Social responsibility and sustainability at the corporate level is becoming a necessity in international business. However, extant research has mostly discussed their impact on large multinationals, and there has been notably less scholarly attention paid on the dynamics of the concepts in international entrepreneurship and SMEs. This constitutes an omission in literature, as the few available studies point towards corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate sustainability (CS) of SMEs being theoretically and managerially relevant yet distinct concepts.
However, while CSR and CS have not received significant attention from the international entrepreneurship community, internationally operating SMEs continue to have a crucial role in the current highly networked business environment and are involved in interactions through which they are able to internationalize. Thus, understanding the perspective of international entrepreneurs on social responsibility and sustainability is crucial for further development of these concepts.
This is especially true in literature on international entrepreneurship, which has so far remained notably silent on the impact of CSR and CS on international activities of entrepreneurs and their enterprises. Therefore, the objective of this study is to describe how individual managers of SMEs engaged in international entrepreneurship construct their understanding of CSR and sustainability in business relationships.
The empirical part of the study consists of qualitative in-depth interviews with representatives of a Finnish-Russian dyad of SMEs. We focus on this context due to different levels of development in implementing CSR and CS in the countries' national business and culture context. We apply a combination of narrative and metaphor analysis in order to understand managerial sensemaking Finnish and Russian entrepreneurs on CSR and CS. The findings indicate that managerial narratives and conceptualization of CSR and CS are embedded in the cultural background of managers and the contextual environment they are operating in. The results add to the limited amount of literature on CSR and sustainability in SMEs and international entrepreneurship, as well as to research on microfoundations of CSR.
|Title of host publication||Proceedings of the 20th McGill International Entrepreneurship Conference|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|
|MoE publication type||D3 Professional conference proceedings|