Contributions of women to family businesses as evidence in the Eastern Cape

Date: September 29, 2014
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Family businesses are operating throughout the world and suggested to be the predominant way of doing business. This is also true in South Africa with its unique challenges and informal sector providing work to many South Africans not able to find work in the formal sector. Women operating in the corporate environment have traditionally encountered challenges in breaking through the glass ceiling in order to be counted as a successful person in her own right. The same scenario seems to be evident in the family Business environment. Women in family business might choose the family business career path as it allows them more flexibility and time to attend to the home and children, but they also face a glass ceiling of another nature and are there other challenges to overcome in order to make their mark in the family business world. This study’s primary objective was to investigate the literature pertaining to women in business and women in family business. Of great importance was to determine what contributions women make in the family business environment allowing them to be successful. In order to answer this question the secondary objectives supported the primary objective of this study and pertained to the difference between men and women in terms of leadership style and execution of their personalities in business. The inherent strengths and weaknesses displayed by both male and females in the family business environment are investigated in order to link this to their management execution. A questionnaire was developed to do an empirical study on respondents as identified in the Nelson Mandela Metropole and greater Eastern Cape. The respondents were from varied industries and was selected and interviewed with the support of the questionnaire structure as guidance. The results were analysed and certain recommendations were made addressing the primary objective. Further recommendations were made relating to future potential research in this area. An important finding of the research is that women as identified in the Eastern Cape environment still have difficulty in reaching the top. This is true for the corporate world as well as the family business environment. The difficulty might be based in the traditional roles women assume, but in many cases it was found that women are responsible for their downfall or stagnation in the family business environment as women are satisfied to remain in the shadows and do not command their own space and right of existence. Recommendations were made based on the advice of some of the female respondents which can assist in women stepping up to the role they should take up. Some of the advice given can be used as a best practice in future research of this nature.

Publisher: Nelson Mandela Meropolitan University
Year of Publication: 2012
Download : 19495_leonie_billson.pdf

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