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 12: Social entrepreneurship and CSR theory: insights, application and value

David Littlewood and Diane Holt


The phenomenon of social entrepreneurship has proliferated in recent times. Concurrently, scholarly interest in and work examining social entrepreneurship has also blossomed. Yet there remains much about social entrepreneurship that we still do not know, whilst authors continue to highlight limitations in the state of theory development within the field of social entrepreneurship research. This chapter contributes towards advancing social entrepreneurship scholarship, and addressing these limitations, by exploring the insights, application and value of corporate social responsibility (CSR) theory for social entrepreneurship research. To do this, two key CSR theories: stakeholder theory and Carroll’s CSR pyramid, are analysed. We consider how both theories need to be adapted for a social enterprise context, before presenting a revised stakeholder theory of the social enterprise, and introducing the social enterprise responsibility pyramid. Although discussions in this chapter are principally conceptual, illustrative supporting examples are drawn from case study research with small and medium sized social enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa.

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