Exploring the environmental causes of stress and coping mechanisms amongst township entrepreneurs: the case of Tembisa.
Mpangane, Thulani Ceryl.
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The significance and impact of township enterprises has proven to be undeniable both on a global scale and on a local scale. However, very little research has been conducted regarding the psycho-social background of the township entrepreneurs. This is because most research has chosen to place primary focus on the urban and formalized enterprises. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to explore the socio-cultural experiences of township entrepreneurs, the environmental factors that cause stress among entrepreneurs, as well as the adaptive and maladaptive coping mechanisms implemented by township entrepreneurs when they are confronted with stress. The study was conducted among entrepreneurs located in Tembisa South, Ivory Park, and Hospital View. The theoretical framework which guided the study is the transactional model of stress and coping theory. The study was conducted using a sample of 20 township entrepreneurs using a semi-structured interview schedule. The findings of the study indicate that there is a difference regarding the causes of stress among South African entrepreneurs when compared to foreign township entrepreneurs. The causes of stress among foreign entrepreneurs included factors such as xenophobia, being disliked by community members, business restrictions caused by the fact that they do not have legal citizenship, as well as police harassment and bribery owing to lack of South African citizenship. In contrast, the causes of stress among South African township entrepreneurs included factors such as delayed grant payments by South African Social Security Agency(SASSA), high interest rates on loans, as well as the high influx of Somali national’s businesses which results in increased competition. The common causes of stress among South African township entrepreneurs and foreign township entrepreneurs included factors such as poor access to finance; customer dynamics; management of stock; lack of equipment and infrastructure; role overload;work-life balance;high levels of competition; employee challenges;crime;violence and drug abuse;having insufficient operating space, as well as various other factors which have been highlighted in the study. The study also highlighted the various coping mechanisms used by entrepreneurs in order to deal with stress, these include emotion based coping strategies, problem-based coping strategies, maladaptive coping strategies as well as spiritual forms of coping. The study also explored some of the recommendations made by the township entrepreneurs to other entrepreneurs and township economy stakeholders. In addition, based on the findings of the current study, recommendations were made to government and other relevant stakeholders that are involved in the agenda to uplift and develop the township economy. The study also explored some of the recommendations made by the township entrepreneurs to other entrepreneurs and township economy stakeholders. In addition, based on the findings of the current study, recommendations were made to government and other relevant stakeholders that are involved in the agenda to uplift and develop the township economy.