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Challenging the importance of size as determinant for CSR activities

Publiceringsår: 2009
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 255-270
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Management of Environmental Quality
Volym: 20
Nummer: 3
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Purpose – This paper aims to contribute to the development and understanding of corporate social responsibility (CSR) by discussing two interrelated characteristics of current literature: a tendency in discourses to portray CSR as equal to the societal activities displayed by and demanded from large, multinational firms; and an increasing focus on and description of “small firm CSR” in research. These two characteristics instigate a limited approach to the meaning of CSR and an unjust dichotomization of CSR based on firm size are posited. A distinction that risks stimulating an un-nuanced CSR discourse.

Design/methodology/approach – From reviewing the field, it has been concluded that firm size should not be a feasible main criterion when trying to understand or predict CSR behavior. From examples of far-reaching CSR activities in the small business community and local initiatives by large firms, the distinctions suggested in the current discourse do not appear in practice are shown.

Findings – Additional firm features and contextual characteristics to explain the CSR approach in companies are proposed. Local embeddedness, corporate governance, and individual motivation are examples of issues that appear to explain a firm's CSR activities and characteristics, regardless of firm size.

Originality/value – The paper concludes by articulating a number of propositions. These are presented as a basis for research to further understand how CSR activities relate to various organizational and operational features.


  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • ISSN: 1477-7835

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