Little big firms? Corporate social responsibility in small businesses that do not compete against big ones

Business Ethics, the Environment and Responsibility 20 (1):30-44 (2011)
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This article examines the drivers and barriers for corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the Norwegian graduate uniform industry, which is a market devoid of large corporations, consisting entirely of two small businesses. It finds that these small businesses' CSR activities are not particularly well explained by the existing literature on CSR in small- and medium-sized enterprises, which assumes the presence of large competitors. This raises the question of whether small businesses that do not compete against large corporations may actually behave more like ‘little big firms’ when it comes to CSR. The article finds that the two businesses studied are mostly driven by external pressure to improve their social responsibility. Such pressure stems partly from news reports on their activities and partly from increasing competition leading to a situation where the small businesses operating in the market scrutinise each others' activities



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