Quality & Quantity

, Volume 47, Issue 6, pp 3205–3218 | Cite as

Small & medium-sized enterprises and Corporate Social Responsibility: a systematic review of the literature

  • Rosario Vázquez-CarrascoEmail author
  • M. Eugenia López-Pérez


Most business management research to date has either failed to look at firm size as a factor or focused its attention on large companies. The fact is, however, that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are unique, making general assumptions applicable to other types of firms of little use. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is no exception. Recent decades have seen a plethora of studies which debate definitions, consider content and scope, and study causal relationships with antecedents and implications of applying CSR. Yet only a small percentage of the literature has delved into SME realities. Through a systematic review of the literature, the present study aims to analyze the state of the question and identify the theoretical framework of reference, and CSR antecedents and consequences in SME contexts in order to provide a jumping off point for future empirical studies. Hence, after consulting a cross-section of internationally renowned experts and the SSCI/JCR Index, we have reviewed articles in the foremost management journals (Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Management, Strategic Management Journal), SME management journals (Journal of Small Business Management, International Small Business Journal, Small Business Economics) and CSR-related journals (Business Ethics Quarterly, Corporate Governance: An International Review, Journal of Business Ethics, Business Ethics: an European Review and Business & Society). Our findings shed light on key themes including idiosyncrasies of CSR management, aspects such as terminology and language, the recommended theoretical framework, and antecedents, barriers and potential impact of CSR in the SME context.


CSR SMEs Systematic literature review 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosario Vázquez-Carrasco
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. Eugenia López-Pérez
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de Organización de Empresas y MarketingPablo de Olavide UniversitySevillaSpain
  2. 2.Areca Consulting GroupSevillaSpain

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