Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Governance in Italian SMEs: An Analysis of Excellent Stakeholders Relationship and Social Engagement Profiles

Mara Del Baldo -


The study proposes to individuate the relationship between social engagement, social statements and governance of SMEs focusing attention on the elements of the trinomial mission-corporate governanceaccountability and on their reciprocal relations.

Does a positive relationship between the adhesion to a culture of social responsibility and evolved systems of governance exist? And is such correlation more or less significant for small and medium-sized firms with respect to large-sized firms? The paper winds itself around these questions and describes the principle findings that have emerged from the qualitative investigation focused on a selected group of "cohesive" Italian SMEs, in which the nexus between the evolution of corporate governance and socially responsible management practices were examined.

The central hypothesis is that in the presence of a solid ethical framework, which is promoted and shared by the entrepreneurs and managers who guide the business in carrying out socially responsible practices and towards adopting methods communicating them (such as a charter of values, a code of ethics, social report, etc.), the arrangement and quality of governance can mitigate tensions and dedicate more energy towards the good of the business, of its workers, and of the society and environment in which it operates.

The work is articulated in four principle parts. The first section traces its theoretical and empirical context; the second provides a description of the methodology (survey research conducted in May 2008 through a semi-structured questionnaire on a sample of SMEs in the Marches Region). The third part describes and interprets the principle findings that have emerged from the qualitative investigation focused  on a selected group of "cohesive" SMEs The last section closes the paper with final remark. The concluding reflections trace the features of a territorial model of socially responsible orientation centered on the best practices of SMEs who are excellent examples of "spirited businesses".

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Registered by the Cancelleria del Tribunale di Pavia N. 685/2007 R.S.P. – electronic ISSN 2038-5498


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