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Digital transition and CSR in French SMEs: Managing Paradoxes ?


Defined by the international standard ISO 26000 in 2010, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) appears nowadays as a guarantee of competitiveness for businesses (Ecovadis, 2019), regardless of their size or their sector. Works on CSR commitment are still mainly focused on large companies, while the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as a lever for eco-nomic growth is widely recognized (Forsman and Temel, 2011). In Europe, they represent about 20 million companies, or 99% of all European businesses. In addition, SMEs are continually looking for levers to improve their perfor-mance. Focusing on CSR, Soundararajan et al. (2018, p. 935) define SMEs as "firms that have no more than 250 employees, are generally independent, multi-tasking, cash-limited, based on personal relationships and informality, actively managed by owners, highly personalized, largely local in their area of operation, and largely dependent on internal sources to finance growth". If sustainability is not yet fully integrated into the practices of SMEs, there is a consensus on the specific attributes of CSR for SMF.s compared to larger companies (Jenkins, 2009). Socially responsible actions in small business are primarily motivated by personal ethical convictions rather than by reasons concerning the activities of the company (Jenkins, 2006; Jamali et al., 2015). More specifically in France, these initiatives are mainly on the social dimen-sion of CSR (Insee, 2012; BPI France — Le Lab, 2018; France Strategie, 2019). In other terms, French companies largely engage in "Socially responsible FIRM" defined as "that which, while being concerned with the development and sustainability of the company in respect of regulations, adapts its practices according to the needs and expectations of each employee. [...] in a sustainable employment relationship" (Barthe and Belabbes, 2016, p. 108).
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emse-03349110 , version 1 (20-09-2021)


  • HAL Id : emse-03349110 , version 1


Sandrine Berger-Douce. Digital transition and CSR in French SMEs: Managing Paradoxes ?. Laveren, Eddy, Ben-Hafaïedh, Cyrine, Kurczewska, Agnieszka, Jiang, Yi D. Contextual Heterogeneity in Entrepreneurship Research: Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research, Edward Elgar Publishing, pp61-82, 2021, Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship series, 978 1 80220 019 5. ⟨emse-03349110⟩
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