Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 67, Issue 3, pp 227–240 | Cite as

SMEs and CSR: An Approach to CSR in their Own Words

  • David MurilloEmail author
  • Josep M. Lozano


The academic literature reveals the need to undertake more in-depth field studies in order to discover the organisational culture, the difficulties and the perceptions surrounding CSR in SMEs. This study presents the results of analysis of four case studies on Catalan companies that stand out for their social and environmental practices. The conclusions of this paper are the result of dialogue with the main actors – four medium-sized companies – focusing on their actions, understandings and resistance with regard to CSR. The methodological perspective used was Grounded Theory, with the aim of the study being to contribute towards formalising CSR in SMEs, in their daily practices, by analysing some primary data. The results obtained show how difficult it is for SMEs to understand CSR, beyond the explanation of the specific practices carried out by the companies. They highlight the role played by the values of the founding director in the implementation of CSR programmes; they reveal that SMEs still have a long way to go towards learning how to inform both internal and external stakeholders of their best practices, and; finally, they show the interesting links that SMEs establish between responsible practices, improved competitiveness and economic results. Finally, the text points out the implications that the results of this analysis may have on creating ways of promoting CSR in SMEs. We believe that, in light of the opinions expressed by the companies, public organisations should try to concentrate on creating a favourable framework for responsible competitiveness, as a way to deal with CSR when addressing SMEs.


business case study CSR motivations CSR perception public policy qualitative research SMEs responsible competitiveness 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Esade Business SchoolUniversitat Ramon LlullBarcelonaSpain

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