Contributing to the sustainable development goals as normative and instrumental acts: The role of Buddhist religious logics in family SMEs


Prior studies suggest that religion matters in the adoption of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in SMEs. This study draws on an institutional logics perspective to illuminate a hitherto underexplored interplay of multiple logics that in combination influence family SMEs when pursuing CSR. Based on a qualitative study of family SMEs in Northern Vietnam, this article aims to deepen our understanding of how constellations of institutional logics entwine to influence their CSR initiatives, in particular where these initiatives include commitments to contributing towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We find that when a religious logic is present there is a shift away from the dominance of a family logic and a turn towards a community logic. Further, whereas non-religious family SMEs act instrumentally towards CSR initiatives, seeking benefits primarily for the family and the firm, a religious logic introduces a normative character to the market logic, whereby economic benefits are construed as resources to support local communities rather than the family. Implications for theory, practice and further research are offered.

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