Dissertation Proposal Defense Announcement by Abigail Berk
Date and Time
Tuesday, June 3, 2014 from 12 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Mother Rosalie Hill Hall, 211
San Diego, CA 92110
THE SOCIAL IN SMALL: CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IN SMALL AND MEDIUM BUSINESS
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become a global imperative supported
by governments, industry, and citizens alike. In 2000, the United Nations launched the
Global Compact to encourage businesses to adapt sustainable and socially responsible
policies. In tandem, businesses became increasingly attentive to their social and
environmental practices with the vast majority of current CEOs declaring CSR important
to their organization’s future success. Despite this increase in attention – which occurred
among businesses of all sizes – the academic literature on CSR has focused almost
exclusively on large, public companies. Ironically, the majority of businesses in the
United States are small, private businesses suggesting that the existing CSR field has
overlooked a significant segment of the economy.
To help remedy this problem, this study intends to address the current knowledge
gap around CSR in small and medium enterprises (SME) by electronically surveying a
well-defined sample of the business community of San Diego, California. Specifically,
data describing the perceptions, activities, and outcomes of CSR will be gathered from all
3,000 current members of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce via a 24-item
electronic survey. Descriptive statistics will then be used to describe both the current state
of CSR among responding SMEs as well as the positive and negative drivers of CSR. In
the inferential part of the analysis, multiple regression analysis will be used to determine
the extent to which variations in CSR activity among responding SMEs can be explained
by the financial and organizational demographics collected via the survey.
Taken together, this study will characterize the level of CSR among small and
medium-sized businesses in San Diego, and will also serve as a template for researchers
interested in applying this methodology to other cities or aggregations of small and
medium-sized businesses. In addition, it is hoped this study will contribute to a deeper
understanding of CSR that will be relevant to organizations promoting CSR, and will
ultimately aid small and medium-sized businesses in their contribution to the ongoing
development of society.
**USD graduate students and faculty are welcome free of charge.