Corporate social responsibility disclosure in small and medium-sized entities and large companies

António Dias, Lucia Lima Rodrigues, Russell Craig, Maria Elisabete Neves

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    Purpose – Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) literature has focused mainly on larger firms. Only recently has discussion of the engagement of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in CSR emerged in research studies. Here we contribute to that growing discussion of CSR in SMEs by analysing the disclosure practices of 57 Portuguese companies of different sizes (small, medium, large).

    Design/methodology/approach – We use stakeholder theory to identify the stakeholders that SMEs and large firms prioritize. By means of thematic content analysis and an index of disclosure (calculated according to company type and stakeholder type) we analyse whether business characteristics influence CSR disclose strategies.

    Findings – Companies give priority to CSR activities that are directly related to maintaining business and achieving economic results. CSR disclosure practices of SMEs and large companies do not differ significantly. However, larger companies disclose more information on Environment and Society. Companies who are closer to consumers disclose more information on Customers, Community and Society. The act of assuring a CSR report drives system improvements and extended CSR disclosure.

    Originality/value – This study extends knowledge of CSR by comparing the disclosure practices of SMEs and large (listed and unlisted) Portuguese companies. This study takes account of the particularities of SMEs and other fundamental business characteristics using a replicable assessment framework.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalSocial Responsibility Journal
    Early online date2 Nov 2018
    Publication statusEarly online - 2 Nov 2018


    • corporate social responsibility
    • disclosure
    • large companies
    • SMEs
    • stakeholder theory


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