The silent tension of racism and its impact on South African SME’s

It is no longer a secret that racism, a silent monster, is quickly bringing down the economy of a government that has overly shown tremendous economic excellence in the African Continent. The South African economy has seen drastic difficulties as a result of constant fluctuation of advances towards implementing the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) policies. Scholars and international business observers contend that this developments can be attributed to the ever-growing management and possession of the nation’s corporate sector by minority whites and political “power-houses” which constitute of powerful individuals. The argument ensues from repeated assumptions and contentions that underlying tensions exist between current (EEC) and Acquired (Nomad) employees at my workplace, affecting the operational efficiencies and effectiveness of the organization. Tangri and Southhall (2008) suggest that ANC leaders fear investment and economic growth that would ensue upon empowerment off black investors by white corporate businessmen. Evidently, the government is engaging in an empowerment process where it cooperates with empowerment targets and co-operate capital to enrich the minority whites and senior ANC individuals. In all this, black and labor business owners have been sidelined to the periphery. Noteworthy is the fact that most Small Enterprise Businesses (SMEs) are owned and managed by the black and labor business persons. In light of the arguments presented herein, this paper seeks to outline and underscore the effects of the silent tension of racism on South African SMEs (Dillon, Back, Manz, 2014). As such, these qualitative study will employ the use of a qualitative research methodology, specifically the ethnography approach, comprehensively exploring and analyzing how the silent racism tension in South Africa has affected the thriving and excellence of the existing and upcoming SMEs.

Using the ethnography approach, data will be collected through observing what employees do and how they relate at various workplaces in South Africa’s small enterprise premises and companies. Furthermore, it will be employed in the analysis of data which will later be analyzed, interpreted and presented accordingly. Data analysis will be conducted to establish the validity, reliability, accuracy and applicability of the data acquired towards achieving the objectives of my study. It will also help answer the research inquest on the impacts of silent racial tension in South Africa to its SME’s efficiency and effectiveness in operations.

Data Analysis Methods

The ethnographic methodology will require a more extensive, comprehensive data analysis approach. This research study will employ the use of structured interviews, unstructured interviews, and semi-structured interviews as well as observation. The data to be analyzed will comprise of interview transcripts, visual materials that will be collected on site, and audio recordings. In some instances, photographs that will be collected by the researcher, visual data movies and filed notes will also be included. Through observation, data analysis will be conducted on ephemera, information archives, and documents and published letters. Analysis will entail critical reviews on how people from two contrasting groups of interest that is whites and blacks behave, operate and resolve conflicts (Silverman, 2016). Qualified and quantified data will also be reworked. Tight coding will be conducted through code abstracts as analytical codes will be embedded in ensuing hypotheses. Indexing will not be used although it is easier to use, because it does not accommodate complex correlations such as flagging, cut-paste and color coding. Internal will also be revisited, construct and external validity. Lastly, triangulation of data will be conducted, although this may not be directly associated with a lack of rigor. However, it will entail one or two return trips to the field on a fact-finding mission which will then be followed by cross-checking to avoid any errors and inaccuracies.

Practicability and Merits of conducting data analysis/Interpretation

It is crucial to conduct data analysis in a research study to aid the acquisition of crucial, reliable and valuable information as ethnography may not provide 100% accuracy of results. This is because, in some instances the researcher may be biased to influence the results to pre-meditated or desired findings. Some information may also be outdated depending on the subject providing the answers (Hammersley, 2016). Furthermore, it will help the researcher establish if a relationship exists between the variables, predicting outcomes. Finally, analysis enables the researcher to describe and recapitulate huge amounts of data into lesser, understandable information.


            This study, which entails exploring and determining how the silent racial tension in South Africa is impacting its SME sector requires the use of ethnographic research methodology. Analysis of the acquired data will be employed as it is simpler and un-problematic to comprehend. The data collected will then be analyzed for internal, external and construct validity through triangulation, coding, reworking of quantified and qualified data as well as coding.






Dillon, P. J., Back, R. M., & Manz, C. C. (2014). Authentic corporate social responsibility based on authentic empowerment: An exemplary business leadership case. The Journal of Values-Based Leadership7(1), 7.

Hammersley, M. (2016). Reading ethnographic research. Routledge.

Silverman, D. (Ed.). (2016). Qualitative research. Sage.

Tangri, R., & Southall, R. (2008). The Politics of Black Economic Empowerment in South Africa. Journal of Southern African Studies, 34(3), 699-716.





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