Intent to be a Socially Responsible Small or Medium-sized Enterprise: Theory of Planned Behavior and Leaders’ Actualizing

  •  Ashley Bennington    
  •  Marcel Minutolo    


A review of the academic research in corporate social responsibility shows little work on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the U.S. whereas considerable work in this domain has been conducted in the European context. This study seeks to make a contribution to the research void by addressing one particular area of social responsibility in the U.S. context. Specifically, we employ Ajzen’s reasoned action approach to begin to build an understanding of what promotes leaders of SMEs to reduce waste. This study addresses several questions: What are the attitudes of owners and managers of SMEs toward waste reduction practices for their organizations? How are stakeholder interests toward waste reduction perceived? And, are leaders of SMEs influenced by their industrial environment? The authors utilized an email survey directed to owners and managers of SMEs with greater than 5, but less than 500 employees in the telephony, construction, pulp and paper products, textiles, and agriculture industries. 377 emails were opened and 104 completed surveys were obtained. The survey instrument was developed from the theoretical perspective of Isaac Ajzen’s (1991) Theory of Planned Behavior in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50, p. 179-211. Results from a partial least squares analysis of the data suggest that there is a strong and significant relationship between the normative, attitudinal, and control constructs with an individual’s intention to be a socially responsible SME. This finding suggests that efforts to influence SME owners and managers to implement waste reduction activities need focus on changing individual attitudes.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • Issn(Print): 1925-4725
  • Issn(Onlne): 1925-4733
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: semiannual

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