Relevance of management consulting services offered to small businesses in South Africa.

Scorgie, Jerard Raphael.
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ABSTRACT Small businesses within South Africa play a vital role in the economy and contribute positively towards employment and economic growth. To the extent that he government had identified this sector as one of the vehicles to drive accelerated economic growth. However, this objective is not being met as a result of the high small business failure. Comparatively, South Africa has some of the highest small business failure rates in the world. Outside support and help in the form of management consulting services are available to help small business owners/managers to deal with their business challenges, but statistics show that utilisation of these services are low. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the alignment of management consulting services offered by management consulting firms and the services needed by small businesses to address their business challenges leading to the high rates of failure. A qualitative approach was adopted to gather data through a semi-structured interview process. Purposive sampling was used to select the sample population which comprised of management consultants and small business owners/manager. Interviews were transcribed and coded into themes for the purpose of interpreting the findings. The study identified the core management consulting services offered and the key endogenous and exogenous challenges facing small businesses. The small business challenges were interpreted into service needs that could be fulfilled by management consultants. A comparison of the results showed that to a large extent there exists alignment between the management consulting services offered and needed by small business. Although the findings show that the management consulting services are relevant for small businesses, there exist many constraints and hindrances that will continue to influence the low utilisation of management consulting services by small businesses. Of these constraints exists the reality that most management consulting firms don’t target the small business sector, in addition, most small business owners/manager tend to view management consultants and their value add negatively. Fundamental reforms are required from both of these stakeholder groups to reach a common ground that could potentially address the issue of low utilisation of consulting services in the context of small business in South Africa.
MBA 2014
Business consultants,Small business.