEs adopting a differentiation or a quality‐driven strategy. We also find that environment‐related CSR activities are not beneficial for SMEs' growth and that human rights–related CSR activities slow growth for firms adopting a differentiation or a quality‐driven strategy. Finally, we put forward managerial and policy recommendations.

Suggested Citation

Stoian, Carmen and Gilman, Mark W., Corporate Social Responsibility that 'Pays': A Strategic Approach to CSR for SMEs (January 2017). Journal of Small Business Management, Vol. 55, Issue 1, pp. 5-31, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2894027 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jsbm.12224

Carmen Stoian (Contact Author)

University of Kent - Canterbury Campus ( email )

Keynes College
Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NP
United Kingdom

Mark W. Gilman

University of Kent, Canterbury ( email )

Canterbury Business School
Canterbury, Kent CT2 7PE
United Kingdom

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