Research Handbook on Small Business Social Responsibility
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Research Handbook on Small Business Social Responsibility

Global Perspectives

Edited by Laura J. Spence, Jedrzej G. Frynas, Judy N. Muthuri and Jyoti Navare

The vast majority of businesses globally are small. If business is to be socially responsible, we need to go beyond the westernised concept of 'Corporate Social Responsibility', to develop 'Small Business Social Responsibility'. This agenda-setting Research Handbook on Small Business Social Responsibility includes leading research from around the world, including developed and developing country contexts. It provides a foundation for the further development of small business social responsibility as a scholarly subject and crucially important practice and policy field.
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Chapter 3: Industry matters: comparative study of Vietnam’s SME managers and workers on meaning and impacts of CSR in two manufacturing sectors

Angie Ngoc Tran and Søren Jeppesen

Abstract

This chapter draws on a study investigating what corporate social responsibility (CSR) means to Vietnam’s small- and medium-size enterprise (SME) owner/managers and workers, using Scott’s three-pillar (norms, regulation, cognition) institutional framework. The findings are based on factory visits and interviews with 40 managers/owners and 218 workers conducted in two sectors—textile/garment/footwear (TGF) and food/beverage processing (FBP)—around Ho Chi Minh City in 2011. Scott’s framework is useful in highlighting similarities and differences between these two sectors. We found more stringent state regulation and greater industry pressure with regard to quality and safety of products than to labour standards in both sectors. Most factories in the TGF sector assembled products for global supply chains and were under pressure by industry norms, while most companies in the FBP sector produced for the domestic market and were subjected to greater state regulation. Moreover, contributing critical perspectives to Scott’s framework, we found an overlap between the normative and the regulatory, and between the cognitive and the industry norms, which reveals how institutional and cultural pressures contribute to different outcomes in the TGF and FBP sectors. We also contribute to Scott’s framework by analysing the unequal power relations in global supply chains and explain how different levels of linkage to global systems explain the different outcomes in FBP and TGF sectors. FBP workers in domestic-serving factories negotiated for job stability, whereas workers in the export-oriented TGF factories bargained for flexible work schedules in exchange for wages below the living wage as well as overtime work.

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