Embedding corporate social responsibility in small and medium-sized enterprises: a framework for successful implementation and value creation through employee engagement

Judith Wylie, Trevor Cadden, Ying Yang, biao yang, Emma Aiken, Adegboyega Oyedijo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

In this paper, we address two interrelated research gaps in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) literature. The first is a lack of understanding of how CSR strategies are constructed and successfully implemented in practice. The second is the dearth of literature related to embedding CSR within Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs). We developed the Conceptual Model of Employee Engagement, CSR Implementation and Value Creation from the literature, applying the Communication Constitutes Organisations (CCO) theoretical lens. This lens proposes that companies move through three communicative phases in embedding CSR: the leadership-driven instrumental phase, the political phase (which seeks feedback from stakeholders) and the networked phase (where CSR activities are co-created with employees). The conceptual model was tested using in-depth case studies with five Northern Irish SMEs. It was found that companies took a phased-approach to CSR implementation, with increasing employee engagement within each phase. The CCO approach results in value creation through CSR becoming initialised and embraced by employees through the 'hard’ and 'soft’ wiring of CSR activities into organisational decision-making. The findings were then operationalised to create The Analytical Framework for Employee Engagement, CSR Implementation and Value Creation to provide guidance to practitioners and policymakers on approaches to incorporating CSR.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalProduction Planning & Control
Early online date31 May 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished online - 31 May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • Corporate social responsibility
  • leadership
  • employee engagement
  • small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • value

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