n International Retail and Marketing Review - Ethics or survival : the meaning of good and bad in small South African businesses

Volume 9, Issue 1
  • ISSN :



Small businesses are the lifeblood of many countries worldwide, but in many instances are barely surviving. With the increased pressure on small business to develop and alleviate poverty and to enhance social wellbeing, many small business owners are forced into business in order to survive, which in turn may lead to them being less ethically inclined and rather focussed on survival. This in itself can lead to moral predicaments and an increase in unethical behaviour in order for small businesses to keep their heads above water. It has therefore been deemed important to consider the attitude employees have towards the ethical issues in the small business sector, and to what extent they would compromise these issues in order to survive. The core of this study was to determine the attitude small business employees/owners have towards the ethical environment in which they are currently operating. The study made use of a quantitative approach by collecting data through a self-administered survey questionnaire. The study found that small business employees and owners have a negative attitude towards the ethical responsibilities of the business they are operating in. Their attitude regarding their perception of what an organisation should commit to in order to be ethical, shows that respondents understands what constitutes ethical behaviour.

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