Forms of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs): A Multisite Grounded Theory Study of Community Expert Observations and SME Experiences



Williams, Memuna
(2023) Forms of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs): A Multisite Grounded Theory Study of Community Expert Observations and SME Experiences. Doctor of Business Administration thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Abstract

ABSTRACT Title: Forms of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs): A Multisite Grounded Theory Study of Community Expert Observations and SME Experiences [Short Title: SME CSR Study] Author: Memuna Kanu Williams, University of Liverpool, Doctor of Business Administration Purpose: In response to questions about how to develop corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs in the researcher’s international SME and to preliminary findings on the trends and global social value of these programs, the objectives of the SME CSR Study were to learn how CSR takes place in SMEs and to generate a theoretical explanation for the process of CSR development in SMEs. A systematic review of literature on various forms of SME CSR substantiated the need for the study. Methodology and Methods: The study therefore used grounded theory and its interpretivism, constructivism, interactionism and pragmatism for its ability to fulfill the research objectives. Twenty-seven participants were recruited in Africa and in North America. Findings and Discussion: Participant interviews were analyzed towards a theory of CSR development in SMEs over 13 categories and four phases. The study found that SME and large business CSR are different. It confirmed that SMEs develop CSR innovatively. Further, it detailed that they do so with novel goods and services. It found that culture drives social responsibility (SR), but that SMEs do not use formal strategies to develop CSR. The study found that SME CSR is developed intentionally, yields intangible benefits, is embedded, and takes longer to develop. The study also found that the strategic forms of SME and large business CSR are more alike, confirmed that strategic forms of SME CSR are hard to reverse, and suggested that SME CSR is important to strategic forms of SME CSR programs because the latter build on earlier CSR phases. Unlike traditional forms of SME CSR, strategic forms of SME CSR use planning and documentation. SME CSR is about engaging with community and stakeholders. The study’s limitations are that few SMEs and geographical areas were studied, under-resourced businesses were omitted, and a single researcher conducted the full study. Originality and Value: Future practitioners can use the study’s findings on SME CSR as a tool to (1) teach about CSR and strategic forms of CSR, (2) build SME CSR programs in diverse locations, (3) clarify opportunities for collaboration with internal and external stakeholders, (4) assess the development of CSR in SMEs, (5) test the various links between and among the various categories in the findings, (6) replicate the findings of the study, (7) extend a study of the same type to more SMEs, (8) extend a study of the same type to more geographical locations, and (9) extend to business that are more under-resourced than those considered in this study. Key Words: Business and Society, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Small and Medium Enterprise (SME), Strategic CSR, Local Communities, Strategy

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Business Administration)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Management
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2023 09:44
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2023 09:44
DOI: 10.17638/03171004
Supervisors:
  • Higgins, David
  • Akbar, Hammad
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3171004