Inderscience Publishers

Assessing clustered SME practice towards environmental and social impact: a Bourdieusian approach

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Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are recognised as critical to local social and economic development. We explore the attitudes and practice of SMEs towards corporate responsibility/sustainability in a major ceramic tile manufacturing cluster, in Southwest China. The industry cluster offers a unique site for observing SME behaviour since clusters are credited with promoting regional economic development, and they attract small businesses. In drawing on theories of attitude and practice, we shed light on the nexus of individual predisposition, the generation and use of capital (economic, cultural and social) as important resources enabling the development of the cluster, and the dynamics of the cluster as a social arena. The main contributions are: 1) a Bourdieusian approach provides new insight to why there is inconsistency between SME leaders' knowledge and practice regarding corporate responsibility/sustainability; 2) that the cluster is a unique site for exploring SME practice in this way.

Keywords: small and medium–sized enterprises, SMEs, SME strategy practice, corporate responsibility, CSR, corporate social responsibility, industrial clusters, SME clusters, attitudes, stakeholder networks, sustainable development, sustainability, social capital, cultural capital, economic capital, social arena, Bourdieu, environmental impact, social impact, ceramic tile manufacturing, China

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