Carroll’s CSR Pyramid: An Empirical Investigation of SME CSR Orientation


  • Sophia Kusyk York University


leadership, accountability, ethics, CSR, CSRO, SME, CSP


The corporate social responsibility responsibly (CSR) pyramid (Carroll, 1991) plays a substantive role in business and social theory, and research on it is incomplete if it disregards the full gambit of organizational contexts. By focusing on small enterprises (SMEs), this mixed methods study makes a dual contribution to the growing body of research on Carroll's (1991) (CSR) pyramid. First, the research addresses the hierarchy of the CSR pyramid in the previously neglected context of SMEs in Spain. Second, grounded in CSR orientation (CSRO) theory (Schwartz & Carroll, 2003), the study demonstrates how CSR dimensions differ between best practice corporate social performance (CSP) and normal CSP companies. The findings challenge the original hierarchy of the CSR dimensions and suggest that the philanthropic dimension is a differentiator for CSROs. Thus, in contrast to the original CSR pyramid (Carroll, 1991) and in line with the development of CSR orientation theory (Schwartz & Carroll, 2003), a balanced CSRO emphasis for best practice CSP is supported.




How to Cite

Kusyk, S. (2021). Carroll’s CSR Pyramid: An Empirical Investigation of SME CSR Orientation. Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics, 18(4). Retrieved from