Ethical Perceptions of Managers: A Preliminary Study of Small and Medium Enterprises in Botswana
Dr. Percy M. D. PHATSHWANE
Ethical views of managers have continued to be of interest to business practitioners and researchers. However, given that historical context of many of these ethical transgressions have been reported amongst large local and international corporations, researchers have focussed their studies on larger organizations. The importance of smaller organizations, more specifically Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the economic and social development of businesses in emerging and growing economies is greater. Researchers in developing countries have been challenged to undertake study of the ethical sensitivity of small business managers. The extant literature suggests that managers in small businesses are able to influence the ethical climate in the organization to a greater extent than those in larger organizations. The current study investigates the ethical views of small business managers in Botswana and compares these to the views held by a comparison group of key personnel in their organizations. Given that the prior research found that managers in small businesses have a high degree of ethical sensitivity when compared to managers in larger corporations and the public, the study hypothesized that managers of SMEs will be more ethically sensitive key personnel in their organizations. A questionnaire was administered on both groups, and the results were statically tested for differences. The study determined that there were no significant differences between the two groups for most of the questions that queried respondents using a set of ethical value statement. The study also determined that respondents felt that there were increased incidences of unethical practices in the country, especially those that involved bribery. The paper concludes by making recommendations for national, industry-focussed studies within SMEs.
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