Title: Public policies of promotion of CSR amongst SMEs and effects on competitiveness: the case of Tuscany region

Authors: Massimo Battaglia; Marco Frey

Addresses: Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna – Istituto di Management, P.za Martiri della Libertà, 24, 56127 Pisa, Italy ' Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna – Istituto di Management, P.za Martiri della Libertà, 24, 56127 Pisa, Italy

Abstract: Starting in the late 1990s, the European Commission began to promote corporate social responsibility (CSR) principles among firms and public authorities aimed at: 1) safeguarding local communities and workers; 2) stimulating the competitiveness of businesses. This paper describes a study carried out in Tuscany (Italy), aimed at investigating the opinions of local actors on the relationship between CSR and competitiveness, and the effectiveness of local policies that promote CSR. We collected the opinions of SMEs and local authorities through interviews and examined them using the qualitative method of constant comparison. Three focus groups, organised by the regional government of Tuscany, recruited other stakeholders to discuss the results of the interviews and recommended policies to the regional policy maker. The results showed that the various stakeholders essentially agreed on the utility of CSR as a means to increase SME competitiveness and the quality of local areas, however, they also reveal a lack of tools for measuring such effects.

Keywords: SME competitiveness; corporate social responsibility; CSR; SMEs; small and medium-sized enterprises; public policies; business ethics; Tuscany; Italy; local authorities; regional government.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBGE.2014.062762

International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics, 2014 Vol.9 No.1, pp.1 - 26

Received: 15 May 2013
Accepted: 07 Jan 2014

Published online: 12 Jun 2014 *

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