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Differences in implementing corporate social responsibility through SA8000 and ISO 26000 standards: Research from European manufacturing

Andrea Chiarini (University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy) (Chiarini & Associates, Bologna, Italy)
Emidia Vagnoni (Department of Economics and Management, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Article publication date: 2 May 2017




There are different ways of implementing a corporate social responsibility (CSR) system. One interesting way of implementing a CSR system is based on standards such as SA8000 and ISO 26000. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the differences brought by the two standards in European manufacturing in CSR implementation using a survey.


Eight hypotheses were derived from an analysis of the implementation pattern for a CSR management system revealed from a review of the literature as well as from the actual two investigated standards. A questionnaire based on these hypotheses was administered to the CSR managers of 326 European manufacturing companies. A χ2 and Cramer’s V-tests were used to validate the results. The CSR managers also added comments to their responses. The qualitative results gathered from the respondents’ comments helped the authors’ to better understand the quantitative data.


The results showed differences in how the standards affect strategies, economic and financial issues, stakeholders involved, environmental management, customer and market issues, supply chain management and CSR key performance indicators. The results indicated that it is not clear how production and technical departments can be involved in and committed to such standards or, in general, to a CSR system.

Research limitations/implications

The research is based on a sample of European manufacturing managers and limited to the implementation of two specific CSR standards.

Practical implications

The differences between the standards should be interesting to practitioners who are thinking of implementing a CSR system in a manufacturing context and weighing the pros and cons of each standard.


This research analyses, for the first time, the differences in CSR implementation brought by SA8000 and ISO 26000 in manufacturing and, in particular, in production and technical departments.



Chiarini, A. and Vagnoni, E. (2017), "Differences in implementing corporate social responsibility through SA8000 and ISO 26000 standards: Research from European manufacturing", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 28 No. 4, pp. 438-457.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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