Defining the Role Engagement of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

  •  Benjamin James Inyang    


Corporate social responsibility (CSR) discourse, academic research, public policy and media commentaries, which have burgeoned in the past few decades in response to the desire to define the nexus between business and society tended to focus mainly on large corporate organizations which are expected to behave responsibly. The big businesses have for years attracted large volume of literature on CSR. Very little literature is currently available to enhance our understanding about the engagement of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in CSR. The SMEs, often defined variously, in terms of turnover, gross asset value, ownership structure and the number of employees, is a significant sector worldwide in terms of economic, environmental and the social impact they make. This paper attempted to bridge this apparent research gulf, defined the nature of SMEs, the aggregate contributions of the sector to economies of both developed and developing nations and their role engagement in CSR. The study adopted qualitative literature survey method. A review of the paltry literature provided insight and defined the direction of research in this important and underexplored area of study. SMEs were found to perform roles associated with community development, employee initiatives, consumerism, environmental actions and supply chain requirements. To overcome the constraints confronting SMEs engagement in CSR initiatives the paper recommended increased resources, training programmes, development of SMEs-oriented tools and standards to guide adoption and implementation, and government intervention strategies to create the necessary incentives and support services for effective engagement.

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