Mapping the social responsibility of small business as discourse and practice: an investigation of African and Caribbean microbusinesses in London and Nottingham, UK

Udueni, Igho Anthony (2011) Mapping the social responsibility of small business as discourse and practice: an investigation of African and Caribbean microbusinesses in London and Nottingham, UK. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

Increasing globalisation, neoliberal policies and migration inflows have in the last few decades transformed the United Kingdom into a largely cosmopolitan nation with a varied and growing population of ethnic minority owned and/or managed businesses. There is however very little knowledge of how the imperatives of social responsibility resonate within this ever expanding cluster of ethnic minority businesses.

This study investigates how the concept of social responsibility (SR) is understood and practiced by African and Caribbean small business owner/managers in the UK cities of London and Nottingham. The social, business and institutional networks of owner/managers are examined in order to understand the embeddedness of their understanding and practice of social responsibility in particular places and spaces. The research also investigates the motivations underlining owner/managers' interpretations, attitudes and involvement in socially responsible practices and activities and identifies different styles of behaviour common within the African and Caribbean small business community. The research adopted an interpretive qualitative methodology to the empirical investigation. It combined semi-structured interview data from African and Caribbean small business owner/managers and key informants in the local small business community, together with participant observation data from case studies of a sample of small businesses, to examine the issue of social responsibility in the two study areas. The key findings of the study include: that African and Caribbean owner/managers of small businesses were oblivious of the terminology of corporate social responsibility and that their interpretation and practice of social responsibility was in many ways incongruent with normative notions of "Corporate Social Responsibility"; that the concept of social responsibility is generally interpreted as a moral imperative to contribute to the welfare of stakeholders and others in society, but in some cases, also understood as a responsibility exclusively owed to co-ethnics; that social responsibility as practiced by African and Caribbean owner/managers was generally inconspicuous, informal and motivated by their idiosyncratic predispositions towards cultural, moral and/or religious traditions; that while the embeddedness of SR practice in co-ethnic business and social networks predominates, nonetheless, second generation African and Caribbean small business owner/managers were more likely to locate their SR activities and practices within mainstream networks and communities; and that the different styles of BSR behaviour of African and Caribbean small business owner/managers can be understood as "insular", "clannish" and "eclectic", On the basis of these findings it was concluded that the SR attitude and behaviour of African and Caribbean small business owner/managers were influenced and shaped by their ethno-cultural and religious beliefs, as well as their embeddedness in social and institutional networks across space and time.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: French, S.
Seymour, S.M.
Keywords: social responsibility, SMEs, African small businesses, Caribbean small businesses, minority business enterprises
Subjects: H Social sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Geography
Item ID: 28385
Depositing User: Hatton, Mrs Kirsty
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2015 10:47
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2016 20:07
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/28385

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