Strategies and Instruments for Organising CSR by Small and Large Businesses in the Netherlands

Journal of Business Ethics 47 (1):45-60 (2003)
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Abstract

This paper analyses the use of strategies and instruments for organising ethics by small and large business in the Netherlands. We find that large firms mostly prefer an integrity strategy to foster ethical behaviour in the organisation, whereas small enterprises prefer a dialogue strategy. Both large and small firms make least use of a compliance strategy that focuses on controlling and sanctioning the ethical behaviour of workers. The size of the business is found to have a positive impact on the use of several instruments, like code of conduct, ISO certification, social reporting, social handbook and confidential person. Also being a subsidiary of a larger firm has a significant positive influence on the use of instruments. The most popular instrument used by small firms is to let one member of the board be answerable for ethical questions, which fits the informal culture of most small firms. With respect to sectorial differences, we find that firms in the metal manufacturing and construction sectors are more actively using formal instruments than firms in the financial service sector and retail sector. The distinction between family and non-family firms hardly affects the use of instruments

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Author Profiles

J. J. Graafland
Tilburg University
Bert Van De Ven
Tilburg University