Corporate Social Responsibility and Stakeholder Relations – The Perspective of German Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

  • Simone KleinEmail author
  • Kristin Vorbohle
Part of the The International Society of Business, Economics, and Ethics Book Series book series (ISBEE, volume 2)


Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have not only their own way of understanding Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), but also their own way of applying it. This paper explores the understanding of CSR by SME owners and analyses their corporate activities. The qualitative survey conducted among 33 SMEs in the metropolitan region of Hamburg reveals that owners of SMEs feel a strong responsibility towards their employees and – even further – towards their families. The fact that employees are the key stakeholders of SMEs is taken into account when applying Freeman’s stakeholder model on SMEs. Moreover, the survey reveals that the engagement of SMEs has a strong local focus and is done in an intuitive “hands-on” way. SMEs did not implement CSR strategies and they do not intend to do so. Their non-communication of CSR reflects this attitude. The challenge for SMEs seems to be the treatment of CSR as a competitive advantage by implementing it in the companies’ overall strategy.


Corporate Social Responsibility Corporate Social Responsibility Activity Corporate Citizenship Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy Corporate Social Responsibility Engagement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Katholische Universität Eichstätt-IngolstadtEichstättGermany
  2. 2.Ingolstadt School of ManagementIngolstadtGermany
  3. 3.Institut für werteorientierte Unternehmensführung (Institute for value oriented Management)BerlinGermany
  4. 4.CSR NEWS GmbHHückeswagenGermany

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