Journal of Business Ethics 109 (4):483-500 (2012)

Proactive corporate social responsibility (CSR) involves business strategies and practices adopted voluntarily by firms that go beyond regulatory requirements in order to manage their social responsibilities, and thereby contribute broadly and positively to society. Proactive CSR has been less researched in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) compared to large firms; and, whether SMEs are ideally placed to gain competitive advantage through such activity therefore remains a point of debate. This study examines empirically the association between three specified capabilities (shared vision, stakeholder management and strategic proactivity), proactive CSR and financial performance in SMEs. Using quantitative data collected from a sample of 171 SMEs in the machinery and equipment sector of the Australian manufacturing industry, we find that all specified capabilities are positively associated with adoption of proactive CSR by SMEs, and that proactive CSR is, in turn, associated with an improvement in firm financial performance. Evidence of a fully mediating role for proactive CSR on the association between capabilities and financial performance presented in this study aligns with RBV theory that suggests adoption of value-creating strategies that make the most effective use of a firm’s capabilities is essential to financial success. The study contributes to the CSR literature by demonstrating a case for SMEs being able to maximise financial returns whilst proactively making progress towards CSR.
Keywords Proactive corporate social responsibility (CSR)  Capabilities  Financial performance  Resource-based view (RBV)  Small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10551-011-1141-1
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 64,262
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Small Business Champions for Corporate Social Responsibility.Heledd Jenkins - 2006 - Journal of Business Ethics 67 (3):241-256.
Does Size Matter? The State of the Art in Small Business Ethics.Laura J. Spence - 1999 - Business Ethics, the Environment and Responsibility 8 (3):163–174.
SMEs and CSR: An Approach to CSR in Their Own Words.David Murillo & Josep M. Lozano - 2006 - Journal of Business Ethics 67 (3):227-240.

View all 31 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

View all 11 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Overcoming Calimero: Complexes in Small Business Social Responsibility.Jan Lepoutre & Mike Valente - 2007 - Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society 18:203-208.
SMEs and the Fallacy of Formalising CSR.Yves Fassin - 2008 - Business Ethics, the Environment and Responsibility 17 (4):364-378.
CSR in SMEs: Do SMEs Matter for the CSR Agenda?Mette Morsing & Francesco Perrini - 2009 - Business Ethics, the Environment and Responsibility 18 (1):1-6.


Added to PP index

Total views
40 ( #271,033 of 2,455,611 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #303,316 of 2,455,611 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes