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CSR in manufacturing SMEs

A case study of a Swedish manufacturing company

Written by A. Rapp, I. Vesterberg

Paper category

Master Thesis


Business Administration>Supply Chain & Logistics




Master Thesis Corporate Social Responsibility: CSR is a term that has been widely discussed in many industries for decades. Therefore, CSR does not have a clear definition, but is defined as a general term with overlapping definitions and concepts (Lunheim, 2003). Nevertheless, the term corporate social responsibility is more generally regarded as an inclusive concept related to stakeholder relations, environmental issues, and supply chain management (Ortiz-Avram et al., 2018). Mallenbaker (2004) found that CSR is about the overall positive impact of a company's business process on society. Valand and Heide (2005) further explained this concept, pointing out that CSR is about voluntary social responsibility actions that exceed the requirements of laws and regulations. Jenkins (2009, p. 22) found that corporate social responsibility “is related to the activities of enterprises, especially their Contribution to achieving economic, social and environmental sustainability". As mentioned earlier, corporate social responsibility is usually a voluntary action initiated by a company to incorporate social and environmental issues into its daily operations and long-term goals (Malik, 2015). The European Commission’s previous definition of corporate social responsibility is “a concept company that incorporates social and environmental issues into its business operations and interactions with stakeholders on a voluntary basis” (European Commission, 2011, p. 3). However, in this research project, the discussion is based on the latest CSR definition of the European Commission (2011, p. 6), that is, "corporate responsibility for social impact". In order to be able to fulfill this responsibility, the European Commission (2011, page 6) stated: “Respect for applicable legislation and collective agreements between social partners is a prerequisite for fulfilling this responsibility. In order to fully fulfill corporate social responsibility, companies Should work closely with stakeholders to develop a process that incorporates social, environmental, ethical, human rights and consumer concerns into their business operations and core strategies, with the goal of: creating for their owners/shareholders and other stakeholders and society as a whole Shared value;-Identify, prevent and mitigate its possible adverse effects." 2.2 Motivation behind the implementation of corporate social responsibility by SMEs There are many different themes in the literature when studying the driving factors and incentives for the implementation of corporate social responsibility by SMEs And method. CSR is difficult to define and understand the concept of CSR in a general term, but companies can usually define CSR according to their own company (Jenkins, 2006; Jenkins 2009). 2.3 The characteristics of management values ​​related to corporate social responsibility, such as scale and resources, are not the initial driving force for the implementation of corporate social responsibility, but the inclusiveness of the industry and global supply chain and the motivation of owner managers (Baumann-Pauly et al., 2013 year) ). The implementation of corporate social responsibility is usually the result of owner-manager initiatives, usually based on their values ​​and interests (Lee et al., 2016). Li et al. (2016, p. 97) pointed out that "the ‘who’ behind CSR decision-making is mainly the owner of SMEs", the situation in Sweden is usually the same. Jenkins (2006) found that the implementation of CSR will bring obvious business benefits, but this is not the main motivation for participating in CSR activities. A more specific motivational driver is moral values ​​and things that are beneficial to the company and its stakeholders (Jenkins, 2006). In order to successfully implement corporate social responsibility, senior managers need to strategically introduce corporate social responsibility (Baumgartner, 2014). One aspect often mentioned in the literature is that corporate social responsibility activities and their implementation belong to the role of management support and decision-making (Oritz-Avram et al., 2018). Lee et al. (2016) and Baumann-Pauly et al. (2013) found that values ​​in the owner-manager domain are the main driving factor when carrying out CSR activities. What affects the ethical environment and company management is the decision-making of individual managers (Aragón et al., 2016). However, they are not the “only driving force” for making decisions about values, interests and priorities, such as corporate social responsibility initiatives (Aragón et al., 2016). Qin et al. (2013) also pointed out that the implantation of corporate social responsibility requires managers to be interested in and committed to the process in order to make it successful. Jenkins (2006, p. 250) also strengthened this point. He pointed out that “for corporate social responsibility to play a role in a company, it must have an internal champion; the commitment of senior management is critical to its success”. The literature often points out that the company’s owner manager or dedicated CSR advocate is the key driving force for the implementation of CSR, and the owner’s manager’s personal values ​​and principles have largely affected how and why they first decided to cooperate with CSR ( Jenkins, 2006; Oritz-Avram et al., 2018). Jenkins (2006) found that the successful implementation of corporate social responsibility is mainly due to the "support of a few managers". In most cases, this is the actual owner-manager. Jenkins (2006) also found that it is the responsibility of the owner manager to transform the principles and vision into CSR activities that are suitable for SMEs. Jenkins (2006, p. 251) explains this by explaining that "the principle of "respect and value our colleagues" in corporate social responsibility is transformed into improving the work-life balance of employees. Read Less