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Business social responsibility: how are SMEs doing in Gauteng, South Africa?

Mmboswobeni Watson Ladzani (Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management at the Department of Business Management, University of South AfricA, Pretoria, South Africa)
Solly Matshonisa Seeletse (Senior Lecturer at the Department of Statistics and Operations Research at the University of Limpopo, Medunsa campus, Pretoria, South Africa)

Social Responsibility Journal

ISSN: 1747-1117

Article publication date: 2 March 2012




This paper aims to establish the extent to which small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) in Gauteng, South Africa involve business social responsibility (BSR) in their practices. It also aims to bring awareness of the importance that BSR has amongst SMEs. The objectives are to measure the involvement of SME's BSR on management performance, identify strengths and areas that need improvement of BSR and expose the potential usefulness of BSR in South African SMEs.


A quantitative comparative design was used to collect primary data from 326 respondents from 64 randomly selected SMEs in the study area. Structured interviews were used.


The findings revealed that SMEs in Gauteng had performed worst in the area of BSR out of the ten management performance scores measured. The study further found that most owner‐managers of the sampled businesses had university qualifications and most of these businesses had passed the survival stage.

Research limitations/implications

The study excluded major components of BSR, and cannot be generalized to the remaining eight provinces.

Practical implications

It is recommended that SMEs in the study area strengthen BSR as a marketing tool to grow their businesses. Furthermore, SMEs researchers should focus on bringing the benefits of BSR to SMEs operations.


Many SMEs seem to understand that BSR is to be carried out only by large enterprises. This study exposes Gauteng SMEs to BSR since those that incorporated BSR in their operations were not doing enough.



Watson Ladzani, M. and Matshonisa Seeletse, S. (2012), "Business social responsibility: how are SMEs doing in Gauteng, South Africa?", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 87-99.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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