CSR commitment in SMEs
: a study on owners' perception of stakeholders

  • Mattias Östberg
  • Jakob Österberg

    Student thesis: Bachelor


    Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an important subject in business administration, and has been for many years. Over the past few years it has been become an increasingly debated topic. The CSR subject mainly focuses on multinational enterprises (MNEs), resulting in a research gap concerning CSR in small and medium size enterprises (SMEs). SMEs outline the majority of all companies on the European market; therefore, it is empirically interesting to further investigate how SMEs perceive CSR commitment.

    The purpose of this dissertation is to explain how CSR commitment of internal and external stakeholders influences CSR commitment in SMEs.

    The research was conducted with a quantitative survey. The data collected with the survey was tested and analyzed with both an explanatory and exploratory research strategy. Explanatory research was performed in order to test the derived hypotheses and explain the research question. Exploratory research was then performed in order to provide a further understanding of how SMEs view stakeholders and their CSR commitment.

    These two research strategies revealed that internal and external stakeholders influence CSR commitment in SMEs. However, SMEs perceive some stakeholders similarly because of their relationship with the company. There are three main concepts of CSR commitment: environmental, social and financial responsibility. Results showed that financial CSR is considered distinctly different from the two other measured CSR concepts. The theoretical contributions may be of importance to owners of SMEs and MNEs in order to gain a deeper understanding of CSR as a subject. Also, findings can help scholars interested in further researching CSR commitment in SMEs. The methodological contributions of this dissertation are of relevance for future research on the subject, since the developed instrument for measuring CSR commitment was successful. Without an established measure for this area, this instrument enables further development and thereby more valid research regarding CSR commitment and SMEs.

    Date of Award2013-Feb-26
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorTimurs Umans (Supervisor) & Christer Ekelund (Examiner)

    Educational program

    • Degree of Bachelor of Science in Business and Economics

    University credits

    • 15 HE credits

    Swedish Standard Keywords

    • Business Administration (50202)


    • corporate social responsibility (csr)
    • small and medium sized enterprises (sme)
    • multi-national enterprises (mne)
    • stakeholder theory

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