The value and significance of corporate community relations: an Italian SME perspective


Palazzo, M., Foroudi, P., Siano, A. and Kitchen, P. 2017. The value and significance of corporate community relations: an Italian SME perspective. The Bottom Line. 30 (4), pp. 330-344.
TitleThe value and significance of corporate community relations: an Italian SME perspective
AuthorsPalazzo, M., Foroudi, P., Siano, A. and Kitchen, P.

Purpose – This paper investigates the link between community of place and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Lombard industrial districts in Italy.
Design/methodology/approach – A brief literature review of international authors from the stakeholder approach and Corporate Community Relations field is presented. This paper refers to a survey of Lombard industrial districts conducted by ALTIS. The data was collected via a telephone survey from 834 firms.
Findings – The main finding is that managing Corporate Community Relations (CCR) is of major importance for company success. The results of the survey show that there are some tools and actions that Italian industrial district SMEs uses to interact with their particular communities of place to develop effective and coherent relationships with their stakeholder groups. Moreover, although the survey shows that though SMEs do implement different CCR activities, they are not able to communicate these effectively through systematic communication strategies. However, the narrow sample includes only a sample of some Lombard districts. Nonetheless, the findings indicate that effective CCR seems to confer competitive advantage based on stakeholder responses and rewards sought.
Research limitations/implications – The framework could assist in supporting CCR developments between industrial districts as various players would know how to improve CCR activities. One further suggestion is that University and Research Centres could have a role to play in creating and communicating codified knowledge concerning community relations in industrial districts, while other public players still have to develop specific tasks in improving infrastructures.
Originality/value – This study is in line with the main focus of CCR, which is in striving to meet stakeholder and societal needs. However, industrial district SMEs have to learn how to communicate their CCR activities from the examples set by large Italian companies. The paper links the notion of CCR with tools and actions to develop meaningful relationships with both community of place and interest. Moreover, considering the survey results, a new framework for local player roles is proposed.

JournalThe Bottom Line
Publication dates
Print13 Nov 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited30 Aug 2017
Submitted24 Aug 2017
Accepted24 Aug 2017
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
Copyright Statement

This is the accepted version of the manuscript "The value and significance of corporate community relations: an Italian SME perspective", forthcoming/published in the journal "The Bottom Line" available via the journal site at:
This article is © Emerald Publishing Limited and permission has been granted for this version to appear here. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

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