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The Impact of CSR on the Sustainable Growth of Wholesale and Retail SMEs: The Case of eThekwini Municipal region

Bobo Chazireni and Abdulla Kader
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Bobo Chazireni: Australia Awards-Africa, South Africa
Abdulla Kader: MANCOSA Graduate School of Business, South Africa

Expert Journal of Business and Management, 2019, vol. 7, issue 2, 221-229

Abstract: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for businesses has been mainly associated with large corporations, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) were insignificant as they regarded CSR a costly unsustainable business initiative. This scenario undermines the importance and critical role that SMEs play in the economy. Therefore, the study aimed at exploring the impact of CSR on the sustainable growth of Wholesale and Retail SMEs in the eThekwini Municipal region. Results were attained through assessing attitude levels of SMEs towards CSR; investigating the practice of CSR by SMEs; exploring barriers undermining the practice of CSR and exploring SME owners’ values key to the sustainable growth of their businesses. Stakeholder Theoretical framework guided the study; the philosophical paradigm that guided the research was post-positivist, which subsequently recommends a mixed-method approach, i.e. qualitative and quantitative. Data was obtained using self-administered questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. It emerged that majority of the respondents had a negative attitude towards CSR. CSR stakeholders were not valued the same as required by Stakeholder Theory. SMEs believe CSR is meant for large corporations regarding it as a costly extra-curricular from their core business. As new knowledge, a model based on the Stakeholder Theory titled, “Corporate Social Responsibility: A simplified practical approach†was proposed meant to assist wholesale and retail SMEs to positively embrace CSR in their businesses. The study recommended that local authorities must be proactive in supporting SMEs to practise CSR through revisiting the phrase Corporate Social Responsibility as it is psychologically intimidating to SMEs, hence resistance to the practice of CSR.

JEL-codes: M14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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