The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been widely investigated, but a generally accepted theoretical framework does not yet exist. This paper addresses the question of whether the idiosyncrasies of large firms and SMEs explain the different approaches to CSR used by large firms and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and whether the notion of social capital is a useful way of understanding the CSR approach of SMEs, as stakeholder theory address the CSR approach of large firms. Based on the extant literature, we present a comparison of large firm and SME idiosyncrasies suggesting that both a consolidated and emerging strategic orientations toward responsible behaviours exist. Idiosyncrasies of large firms and SMEs are discussed to clarify whether or not the differences between stakeholder theory and social capital explain the different approaches toward CSR of large firms and SMEs, respectively, as well as to provide an assessment of the firm’s strategic CSR orientation, suggesting the key drivers upon which CSR strategies must be based. A twofold consideration emerges. First, the CSR-SME relationship could be better explained if the notion of social capital is taken into account, but this should also be accompanied by a stakeholder view of the SME; second, social capital and stakeholder theory should be taken as alternative and not complementary, for explaining CSR in both large firms and SMEs.

Investigating stakeholder theory and social capital: CSR in large firms and SMEs

PERRINI, FRANCESCO;RUSSO, ANGELOANTONIO
2010

Abstract

The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been widely investigated, but a generally accepted theoretical framework does not yet exist. This paper addresses the question of whether the idiosyncrasies of large firms and SMEs explain the different approaches to CSR used by large firms and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and whether the notion of social capital is a useful way of understanding the CSR approach of SMEs, as stakeholder theory address the CSR approach of large firms. Based on the extant literature, we present a comparison of large firm and SME idiosyncrasies suggesting that both a consolidated and emerging strategic orientations toward responsible behaviours exist. Idiosyncrasies of large firms and SMEs are discussed to clarify whether or not the differences between stakeholder theory and social capital explain the different approaches toward CSR of large firms and SMEs, respectively, as well as to provide an assessment of the firm’s strategic CSR orientation, suggesting the key drivers upon which CSR strategies must be based. A twofold consideration emerges. First, the CSR-SME relationship could be better explained if the notion of social capital is taken into account, but this should also be accompanied by a stakeholder view of the SME; second, social capital and stakeholder theory should be taken as alternative and not complementary, for explaining CSR in both large firms and SMEs.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11565/2721391
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