Given the importance of the contribution of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in national and international economies, there is a lack of research attention given to the role that social responsibility can play in the success of SMEs. A vast amount of research has been conducted on how social responsibility can be beneficial to larger and more established enterprises; however, the benefits that can accrue to SMEs and their different stakeholder groups is less evident. Thus, the primary objective of this study is to investigate the influence of business social responsibility (BSR) on the brand image and business performance of SMEs. After a comprehensive literature review was undertaken on SMEs in South Africa, as well as the concept BSR and its various dimensions, the following independent variables were identified as possibly influencing the intervening variable (Brand Image) and the dependent variable (Business Performance) in this study: • Diversity • Environmental Awareness • Community Development • Stakeholder Relations These independent variables were selected to construct a hypothetical model and research hypotheses, as they are the four most commonly recognised BSR initiatives in which SMEs can engage. These independent variables were used in determining whether BSR could possible lead to a positive brand image and ultimately, an increased business performance for SMEs. In order to establish the influence of BSR on the brand image and business performance of SMEs, an empirical investigation was undertaken. A measuring instrument, in the form of a questionnaire, was compiled from secondary literature sources. The respondents were identified through the convenience sampling technique and the 200 usable questionnaires gathered from the respondents, were subjected to statistical analyses. The validity and reliability of the measuring instrument was confirmed by means of an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and the calculation of Cronbach‟s alpha coefficients. As a result of conducting EFAs, some definitions of the variables were adapted. However, none of the variables used in the study were eliminated, nor did additional variables occur following the EFAs. Consequently, the hypothetical model and its research hypotheses remained the same. During the data analyses, descriptive statistics were calculated to summarise the sample data and Pearson‟s Product Moment Correlations were calculated to establish the correlations between the variables used in this study. The primary statistical procedure used to test the significance of the relationships hypothesised between the independent, intervening and dependent variables in this study, was the multiple linear regression analysis. To conclude the empirical investigation, a t-test and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) tests were performed to assess the influence of demographic variables on respondents‟ perceptions regarding the independent, intervening and dependent variables used in the study. Furthermore, to establish significant differences between individual mean scores, post-hoc Sheffé tests were calculated, and practical significance was assessed by calculating Cohen‟s d values. The main empirical findings showed that there is a significant relationship found between the independent variables, Environmental Awareness, Community Development and Stakeholder Relations, with the intervening variable Brand Image and the dependent variable Business Performance. The empirical investigation showed that younger respondents had a more positive perception of Brand Image than older respondents, along with respondents who held the position of manager in the enterprise. The study also revealed that the more work experience the respondent had, the less optimistic they were about Brand Image. Furthermore, enterprises that have been in existence for a fewer amount of years than their older counterparts, considered Brand Image to be more important. Therefore, there is a distinction that can be made that younger respondents and younger enterprises had a more positive perception of brand image than older respondents and enterprises that have been in existence for a longer period of time. This study has added to the limited amount of literature on BSR in the field of SMEs. Through the hypothetical model developed in this study, a significant contribution has been made towards understanding the BSR factors influencing the success of SMEs. As a result, this study presents recommendations and suggestions to assist SME owners/managers who engage in social responsibility to continue to make positive contributions for the welfare of their stakeholders and the community at large and also to encourage SME owners/managers who do not engage in BSR to consider the various benefits that can accrue to their stakeholders and the enterprise itself, as this may ultimately enhance the business performance of their SMEs.
|Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
|South African National ETD Portal
|Thesis, Masters, MCom
|xiv, 173 leaves, pdf
|Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
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