Analyzing the employee/employer relationships in the corporate social responsibility context: An empirical investigation of SMEs

Fanny Bastian, Nicolas Poussing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the adoption of corporate social responsibility (CSR), firms are invited to identify, consult and take into account the expectations of their stakeholders. In this context, firms are expected to promote direct relationships with their employees while employee participation traditionally took the form of indirect institutional participation via trade unions or employee representatives. By mobilizing stakeholder theory, this study aims to analyze the impact of adopting a CSR approach on the existence of direct relationships between employees and employers. Three relationships are analyzed: information, consultation, and dialog. Using survey data, the empirical analysis shows that SMEs which have adopted a CSR approach in the social field are more likely to inform and consult their employees; but the adoption of CSR is not linked to dialog with them. This research is closely linked to the sustainable development goals 8.8 and 16.7 and gives new argument to promote CSR in SMEs. In particular, our findings underline the importance of CSR as a driver of employer/employee relationships because the CSR-oriented companies seem more open to stakeholder dialogs with employees. This argument is relevant to companies that are seeking to implement, CSR, innovative human resources practices and industrial relations policies to improve working conditions and to create a win-win situation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2011-2020
Number of pages10
JournalCorporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management
Issue number4
Early online date26 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


  • corporate social responsibility
  • empirical analysis
  • employee/employer relationships
  • Luxembourg
  • survey
  • SMEs

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