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Corporate social responsibility and SMEs: Evidence from a transition and a developed economy

Ana Colovic (NEOMA Business School, Mont-Saint-Aignan, France)
Sandrine Henneron (NEOMA Business School, Mont-Saint-Aignan, France)
Maik Huettinger (ISM University of Management and Economics, Vilnius, Lithuania)
Ruta Kazlauskaite (ISM University of Management and Economics, Vilnius, Lithuania)

European Business Review

ISSN: 0955-534X

Article publication date: 2 August 2019




This paper aims to investigate corporate social responsibility (CSR) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in transition and developed economies.


Building on social capital theory, the creating shared value approach and institutional theory, the authors study why and how six SMEs in the food sector implement CSR.


The authors show that CSR adoption by SMEs is motivated by company values and beliefs, relationships with the local community, a desire to abide by rules and regulations and business motives. They also show that SMEs are involved in various CSR-related activities such as respecting their employees, infusing CSR in the supply chain and philanthropy.


The findings suggest that although there are similarities between the CSR motives and activities of SMEs in developed and transition countries, there are also some differences, which can be explained by differences in institutions and related to the maturity of the CSR construct in each setting. The authors consequently call for a more holistic approach when investigating CSR across countries, in particular when such investigation concerns SMEs.



The authors warmly thank our students – Guoda Rinkeviciute, Justina Valaityte, Sigita Andriukeviciute, Jana Sadauskaite, Greta Lenartaviciute, Marta Sokolovska, Ieva Laucyte, Milda Vaiciunaite (ISM University of Management and Economics) and Morgane Lambert, Andres Coronado, Inesse Benmohammed, Pauline Dupont, Zhongping Ru, Elena Adankina, Cecile Farah, and Omar Hefny (NEOMA Business School) – who took part in the REBUSME project, funded by the European Union.


Colovic, A., Henneron, S., Huettinger, M. and Kazlauskaite, R. (2019), "Corporate social responsibility and SMEs: Evidence from a transition and a developed economy", European Business Review, Vol. 31 No. 5, pp. 785-810.



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