Women Entrepreneurs A Cross-Cultural Study of the Impact of the Commitment Competency on the Success of Female-Owned SMMEs in South Africa

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There are substantial theories and case studies linking culture and the development of entrepreneurial competencies. The commitment competency domain and its link to business success has also been identified in previous studies by various researchers. In a recent cross-cultural study of South African female entrepreneurs conducted by the researcher, the importance of commitment was highlighted by more than half of the participants. This paper reviews and reports the cultural differences in the development and application of the commitment competency among female entrepreneurs of the four government identified racial groups in South Africa (Black, White, Asian and Colored). A qualitative approach is utilized comprising semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions. The core of the interviews was a list of behaviors identified under the commitment competency domain from previous theoretical and empirical studies. Entrepreneurs were asked open-ended questions for exploratory purposes. Samples were drawn from female SMMEs operators in different cultures in South Africa. The data was analyzed qualitatively using thematic content analysis. Whilst all participants from the four government identified racial groups agreed that the commitment competency is important for business success, only participants from one of the racial groups considered it vital to business success.

Arguably, the commitment competency is valued more highly by female entrepreneurs in this racial group (White) than participants from the other groups. The data also revealed that some female entrepreneurs could be regarded as “serial entrepreneurs”, giving up entrepreneurship and taking up paid employment when they encountered difficulties, only to return to entrepreneurship again and again. Inferences can also be made from the findings on the “inability” of South African female SMMEs operators to sustain their businesses.This study is the first to offer a comprehensive analysis of the cultural differences in the development and application of the commitment competency of South African female entrepreneurs. By identifying these cultural differences, the research provides a basis for an agenda for focus on training and development of female entrepreneurs in South Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-83
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Sciences: Basic and Applied Research (IJSBAR)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2016


Bibliographical note

Open Access licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License


  • Business success
  • Commitment
  • Culture
  • Entrepreneurial competencies
  • Female entrepreneurs

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