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Europe: Practice and Politics: Ethics and Social Responsibility in SMEs in the European Union

  • Laura J. SpenceEmail author
  • Francesco Perrini
Chapter
Part of the The International Society of Business, Economics, and Ethics Book Series book series (ISBEE, volume 2)

Abstract

In this paper we outline the status quo of ethics and social responsibility in small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the European Union (EU). Social issues and SMEs is an established topic of research and subject of policy-making in Europe, and thus in this paper we are able to draw on existing activities to summarise what we know about the topic. We describe the important position given to SMEs and entrepreneurship as drivers of the economy through job creation, social inclusion and issues such as employee health and welfare. We note that the ethics/social responsibility practices and strategies of SMEs tend to be greater than expected, but are informal and local community-based rather than replicating large firm approaches. To demonstrate the variety within Europe, we provide some nation-specific perspectives on social responsibility and SMEs with a closer look at Denmark, Italy, the UK and central and eastern Europe and the Baltic States.

Keywords

SMEs Europe European Union Social responsibility CSR Business ethics 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Research into Sustainability School of ManagementRoyal Holloway University of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Accounting, Control, Corporate and Real Estate FinanceBocconi UniversityMilanItaly

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