Jude Dunkwu


The importance of corporate governance in SMEs is a result of SMEs being the backbone of a nation’s economy. Approximately 99 per cent of all the businesses in developed Western economies are so classified. Instructively, based on findings reported in existing literature relating to the UK, half of SMEs fail in their first five years, hence the context relevance of corporate sustainability. Consequently, this research seeks to determine how corporate governance impacts on SMEs’ sustainability as well as how owners and managers of SMEs relate to these concepts. A significant aspect of this study is the very limited availability of literature directly linking corporate governance in SMEs to the concept of corporate sustainability. The limited existing literature make the issue of an appropriate methodological framework an imperative, hence the choice of grounded theory. It entails systematically deriving a theory directly from data. Data were collected from SME owners and managers by means of survey questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions as well as maintenance of a journal. Several levels of coding were carried out and analysed, some with the aid of SPSS and NVivo. In addition, the constructivist grounded theory traditions were employed in order to ensure that the process was sufficiently robust. Among other findings, this study carried out in London, UK, found that a significant number of participants were of the view that corporate governance was not a priority for their businesses. Its conclusions were that the size of SMEs influenced their governance, and that their owners and managers had limited understanding of corporate governance. In addition, the study found that sustainability was a fundamental goal of SMEs. It also found that the relationship between corporate governance and sustainability was not apparent to SMEs. An understanding of this relationship could have motivated SMEs in this study to enhance the practice of these principles.

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