The Role of Corporate Social Responsibility Education for the Korean Small and Medium-sized Enterprises' Development: A Social Capital Theory Perspective

  • Gumbin Hwang

Student thesis: Phd


As the significance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) increased in the last decade, more enterprises, encouraged by governments, are promoting CSR practice. Therefore, it is necessary to evaluate the conceptualisation of CSR in regions with different cultures, histories, socio-cultural practices and religions. This study was based on a social constructionism approach and the research questions were answered through reviewing the theoretical basis established according to the collection of existing studies, as well as analysing empirical findings obtained from multiple case studies of Korean small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) CSR champions, extensive interviews with international organisations (IOs) and Korean governmental agencies, and documents provided by the case companies, IOs and governmental agencies. This research found different characteristics of CSR between SMEs and multinational corporations regarding language and a necessity for differentiation strategy for development across firm size, industry and governance. Moreover, SMEs' global, national and organisational factors affected their learning and practice of CSR, resulting in different outcomes and peculiar characteristics. These findings could generate the new integrated model to understand CSR by combining two Social Capital Theory perspectives (Coleman, 1988; Fukuyama, 1995). This model facilitated in-depth analysis of the role of CSR in SMEs' development, building social capital on the process of SMEs' CSR practice by establishing virtuous cycles from trustful relationships internally and externally. Finally, it was shown that the CSR territory is expanding from the major Western developed countries to the emerging markets, especially in East Asia. Also, case study of the Korean CSR champions among SME sector could contribute to identifying characteristics of exemplary CSR cases to achieve social and economic responsibilities. Further, this research could provide about their conceptualisation and relationships with other education factors. Therefore, this study provides directions how other ordinary SMEs adopt CSR within their organisational settings, how policy makers set up their governmental support and how academics research about SMEs' CSR.
Date of Award31 Dec 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorBeverly Metcalfe (Supervisor) & Kelechi Ekuma (Supervisor)


  • Social Capital
  • CSR
  • SMEs
  • Education
  • South Korea

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