Management and communication of corporate social responsibility in Hong Kong small and medium enterprises
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 18:28 authored by Brenda Y. W. Lee Wong
The discussion of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has gathered great momentum in business and society over recent decades. CSR is broadly defined as the responsibilities and ethical behaviour of businesses in balancing the diverse interests of different stakeholders, taking into consideration the economic, social and environmental dimensions of conducting business. The ideology of CSR is to build a just, fairer and better world. This, in turn, is expected to create a favourable operating environment for business, resulting in sustainable development for all concerned, including future generations. The extensive CSR theories, guidelines and tools developed by academics, institutions and practitioners focus mainly on large companies, with a consequent lack of attention to, and discussion of, CSR in relation to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Due to the increasing significance of SMEs, which now account for some 90% of the number of enterprises in most economies around the world, the CSR movement will not be complete without the active engagement of SMEs. There is an urgent need to build SME capacity in CSR and to build best practice cases. In particular, few studies have investigated how SMEs in Hong Kong interpret, manage and communicate CSR. Consequently, the present research is motivated by the need to reduce this distinct knowledge gap, and aims to develop an integrated CSR management and communication model for SMEs. Adopting a qualitative research methodology, this study investigates how SMEs interpret, manage and communicate CSR, through conducting in-depth interviews with 28 business owners or senior managers of CSR award-winning companies in Hong Kong. Based on the findings, and drawing on the academic literature, further knowledge of CSR practices of SMEs in Hong Kong is advanced as the basis for developing an integrated “CSR Best Practice Management and Communication Model for SMEs”. The outcomes of this research confirm some of the contributions of the international literature on CSR in SMEs, but also reveal a number of interesting new findings, potentially beneficial for the Hong Kong context but possibly also more broadly, to both academics and practitioners. This study contributes to the body of knowledge of best practice of CSR in SMEs, potentially leading to greater SME engagement in CSR and sustainable development for both the business sector and broader society.