Providing Southern Perspectives on CSR: Investigating Formal and Informal CSR Practices and the Views of Managers and Workers in SME Garment Companies in South Africa

Søren Jeppesen, Bas Kothuis

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    The article seeks to contribute to the SMEs and CSR literature in developing countries by providing; a) a ‘Southern’ SME perspective, which includes the voices of managers and workers, b) a perspective of CSR, which opens up to informal CSR practices that SMEs undertake, and c) an analysis of the key institutional issues affecting the CSR practices of SMEs. It presents perceptions of CSR practices among 21 SMEs in the garment industry in South Africa, based on 40 interviews with managers and 19 interviews with workers through the use of qualitative and quantitative interview frameworks. It highlights a high degree of similarities between managers and workers, though knowledge of (cognitive level) the concept ‘CSR’ differ considerably. Informal practices are widespread and of key importance to the SMEs, expressed by managers and workers alike. History, industry and manager-workers relations are found to be important factors in explaining the CSR perceptions and level of practices. It is suggested that future research investigate the role of informal practices further and explore the role of institutional theory.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2014
    Number of pages23
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    EventThe 14th International Conference of African Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development. ICAESB 2014: Globalization and Sustainability of SMEs in Emerging Economies - Whitesands Hotel, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, United Republic of
    Duration: 29 May 201430 May 2014
    Conference number: 14


    ConferenceThe 14th International Conference of African Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development. ICAESB 2014
    LocationWhitesands Hotel
    Country/TerritoryTanzania, United Republic of
    CityDar es Salaam
    Internet address


    • SME managers and workers
    • Formal and informal CSR practices
    • Institutional theory
    • Garment industry
    • South Africa

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