Communicating about Ethics with Small Firms: Experiences from the U.K. and Spain

  • Laura J. Spence
  • José Félix Lozano


This article introduces the important issue of communicating with small firms about ethical issues. Evidence from two research projects from the U.K. and Spain are used to indicate some of the important issues and how small firms may differ from large firms in this area. The importance of informal mechanisms such as the influence of friends, family and employees are highlighted, and the likely ineffectiveness of formal tools such as Codes and Social and Ethical Standards suggested. Further resarch in the area of small firms and ethics is essential.

Key Words

communication ethics small firms social responsibility Spain United Kingdom 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Baumback, C.: 1988, How to Organize and Operate a Small Business, 8th ed. (Prenctice Hall, Englewood Cliffs).Google Scholar
  2. Chittenden, R, S. Jack, J. Bower and E. Crabtree: 1998, ‘Small Firms and the ISO 9000 Approach to Quality Management’, International Small Business Journal 17(1), No. 65, 73–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Conill, J. et al: 2000 El perfil Ético de la cultura empresarial en la Comunidad Valenciana. ÉTNOR — Economía 3.Google Scholar
  4. Curran, J. and R. Blackburn: 1994, Small Firms and Local Economic Networks: The Death of the Local Economy? (Paul Chapman, London).Google Scholar
  5. Department of Trade and Industry: 1999, Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Statistics for the U.K., 1998. Statistical Press Release P/99/662, 5 August 1999.Google Scholar
  6. ENSR (European Network for SME Research): 1997, The European Observatory for SMEs. Fifth Annual Report (EIM Small Business Research Consultancy, Zoetermeer).Google Scholar
  7. Frentz, A., J. Nouws and A. Zwaard: 1993, Milieubeieid en MKB (Economic Institute for the Small and Medium Sized Firm, Zoetermeer).Google Scholar
  8. Garcia-Echevarría, S.: 1994, Innovatión y competitividad en la PYMES. Instituto de Dirección y Organización de empresa. Working-Papers no. 212. Universidad de Alcalá.Google Scholar
  9. Gil Suay, J. María: 1995, ETNOR Documents (Valencia).Google Scholar
  10. Holliday, R.: 1995, Investigating Small Firms: Nice Work? (Routledge, London).Google Scholar
  11. Hutchinson, A. and I. Chaston: 1994, ‘Environmental Management in Devon and Cornwall’s Small and Medium Sized Enterprise Sector’, Business Strategy and the Environment 3(1), 15–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. North, J., R. Blackburn and J. Curran: 1998, The Quality Business: Quality Issues in Smaller Firms (Routledge Studies in Small Business, London).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Palafox, J., J. G. Mora and E Perez: 1995, Capital Humano, Educatión y Empleo (Fundación BANCAIXA).Google Scholar
  14. Pons, E, E. Belenguer and J. Félix Lozano: 1998, ‘The Participation of Workers in the Company’, paper presented at the European Business Ethics Network conference on The Ethics of Participation (Leuven, Belgium), 9–11 September.Google Scholar
  15. Quinn, J. J.: 1997, ‘Personal Ethics and Business Ethics: The Ethical Attitudes of Owner/Managers of Small Business’, Journal of Business Ethics 16(2), 119–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Spence, L. J.: 1999, ‘Does Size Matter? The State of the Art in Small Business Ethics’, Business Ethics: A European Review (July, 8).Google Scholar
  17. Spence, L. J.: 2000a, ‘Towards a Human Centred Organisation: The Case of the Small Firm’, paper pesented at the 3rd Conference on Ethics in Contemporary Human Resource Management, Imperical College, London, 7 January.Google Scholar
  18. Spence, L. J.: 2000b, Practices, Priorities and Ethics in Small Firms (Institute of Business Ethics, London).Google Scholar
  19. Vyakarnam, S.: 1995, ‘Focus Groups: Are They Viable in Ethics Research?’, Business Ethics: A European Review 4(1), 24–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Vyakarnam, S., A. Bailey, A. Myers and D. Burnett: 1997, ‘Towards an Understanding of Ethical Behaviour in Small Firms’, Journal of Business Ethics 16(15), 1625–1636.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura J. Spence
    • 1
  • José Félix Lozano
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Business and ManagementBrunel UniversityUxbridgeUK
  2. 2.ETNORValenciaSpain

Personalised recommendations