The Role of philanthropy in small and medium-sized enterprises: a comparative study of Alberta, Canada and Kenya

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Muhumed, Hassan Abdullahi
University of Lethbridge. Dhillon School of Business
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dhillon School of Business
There is overwhelming agreement among scholars and practitioners alike on the socio-economic importance of Small-and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), both in developed and developing countries. However, there is also substantial research to suggest that differences exist with respect to CSR practices around the world, some of which has been attributed to a rough North / South divide in context but also to the matter of scale between MNEs and SMEs with particular emphasis on the larger role of community philanthropy in the latter. Nonetheless, to date there is a dearth of research on the nature of and motivating influences behind philanthropic activities on the part of SMEs, and more specifically, no comparative study has been done on the nexus between SMEs and philanthropy in a North / South context. This research, therefore, aims to investigate the role of philanthropy in SMEs in Alberta, Canada and Kenya. This research is grounded in interpretive (or constructive) research paradigm and hence a qualitative research design was adopted. Twenty semi-structured in-depth interviews consisting of owner-managers and employees were conducted. Given the cross-national perspective, one might expect the role philanthropy is playing in SMEs in Alberta, Canada to be sharply different from that in Kenya. Surprisingly, the results of this empirical study indicate that SMEs in both Alberta, Canada and Kenya tend to have ad hoc philanthropic programs that are altruistically driven and focus on addressing issues pertaining to local community. These results can be illuminated by what I will call the SME factor, which is grounded in the principles of satisfactory profits and community embeddedness, where views of community incorporate both social capital and relative levels of civil foundations between contexts.
Social Responsibility , Philanthropy , Small and Medium-sized Enterprises , Ethic of Care , Stakeholder Theory , Social Capital Theory , Alberta , Canada , Kenya