All Theses, Dissertations, and Capstone Projects

Year of Award



Master of Business Administration (MBA)


College of Business & Professional Studies

Degree Program



Business Administration


Apartheid, Desegregation, Sanctions, General Motors, Racial Discrimination, International Trade


This thesis covers a very sensitive issue, as investment and business in South Africa brings to mind of many Americans images of Apartheid. Tracing the beginning of the Principles, a background of the Reverend Sullivan, a Baptist clergyman is provided. Sullivan Principles are set of equal opportunity guidelines for employers in South Africa intended to help racial equality in South Africa. The issue whether the Sullivan Principles which are been used in South Africa mainly as a front for American firms doing business there to feel more morally secure has been discussed.

This thesis looks at the positive effects of the Sullivan Principles, like the more black employment, desegregation in the workplace, strengthening the training and promotion of black employees and improvement of living conditions, etc.

On the other hand, the principles have accused as being a corporate camouflage for U.S. firms doing business in South Africa. Rev. Sullivan stressed the principles were to eliminate discrimination and open new opportunities to Blacks. Since Companies that do sign the code of principles are rated annually, and this information is provided to the public, businesses leaned heavily on these guidelines to gain public support.

In May 1987, a landmark decision was made by Rev. Sullivan that U.S. firms doing business in South Africa should pull out and this was because he was disappointed by the recent white-only elections. 127 of 200 companies left in South Africa still adhere to the principles and fee strongly that by pulling out will not change conditions in South Africa.

Thus through this thesis, the reader gets a clearer understanding of the environment under which businesses in South Africa have to work and also the moral, ethical, and economic restraints.

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