Construction of owner–manager identity in corporate social responsibility discourse

Business Ethics 21 (2):168-182 (2012)
This article examines the different discursive resources on which small business owner–managers draw when understanding their sense of self in relation to corporate social responsibility. In the small business context, identity provides a justifiable framework to study corporate social responsibility, as decisions regarding socially responsible activities are mainly taken by managers and stem from their sense of who they are in the world. On the basis of 25 thematic interviews with owner–managers, two broad discursive resources were found that describe how they actively seek to create and legitimise their sense of self within the discussion on corporate social responsibility. These discursive resources are called being altruistic and being instrumental. The findings emphasise that the essential and also the most challenging feature in small business owner–managers' identity work is the process of reconciling economic values with the social and ethical aspects of business life
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-8608.2011.01644.x
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