Title: Responsible business practice: re-framing CSR for effective SME engagement

Authors: Annmarie Ryan, Lisa O'Malley, Michele O'Dwyer

Addresses: Department of Marketing, Lancaster University Management School, George Fox Building, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YX, UK. ' Department of Marketing, Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, Ireland. ' Department of Marketing, Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, Ireland

Abstract: This paper explores attempts to translate the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) discourse to Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs). The transfer of the CSR discourse is problematic because of the inherent differences between large-scale enterprises and SMEs as well as the heterogeneity existent within the SME sector. Within this context the authors argue that Responsible Business Practice (RBP) is a more appropriate term which recognises that SMEs have different motivations for engagement with, and methods of operationlising, RBP. The paper introduces a new typology to help understand and progress the mainstreaming of RBPs among SMEs, acknowledging four primary enterprise categorisations: market-driven responsible enterprises, environmentally responsible enterprises, socially responsible enterprises and sustainable enterprises. This paper extends the extant literature through its explicit consideration of SMEs in enhancing RBP. This approach, while building on the core essence of CSR, will help to facilitate the sector to progress beyond CSR and begin to develop to SME-specific theory and practice in this area.

Keywords: CSR; corporate social responsibility; SMEs; small and medium-sized enterprises; market driven enterprises; environmentally driven enterprises; socially driven enterprises; sustainable enterprises; responsible business practice.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIM.2010.033005

European Journal of International Management, 2010 Vol.4 No.3, pp.290 - 302

Published online: 06 May 2010 *

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