Developing Competitive Advantage through Ethical and SR Practices: The Case of SME in Australia and Malaysia

  •  Noor Ahmad    
  •  Pi-shen Seet    


This study contributes to existing research by exploring the prevailing attitudes towards ethics and socially responsible considerations among Australian and Malaysian SME owners. Based on interviews conducted with 20 entrepreneurs from Australia and Malaysia who operated in the manufacturing and service sectors, a content analysis of the data revealed three clusters of ethical behaviours: (1) concern for ethical practices; (2) maintenance of honesty and integrity; and (3) taking responsibility and being accountable. The socially responsible behaviours that the respondents perceived to be important were grouped in four clusters: (1) responsibility towards society; (2) responsibility towards staff; (3) responsibility towards customers; and (4) responsibility towards entrepreneurship. The results showed that both Australian and Malaysian business owners considered and exercised ethical and socially responsible practices in their businesses. The study concludes by proposing a framework for empirically testing the links that ethical and social responsibility practices have with a firm’s competitive advantage.

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