Africa: Ethics and Sustainability Within SMEs in Sub-Saharan Africa: Enabling, Constraining and Contaminating Relationships

  • Mollie Painter-MorlandEmail author
  • Kris Dobie
Part of the The International Society of Business, Economics, and Ethics Book Series book series (ISBEE, volume 2)


In this paper, we explore the role ethics plays in African SMEs. We looked specifically at the role that relationships between SMEs and their stakeholders play in enabling or foreclosing the possibility of ethical business practices. We argue that certain relationships, such as those between SMEs, suppliers, employees and local communities, can be described as enabling. Other relationships, such as those with corrupt governments, are contaminating. What seems to be needed is to expand on and strengthen certain constraining relationships, such as those that exist between peers within a certain industry, professional associations, and civil society.


Ethics SMEs Africa Networks Business relationships 



We would like to acknowledge the research assistance of Ms Hanrie Greebe of the Centre for Business and Professional Ethics in setting up and conducting many of the interviews, and for her language editing, and of Mr Michael Röthel for literature sourcing.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa
  2. 2.Organisational Ethics DevelopmentEthics Institute of South AfricaBrooklyn SquareSouth African

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