Sustainability and social responsibility through learning in SMEs (SocialSME)

Funding information

Project duration: 10/2007 – 09/2009

Project code number:

Funding guideline: Leonardo da Vinci

Project concept

Initial situation

Many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) suffer from phenomena such as high staff turnover, customer complaints, uncertainty in rapid change processes, internal conflicts, lack of attractiveness for capable junior staff and conflicts with competitors. This is often due to poor management of relationships with key stakeholders. In the conflict between the work and decision-making pressures of everyday life, such strategic issues are often neglected. Principles of socially responsible, sustainable corporate governance can help here. However, a prerequisite for this is a compact and attractive advisory format for SMEs to reflect on and implement such management principles, which have been lacking up to now.

Target groups and their benefits

The SocialSME project is aimed at counsellors and trainers from training and counselling institutions who test the procedure to be developed in SMEs and later use it in counselling SMEs. In addition, owners, managers and social partners of SMEs were addressed to reflect on their previous socially responsible activities and to make them more systematic and strategic.

Project goal

The SocialSME project aims to sensitise SMEs and make them aware of why fairness and shared learning with customers, employees and competitors are crucial for business success. To this end, a consultancy format was developed that supports SMEs in improving their relationship management and in strategically planning and sustainably implementing the development and shaping of relationships with customers, employees and competitors. Good practices were used to illustrate successfully implemented management principles.

Role of ISOB

ISOB conducts the initial study, prepares the counselling concept and is responsible for the internal evaluation.

Products and publications

  • Analysis of good practices to identify socially responsible management principles 
  • Development of a counselling guide and materials with six workshop units of 3 hours each ("6×3 step-by-step" process) on socially responsible corporate governance



  • Lithuania (project coordination): Kaunas Technical University
  • Portugal: CECOA, Trade Education Centre
  • Bulgaria: National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASMB)
  • Romania: FIA Test
  • Latvia: University of Riga
  • Poland: University of Wroclaw
  • Germany: Institut für sozialwissenschaftliche Beratung GmbH

The project was successfully completed and positively evaluated.

We will be happy to provide you with the project results on request. For further information, please contact our Team.