CSR in SMEs

An Analysis of Donor-financed Management Tools

Peter Lund-Thomsen, Dima Jamali, Antonio Vives

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Purpose -The aim of this article is to analyse the potential and limitations of donor-financed management tools that seek to promote CSR in small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries. Drawing on key insights from three streams of literature relating to institutional theory, critical perspectives on CSR in developing countries, and the literature on CSR and SMEs in the developing world, we analyze the potential and limits of donor-financed management tools aimed at promoting CSR in developing country SMEs.
    Design/methodology/approach - Using official UN and OECD lists of all multilateral and bilateral donor agencies we identified 38 donors that might have produced such CSR tools. We contacted them via e-mail and/or telephone, and conductied an extensive internet search with the aim of identifying whether they had developed management tools aimed at promoting CSR in SMEs in developing countries. We then scrutinized the contents of the 11 tools identified and examined 1) the extent to which these tools accord attention to contextual differences and specific peculiarities of institutional environments in developing countries; 2) the extent to which these tools account for the silent or sunken aspects of CSR which have been prominently highlighted in the SME-CSR literature; and 3) the extent to which these tools accord attention to the paramount concern for poverty alleviation in developing countries.
    Findings - Overall, the analysis testifies to the continued predominant orientation of these tools to the context of larger firms in developed countries, with insufficient tailoring or customization to the specific realities of SMEs in the South.
    Research limitations/implications - In-depth interviews with aid agency personnel, SMEs, workers, or community members were not conducted. Hence, our study should be seen as an initial, exploratory desk study of the potential and limits of management tools aimed at promoting CSR in SMEs in the developing world.
    Practical implications - We suggest that donor agencies could develop such tools in a bottom-up fashion by first mapping the silent CSR practises of SMEs in developing countries and then use this as a basis for strengthening existing CSR activities in SMEs instead of trying to impose new priorities from the outside. This might enhance the local relevance and applicability of these management tools.
    Originality/value - The study is likely to the first analysis of the potential and limits of management tools that are developed by donor agencies with the aim of promoting CSR in SMEs in developing countries.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalSocial Responsibility Journal
    Volume10
    Issue number4
    Pages (from-to)602-619
    ISSN1747-1117
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Cite this

    Lund-Thomsen, Peter ; Jamali, Dima ; Vives, Antonio. / CSR in SMEs : An Analysis of Donor-financed Management Tools. In: Social Responsibility Journal. 2014 ; Vol. 10, No. 4. pp. 602-619.
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    title = "CSR in SMEs: An Analysis of Donor-financed Management Tools",
    abstract = "Purpose -The aim of this article is to analyse the potential and limitations of donor-financed management tools that seek to promote CSR in small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries. Drawing on key insights from three streams of literature relating to institutional theory, critical perspectives on CSR in developing countries, and the literature on CSR and SMEs in the developing world, we analyze the potential and limits of donor-financed management tools aimed at promoting CSR in developing country SMEs.Design/methodology/approach - Using official UN and OECD lists of all multilateral and bilateral donor agencies we identified 38 donors that might have produced such CSR tools. We contacted them via e-mail and/or telephone, and conductied an extensive internet search with the aim of identifying whether they had developed management tools aimed at promoting CSR in SMEs in developing countries. We then scrutinized the contents of the 11 tools identified and examined 1) the extent to which these tools accord attention to contextual differences and specific peculiarities of institutional environments in developing countries; 2) the extent to which these tools account for the silent or sunken aspects of CSR which have been prominently highlighted in the SME-CSR literature; and 3) the extent to which these tools accord attention to the paramount concern for poverty alleviation in developing countries.Findings - Overall, the analysis testifies to the continued predominant orientation of these tools to the context of larger firms in developed countries, with insufficient tailoring or customization to the specific realities of SMEs in the South. Research limitations/implications - In-depth interviews with aid agency personnel, SMEs, workers, or community members were not conducted. Hence, our study should be seen as an initial, exploratory desk study of the potential and limits of management tools aimed at promoting CSR in SMEs in the developing world. Practical implications - We suggest that donor agencies could develop such tools in a bottom-up fashion by first mapping the silent CSR practises of SMEs in developing countries and then use this as a basis for strengthening existing CSR activities in SMEs instead of trying to impose new priorities from the outside. This might enhance the local relevance and applicability of these management tools.Originality/value - The study is likely to the first analysis of the potential and limits of management tools that are developed by donor agencies with the aim of promoting CSR in SMEs in developing countries.",
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    CSR in SMEs : An Analysis of Donor-financed Management Tools. / Lund-Thomsen, Peter; Jamali, Dima; Vives, Antonio.

    In: Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 10, No. 4, 2014, p. 602-619.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - CSR in SMEs

    T2 - An Analysis of Donor-financed Management Tools

    AU - Lund-Thomsen, Peter

    AU - Jamali, Dima

    AU - Vives, Antonio

    PY - 2014

    Y1 - 2014

    N2 - Purpose -The aim of this article is to analyse the potential and limitations of donor-financed management tools that seek to promote CSR in small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries. Drawing on key insights from three streams of literature relating to institutional theory, critical perspectives on CSR in developing countries, and the literature on CSR and SMEs in the developing world, we analyze the potential and limits of donor-financed management tools aimed at promoting CSR in developing country SMEs.Design/methodology/approach - Using official UN and OECD lists of all multilateral and bilateral donor agencies we identified 38 donors that might have produced such CSR tools. We contacted them via e-mail and/or telephone, and conductied an extensive internet search with the aim of identifying whether they had developed management tools aimed at promoting CSR in SMEs in developing countries. We then scrutinized the contents of the 11 tools identified and examined 1) the extent to which these tools accord attention to contextual differences and specific peculiarities of institutional environments in developing countries; 2) the extent to which these tools account for the silent or sunken aspects of CSR which have been prominently highlighted in the SME-CSR literature; and 3) the extent to which these tools accord attention to the paramount concern for poverty alleviation in developing countries.Findings - Overall, the analysis testifies to the continued predominant orientation of these tools to the context of larger firms in developed countries, with insufficient tailoring or customization to the specific realities of SMEs in the South. Research limitations/implications - In-depth interviews with aid agency personnel, SMEs, workers, or community members were not conducted. Hence, our study should be seen as an initial, exploratory desk study of the potential and limits of management tools aimed at promoting CSR in SMEs in the developing world. Practical implications - We suggest that donor agencies could develop such tools in a bottom-up fashion by first mapping the silent CSR practises of SMEs in developing countries and then use this as a basis for strengthening existing CSR activities in SMEs instead of trying to impose new priorities from the outside. This might enhance the local relevance and applicability of these management tools.Originality/value - The study is likely to the first analysis of the potential and limits of management tools that are developed by donor agencies with the aim of promoting CSR in SMEs in developing countries.

    AB - Purpose -The aim of this article is to analyse the potential and limitations of donor-financed management tools that seek to promote CSR in small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries. Drawing on key insights from three streams of literature relating to institutional theory, critical perspectives on CSR in developing countries, and the literature on CSR and SMEs in the developing world, we analyze the potential and limits of donor-financed management tools aimed at promoting CSR in developing country SMEs.Design/methodology/approach - Using official UN and OECD lists of all multilateral and bilateral donor agencies we identified 38 donors that might have produced such CSR tools. We contacted them via e-mail and/or telephone, and conductied an extensive internet search with the aim of identifying whether they had developed management tools aimed at promoting CSR in SMEs in developing countries. We then scrutinized the contents of the 11 tools identified and examined 1) the extent to which these tools accord attention to contextual differences and specific peculiarities of institutional environments in developing countries; 2) the extent to which these tools account for the silent or sunken aspects of CSR which have been prominently highlighted in the SME-CSR literature; and 3) the extent to which these tools accord attention to the paramount concern for poverty alleviation in developing countries.Findings - Overall, the analysis testifies to the continued predominant orientation of these tools to the context of larger firms in developed countries, with insufficient tailoring or customization to the specific realities of SMEs in the South. Research limitations/implications - In-depth interviews with aid agency personnel, SMEs, workers, or community members were not conducted. Hence, our study should be seen as an initial, exploratory desk study of the potential and limits of management tools aimed at promoting CSR in SMEs in the developing world. Practical implications - We suggest that donor agencies could develop such tools in a bottom-up fashion by first mapping the silent CSR practises of SMEs in developing countries and then use this as a basis for strengthening existing CSR activities in SMEs instead of trying to impose new priorities from the outside. This might enhance the local relevance and applicability of these management tools.Originality/value - The study is likely to the first analysis of the potential and limits of management tools that are developed by donor agencies with the aim of promoting CSR in SMEs in developing countries.

    M3 - Journal article

    VL - 10

    SP - 602

    EP - 619

    JO - Social Responsibility Journal

    JF - Social Responsibility Journal

    SN - 1747-1117

    IS - 4

    ER -