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The strategic implications of black empowerment in South Africa: a case study of boundary choice and client preferences in a small firm


  • Willem H. Boshoff

    () (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)


This paper initiates a research programme on the strategic implications of BEE, through an in-depth case study of a small South African services firm. The case involves a meter-reading firm that has adapted flexible boundaries within the value chain to accommodate heterogeneous client preferences shaped by BEE policy. While the case is very specific, the analysis highlights three core features of BEE policy as a strategic variable. Firstly, the case supports an assertion that BEE policy is a demand-based intervention, altering client preferences regarding the value chain. Secondly, the case confirms that BEE is a market-based policy that may be implemented in a variety of ways by different clients. Thirdly, the case shows that firms do not passively respond to BEE policy but explore strategic responses that balance BEE requirements with other organizational goals.

Suggested Citation

  • Willem H. Boshoff, 2010. "The strategic implications of black empowerment in South Africa: a case study of boundary choice and client preferences in a small firm," Working Papers 07/2010, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers106

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    More about this item


    Boundaries; Vertical integration; Demand-side; Black empowerment;

    JEL classification:

    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility

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