Corporate social responsibility in small-and medium-size enterprises: investigating employee engagement in fair trade companies

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60 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Employee buy-in is a key factor in ensuring small-and medium-size enterprise (SME) engagement with corporate social responsibility (CSR). In this exploratory study, we use participant observation and semi-structured interviews to investigate the way in which three fair trade SMEs utilise human resource management (and selection and socialisation in particular) to create employee engagement in a strong triple bottomline philosophy, while simultaneously coping with resource and size constraints. The conclusions suggest that there is a strong desire for, but tradeoff within these companies between selection of individuals who already identify with the triple bottomline philosophy and individuals with experience and capability to deal with mainstream brand management - two critical employee attributes that appear to be rarely found together. The more important the business experience to the organisation, the more effort the organisation must expend in formalising their socialisation programmes to ensure employee engagement. A key method in doing this is increasing employee knowledge of, and affection for, the target beneficiaries of the CSR programme (increased moral intensity).
LanguageEnglish
Pages126-139
Number of pages14
JournalBusiness Ethics: A European Review
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
StatusPublished - Apr 2010

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Fair trade
Small and medium-sized enterprises
Employees
Corporate Social Responsibility
Employee engagement
Socialization
Structured interview
Resources
Participant observation
Human resource management
Moral intensity
Brand management
Resource selection
Trade-offs
Factors
Exploratory study

Keywords

  • Sustainability

Cite this

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