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CSR and stakeholders of small businesses in regional South Australia

Nina Evans (Associate Head of School (Teaching and Learning), School of Computer and Information Science (CIS), UniSA, Adelaide, Australia)
Janet Sawyer (Head, Business and Regional Enterprise Unit at the Centre of Regional Engagement, University of South Australia, Whyalla, Australia)

Social Responsibility Journal

ISSN: 1747-1117

Article publication date: 3 August 2010




This paper aims to report on the key CSR strategies, activities and attitudes of small business owners in a South Australian regional area with regard to the key stakeholders, towards developing socially and environmentally responsible small businesses.


The investigation was conducted collaboratively between the University of South Australia's Centre for Regional Engagement (CRE) and the Whyalla Economic Development Board (WEDB), using an interview‐driven, qualitative design.


It was found that the small business owners in Whyalla were supportive of their stakeholders, especially the local community, because it was the right thing to do and was generally beneficial to their business.

Research limitations/implications

It is acknowledged that this type of research design limits the degree to which the results can be generalised, as the sample was limited and questions on environmental issues can be misunderstood and misinterpreted.

Practical implications

The results enable the University to assist the University and the WEDB to play an active role in developing the social and environmental awareness of businesses towards sustainable, socially and environmentally responsible regional small businesses.

Social implications

CSR is viewed through the lens of stakeholder theory, where stakeholders are all the people and entities that contribute to the businesses’ wealth‐creating activities.


The paper is based on an original study within small firms and their social and environmental responsibility relating to their stakeholders. Previous research on the CSR activities of small businesses within regional or rural environments is limited, especially in regional areas of a developed economy.



Evans, N. and Sawyer, J. (2010), "CSR and stakeholders of small businesses in regional South Australia", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 433-451.



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Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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