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SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF BUSINESS ETHICS AND EMPLOYEE THEFT IN THE SMALL BUSINESS SECTOR OF SOUTH AFRICA

Michael C. Cant, Johannes A. Wiid, Yu-ting Hung

DOI: 10.22495/cocv10i4c2art1

Abstract

Cant and Ligthelm (2003:1) estimate that 70-80% of SMEs fail. One of the challenges that have been identified as contributing to the high failure rate of SMEs in South Africa is employee theft, which constitutes as a ‘crime’. The research study investigates small business owners’ perception of business ethics and employee theft in the small business sector of South Africa. The objective of this paper is to determine the ethical behaviour of business owners, explore the ethical dilemmas that small businesses are facing, establish the concern and impact of theft in the workplace, and the influence of loyalty on the matter. A questionnaire was constructed and random sampling was used to gather the responses of 38 small business owners. The research identified a strong positive linear relationship between the concern for ethical dilemmas/misconduct and employee theft in the workplace. The challenge now is to further the decrease of employee theft in small businesses in South Africa to ensure their success, as they play a vital role in the South African economy.

Keywords: Business Ethics, South African SMEs, Ethical Dilemmas/Misconduct, Workplace Loyalty, Workplace Theft, Employee Theft

How to cite this paper: Cant, M. C., Wiid, J. A., & Hung, Y. (2013). Small business owners’ perceptions of business ethics and employee theft in the small business sector of South Africa. Corporate Ownership & Control, 10(4-2), 237-247. http://doi.org/10.22495/cocv10i4c2art1

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