Challenges in implementing corporate social responsibility: A study of SMES in South Africa’s construction industry




challenges, corporate social responsibility (CSR), small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), South African construction industry


To date, very little research has been done on the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR), particularly the practice of CSR within the global and local construction industry. This extends to studies identifying CSR implementation challenges affecting construction organisations. This work attempts to specifically identify CSR implementation challenges affecting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the South African construction industry (SACI). Existing literature was used to provide an overview of the current CSR implementation challenges from both the global construction industry as well as generic business sectors guided by the St. Gallen Management Model. An empirical quantitative research approach study using an online questionnaire survey, with the data analysed using both descriptive (mean, standard deviation, etc.) and inferential (Analysis of Variance ANOVA) statistics was conducted. The findings revealed that SMEs in the SACI are affected by CSR implementation challenges related to a lack of integration in the SME culture and business objectives; Limited financial resources to undertake CSR initiatives; Lack of CSR skills and knowledge, and unstable economic conditions. In addition, novelty in the findings were importantly linked to the fact that although SEs and MEs are categorised differently in terms of their cidb grade and their upper limit of tender value range, the two groups of contractors’ experience similar CSR implementation challenges across four management levels as guided by the St. Gallen Management Model, carefully guiding future research into investigating mitigating factors pertaining to SEs and MEs.


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How to Cite

Wentzel, L. ., Fapohunda, J. . and Haldenwang, R. (2024) “Challenges in implementing corporate social responsibility: A study of SMES in South Africa’s construction industry”, Acta Structilia, 31(1), pp. 159–193. doi: 10.38140/as.v31i1.7826.



Research articles