A critical analysis of small business social responsibility in independent foodservice businesses

TOMASELLA, Barbara (2019). A critical analysis of small business social responsibility in independent foodservice businesses. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00251


This thesis critically analyses how small independent foodservice businesses express and implement their social responsibility, considering the lack of research in the emergent small business social responsibility (SBSR) field, particularly within the foodservice sector. This gap in knowledge should be addressed, because the backbone of the industry are small businesses, which are often unaware of their collective impacts and the importance of implementing socially responsible practices. In order to interpret the peculiarities of SBSR among small foodservice businesses, the research is qualitative and utilises an abductive research methodology, based on semi-structured interviews with owner-managers, as well as archival documents of the business. A key finding identifies that the business mission influences the perceptions of SBSR; in particular, the hospitableness of value-driven businesses and the social mission of social enterprises, makes the business more likely to get engaged in proactive SBSR actions. Another key result has been to highlight that the SBSR in these foodservice businesses is a holistic phenomenon, based on a complex mix of factors: personal values of the owner-manager influence the business mission and perceptions of SBSR, but also business motivations and external factors play a role in determining a sustained SBSR practice in the long term. A core contribution to knowledge to the SBSR literature is clarifying that the commitment to a business mission informed by prosocial values, distinguishes the more socially oriented businesses. The core contribution to knowledge to the hospitality literature is to show how the hospitableness influences the owner-managers’ ethical perceptions of SBSR. The findings cannot be generalised to the entire population of small foodservice businesses, as the qualitative research relied on a purposive sample, moreover ethical research can be affected by issues linked to social desirability bias and positionality of the researcher. Future research avenues should focus on narrative studies of small businesses able to prioritise their prosocial values while maintaining competitiveness, therefore highlighting practical avenues for small businesses to engage with SBSR.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Ali, Alisha [0000-0002-7667-4293]
Thesis advisor - Egan, David
Additional Information: Director of studies: Alisha Ali Supervisor: David Egan
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00251
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 24 Dec 2019 10:22
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 02:00
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/25592

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