Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences ]]> vol. 23 num. 1 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Household access to agricultural credit and agricultural production in Nigeria: A propensity score matching model</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Agricultural production is low in Nigeria as a result of low utilisation of farm inputs facilitated by farmers' inability to save and invest. Therefore, credit is needed by farmers to enhance their productive capacity and efficiency in agriculture AIM: Given the importance of credit to farmers, this study examined the nexus between households' access to credit and agricultural production in Nigeria SETTING: The study made use of data from the Living Standard Measurement Study-Integrated Survey on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA) consisting of 4210 households across the 36 states in Nigeria, as well as the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja METHODS: The study employs the propensity score matching (PSM) technique RESULTS: The main result from the study suggests that households who had access to agricultural credit facilities had yields that are thrice those of their counterparts who did not benefit from such facilities. In the event of a shock, the farmers who did not have a source of credit are often forced to adopt measures such as lowering consumption and selling assets, which in the long run worsen their poverty levels CONCLUSION: The study recommends that policymakers should address underlying factors that prevent access to credit for agricultural production, which is capable of raising the productive capacities of farmers <![CDATA[<b>Influence of a shop floor management system on labour productivity in an automotive parts manufacturing organisation in South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: South Africa's labour productivity at the shop floor remains an issue of central concern for business. It plays a role in the life of every person and the performance of every business, thus requiring the business to solve problems at the shop floor level. This sentiment underpins the concept of a shop floor management (SFM) system. An SFM system refers to the extent of control exercised at the shop floor level for commitment and involvement of shop floor employees aimed at improving productivity. It is a process that facilitates employee engagement. AIM: This study examines the influence of an SFM system for productivity improvement in automotive parts manufacturing companies in South Africa. Productivity in the South African's manufacturing sector is low compared to its counterpart industries in the Asian and Western countries. This sector experiences the lack in short to medium term growth in productivity. SETTING: The automotive parts manufacturing company that has adopted an SFM strategy for productivity improvement participated in the study. METHODS: The study objectives were achieved by examining the production and related experiences in the company. The collection of data was carried out in two phases. This includes the collection of results pre and post-SFM implementation from company records for spoilage, absenteeism and housekeeping rates. The pre-SFM results were quarterly data reflecting the company's performance over the three-year period prior to the implementation of the SFM. This company operates in the eThekwini District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal RESULTS: The study established that housekeeping and SFM have no relation to labour productivity. However, it revealed the relationship of both absenteeism and spoilage rates with labour productivity. CONCLUSION: SFM is an employee engagement process that creates a working environment that encourage worker participation and commitment. CONTRIBUTION: The original value of this paper is its approach in uncovering strengths and weaknesses of SFM for productivity in South Africa. <![CDATA[<b>Macroeconomic implications of uncertainty in South Africa</b>]]> AIM: This article explores the extent to which economic policy uncertainty (EPU) influences selected macroeconomic variables in South Africa (SA). METHODS: To this end, I construct a constant parameter vector autoregressive (VAR) model and a time-varying parameter (TVP) VAR model, where the latter model evaluates if the impact of uncertainty on the macroeconomic variables has changed over time SETTING: The models are estimated using quarterly South African data over the period 1990 to 2015, which include industrial production growth, consumer price inflation, 10-year government bond yield, real effective exchange rate, and economic policy uncertainty. Cholesky ordering of the variables are imposed to recover the orthogonal shocks. RESULTS: The results of the constant parameter VAR model suggest that an unanticipated positive shock to the uncertainty index results in a decline in industrial production and real effective exchange rate, while fostering an increase in the general price level and 10-year government bond yield. Time-varying impulse responses show that the impact of uncertainty shocks on the selected macroeconomic variables has declined systematically over time. This is perhaps intuitive as the new unanticipated information is gradually picked up by media over time and incorporated into rational agents' decision-making. CONCLUSION: The transmission of a positive uncertainty shock to the real economy has time-varying implications. <![CDATA[<b>Identifying regional trade potential between selected countries in the African tripartite free trade area</b>]]> BACKGROUND: One of the most compelling arguments for regional trade and integration in Africa is that the African market is the most fragmented in the world, with only 16% of trade being within the continent. Furthermore, with 14 regional economic communities (RECs), the scale of integrated trading compared to the magnitude of trade is cause for concern. Africa could soon witness an important milestone on its path towards increased regional trade and improved integration with the implementation of the Tripartite Free Trade Agreement (TFTA) involving 26 countries. However, addressing overlapping memberships of the RECs and streamlining regulations, customs and border procedures can be a lengthy process AIM: In the meantime, this study aims to identify specific intra-regional trade opportunities among African countries to inform a more targeted approach to regional trade METHODS: This article uses a unique approach based on the Decision Support Model (DSM) to identify intra-regional trade opportunities between the TFTA countries, taking into account each country's import demand and export supply RESULTS: We determined 334 such opportunities among the 26 countries, of which 232 (almost 70%) are newly recognised as not being exploited CONCLUSION: This economic potential calls for policymakers to take a more proactive approach in their actions and recommendations by targeting these trade opportunities <![CDATA[<b>A systematic literature review of the implementation and evaluation of the JOBS programme: A suggested framework for South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: South Africa is challenged with high levels of unemployment, comprising many people with low levels of education and also individuals who have never held a job before. Despite having many vulnerable participants, interventions aimed at the unemployed generally exclude psychosocial training and are methodologically weak. AIM: The JOBS programme, a scientifically sound intervention, has been developed specifically to help people affected by unemployment to cope with the psychological effects. As a means of applying such a programme in South Africa, this study aimed to develop a framework based on the insights gained on the implementation and evaluation of the JOBS programme. METHODS: The study comprised a systematic review of literature regarding the JOBS intervention and its derivatives (n = 34). RESULTS: The results revealed that populations similar to the unemployed in South Africa had benefitted significantly regarding re-employment and mental health outcomes. CONCLUSION: Suggestions derived from the literature included aiming the programme at the most vulnerable unemployed in South Africa: the youth and long-term unemployed. Furthermore, expanding the programme by adding an entrepreneurial component may yield positive results, considering the lack of employment opportunities in South Africa. <![CDATA[<b>Dimensions and indicators of non-profit financial condition: Evidence from South African public universities</b>]]> BACKGROUND: More than three decades of research have failed to achieve convergence on a method for the measurement of non-profit financial condition, with the literature reporting a bewildering array of financial dimensions, and more than 100 ratios and indicators AIM: This article offers a contribution to a broader discourse in non-profit financial analysis by recognising, and taking action in response to, the potential threat to research validity arising from the generally unchallenged presumption that accounting numbers provide a complete, unbiased and error-free representation of an entity's underlying economic reality. SETTING: The 23 South African public universities in continuous existence for the 10 financial years from 01 January 2007 to 31 December 2016. METHODS: From the non-profit financial analysis literature, three foundational models are identified, and 24 associated ratios are specified as candidate indicators of financial condition. These are calculated for each university from accounting numbers which have been adjusted in mitigation of inadequacies of the financial reporting rules. Principal component analysis is applied to evaluate the indicators, and eliminate those which lack significant association with the emergent dimensionality of financial condition. RESULTS: The financial condition of South African public universities is positively associated with liquid discretionary financial assets, which are interpreted as representative of financial resilience and defensive capacity in the presence of economic shock. Unrestricted equity has incremental relevance, suggesting that the universities derive financial benefits from a capital structure in which assets are funded through sources that are burdened with neither debt obligations nor donor restrictions. CONCLUSION: This research appears to be among the first to propose a dimensionality for non-profit financial condition that is developed on a foundation of responding to the need for mitigation of inadequacies in the financial reporting system. <![CDATA[<b>The influence of employee engagement on labour productivity in an automotive assembly organisation in South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Productivity of the South African work force remains an issue of central concern for business. It plays an important role in the life of every person and the performance of every business. Creating a working environment that encourages worker participation is one way to create the kind of workplace that attracts motivated work teams for productivity improvement. This sentiment underpins the concept of employee engagement. Employee engagement is the level of commitment and involvement an employee has towards their organisation and its values. AIM: This study examines the influence of employee engagement on labour productivity improvement in the automotive assembly organisations in South Africa. SETTINGS: The study objectives were achieved by examining the production and related experiences of an automotive assembly organisation that has adopted an employee engagement strategy for labour productivity improvement. The company operates in the eThekwini District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal. It assessed if employee engagement is responsible for company's labour productivity. METHOD: The investigation was achieved by collecting quarterly data on absenteeism, employee participation in quality circles and labour productivity before and after the implementation of the strategy. RESULTS: Employee engagement does not have the ability to improve labour productivity in an automotive assembly organisation in South Africa. However, absenteeism rate has an influence on labour productivity resulting from the implementation of employee engagement CONCLUSION: South African organisations should revise their performance management systems and develop employee engagement strategies that help achieve new business goals. Consequently, this study uncovers the strengths and weaknesses of employee engagement for labour productivity improvement in South Africa. <![CDATA[<b>How does bribery affect the wage performance of formal firms? Instrumental variables and matching evidence from Nigeria</b>]]> BACKGROUND: There is an ongoing debate about the effects of bribery on economic performance, where strong arguments are made on the opposing sides. This article investigates the relationship between bribery and the level of workers' wages. The study is a variant of investigations into firms' compression of wages to pay for staff management mutually beneficial business practices. AIM: The aim of this study is to estimate the impact of bribery on the wage performance of formal firms. SETTING: The empirical assessment uses a unique firm-level data set comprising 1141 Nigerian manufacturing firms, some of whom paid bribes to corrupt bureaucrats. METHODS: The study utilised a standard ordinary least-squares estimation technique. To address the potential endogeneity and measurement error bias arising from bribery, we used industry-location average bribe rate as instrument. RESULTS: We find a significant negative effect of bribery on wages to the extent that a one percentage point increase in the rate of bribery reduces the level of wages paid to the workers by about 230 000 naira per worker per annum. A robustness check using the counterfactual evaluation framework of propensity score matching, supports the ordinary least-squares estimation. CONCLUSION: This study lends support to the firm level-based hypothesis that bribery has a detrimental long-term effect on firm performance. In particular, that employers using their monopsony power shift the burden of bribery to the workers through compressing wages. In addition, our results justify the enormous attention of the international community in combating bribery and corruption in Nigeria and other developing countries. <![CDATA[<b>Modelling asymmetric relationship between exports and growth in a developing economy: Evidence from Namibia</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Namibia is an open economy where international trade accounts for a greater proportion of gross domestic product (GDP). Openness of the Namibian economy for the period 2010 to 2018 has been on average 111% of GDP. The high level of openness of the economy raised an important question on the relationship between export and economic growth in Namibia. Previous studies investigated the linear relationship between these two variables. The investigation was also done at an aggregate level. This raises important questions on whether the relationship between export and economic growth is asymmetric. It also raises an important question on whether this relationship is sector specific. AIM: In order to fill the gap in previous research, this study investigates the asymmetric or non-linear relationship between the main export sectors and economic growth in Namibia. A non-linear relationship between the two variables will indicate that negative and positive values of the explanatory variables have different effects on the dependent variable. This analysis is done for the main export sectors of the Namibian economy in order to ensure the policy recommendations are sector specific. SETTING: Standard economic theoretical models on the relationship between export and economic growth are used to test the non-linear relationship between the two variables. The study covers the period 2010-2018 and focuses on the three main export sectors (diamonds, manufactured food and live animal products) and growth of the Namibian economy. METHODS: This study uses non-linear autoregressive distributive lag in order to estimate the asymmetric relationship between the main export sectors and economic growth of Namibia. The estimation is done for the three main exporters of the Namibian economy RESULTS: The results indicate that there is a symmetric relationship between main export sectors and economic growth of the Namibian economy. The results show that an increase (positive values) in export of the three main export products will cause economic growth to improve. Negative values (decrease in export) will cause economic growth to deteriorate. CONCLUSION: The results suggest that estimating the non-linear relationship for different sectors of the economy (instead of estimating the relationship at aggregate level for total exports) will ensure that economic policies are sector-specific. The results further suggest that when exports are declining, expansionary policies will be the appropriate responses. <![CDATA[<b>Auditor independence and professional scepticism in South Africa: Is regulatory reform needed?</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Quality financial reporting, which requires high quality auditing outcomes, aids the smooth functioning of capital markets. SETTING: The South African audit regulator argues that the key auditor attributes of independence and scepticism are dangerously compromised in South Africa, resulting in impaired audit quality. The regulator responded in June 2017 with the issuance of mandatory audit firm rotation (MAFR) regulations, effective April 2023. This ruling has caused considerable debate and opposing views in the audit industry. AIM: This study explores the state of auditor independence and the degree to which professional scepticism is being exercised by South African auditors of exchange-listed companies through an analysis of the perceptions of experienced key stakeholders. The findings contribute to the rationale behind the regulator's argument for the necessity and efficacy of MAFR. METHOD: The study uses a survey methodology across four key stakeholder groups experienced in matters concerning the audit process, auditor appointment and reliance on the audit outcome on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange RESULTS: Respondents do not believe that auditor independence and professional scepticism are impaired, nor that existing regulations and codes of practice need amendment. In addition, audit failures and corporate financial scandals are not believed to be a result of compromised auditor independence and professional scepticism, nor do longer audit firm tenures impair independence and professional scepticism. CONCLUSION: These perceptions provide evidence against the rationale for MAFR adoption and indicate that it may not be necessary or effective. The study contributes to the South African audit profession in its objective to maintain audit quality. As such, it is relevant to regulators, standard-setters and stakeholders in South African capital markets. <![CDATA[<b>The limits of laws: Traffic law enforcement in South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The aim of many public policies is to change behaviour. Governments tend to rely on regulations, taxes and subsidies to effect such change. These measures, which affect agents' economic incentives, have a mixed record. A key insight of the New Institutional Economics is that the efficacy of such formal institutions depends on the strength of their enforcement and the extent to which they are compatible with prevailing informal institutions. AIM: This article uses the road safety situation in South Africa as a case study to explore aspects of the relationships among formal institutions, law enforcement and informal institutions. SETTING: South Africa has a strong suite of road safety laws but poor road safety outcomes. METHODS: The article draws on ideas about the relationships between formal institutions, law enforcement and informal institutions to undertake a case study of the road safety situation in South Africa. RESULTS: The article argues that improved law enforcement cannot fully solve the problem; complementary changes to the informal institutions shaping the behaviour of road users are essential. CONCLUSION: Institutional economists have to take a greater interest in the insights of research in behavioural economics, behavioural and cognitive science and other disciplines in order to provide useful advice in settings where such change is an important policy objective. <![CDATA[<b>Trust in business alliances between traditional companies and previously disadvantaged institutions: A barometer for black economic empowerment</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Despite the positive role of trust as a complex 'glue' that keeps the parties of an alliance together, it is unclear how trust dynamics may play out among black and white business partners and what such trust experiences may mean for black economic empowerment in South Africa. AIM: The study reflects on the prospects for black economic empowerment by exploring trust experiences of managers involved in business alliances between traditional companies and previously disadvantaged institutions. SETTING: The study focused on managers involved in these alliances in the province of Gauteng in South Africa. METHODS: Twenty-five managers from mainstream companies (n = 7) and emerging companies (n = 18) were selected through purposive sampling. Q-sorting was applied to trust-related items, with follow-up interviews. Principal component factor analysis was used to analyse the Q-sorted data to reveal the managers' clustered perceptions about trust in business alliances. Interview data were thematically analysed to place the findings from the factor structure analysis in context. FINDINGS: The managers shared six nuanced conceptions of trust. Generally, the prospects for black economic empowerment appear greater in the groups characterised by integrity, revealing the centrality of honesty in these alliances. CONCLUSION: Exploring trust in black and white business alliances may help to disentangle the phenomenon of black economic empowerment in South Africa. In a way, managers' perceptions of trust may be used as a barometer for the functioning of these alliances because trust affects managerial behaviour and, ultimately, whether or not such alliances enhance the prospects for black economic empowerment. The study also offers new ways of thinking about and new ways of advancing theory and practice regarding black economic empowerment. <![CDATA[<b>The relationship between hope and optimism, ethical leadership and person-organisation fit</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Ethical leadership is viewed as a challenge globally, with person-organisation fit, as well as hope and optimism, being regarded as an essential element of employee well-being and, ultimately, productivity. AIM: The aim of this study is to examine the relationship between the employees' perceived ethical leadership in the organisation and the employees' person-organisation fit, hope and optimism. SETTING: Employees of 30 organisations in South Africa were sampled and there were 1663 respondents. METHODS: A typical positivist methodology - based on an empirical approach, using a cross-sectional design and the quantitative analysis of the data obtained from the surveys - was utilised in this study. RESULTS: It was found that there is a strong, positive relationship between ethical leadership and hope and optimism (as a composite construct). It was further found that person-organisation fit mediates this relationship. CONCLUSION: Recommendations were made to enhance hope and optimism from an institutional (including human resources) as well as leadership level. Recommendations were also made for further research. <![CDATA[<b>A play-at-work intervention: What are the benefits?</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Organisations are investing time and resources in implementing play at work. However, the possible effect of play at work as an organisational intervention is largely unknown. AIM: This study aimed to determine the effect of a play-at-work intervention on psychological detachment, work enjoyment, employee performance, and workplace boredom of work teams. SETTING: The sample consisted of 26 telemarketing employees in the Northwest Province, South Africa. METHODS: A longitudinal, three-wave intervention study design was followed. The sample consisted of two work teams from a telesales company divided into the experimental group (n = 9) and the control group (n = 17). A play-atwork intervention consisting of different single-player and multi-player games was developed. Surveys were used to collect data prior to introducing the intervention, after one week of play, and again after the second week of the intervention. RESULTS: The results indicated that the play-at-work intervention positively influenced employees' psychological detachment during their lunch break. Team performance also increased when the play-at-work intervention was introduced. CONCLUSION: Employees who participates in play during their breaks will be more likely to psychologically detach compared to other employees. Also, organisations who implement play will have higher team performance compared to others. <![CDATA[<b>Corporate political activity as part of enterprise strategy in South African agribusinesses</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The South African agricultural sector is facing regulatory uncertainty relating to land reform and distribution, restrictive labour policies and minimum wages. Corporate agribusinesses play an important role in the agricultural industry. Increasing political influence on their activities manifested in the lack of government support, and the uncertainty surrounding public policy threatens investment and growth in the sector. This calls for an intelligent integrated enterprise strategy that includes corporate political activity (CPA) SETTING: Four South African agribusinesses and two agricultural associations. AIM: The purpose is to explore the CPA adopted by corporate agribusinesses and agricultural associations in terms of enterprise strategy during times of regulatory uncertainty. METHOD: Qualitative data were collected through semi-structured interviews. A questionnaire, consisting of sections focused on regulatory uncertainty, responses to regulatory uncertainty and strategy, was completed during the interviews. RESULTS: The participants experience significant regulatory uncertainty. There is a clear distinction between the strategic approach to CPA followed by corporate agribusinesses and agricultural associations. The parties surveyed pursue a combination of CPA strategies. A desire for greater cooperation and shared prosperity with government is evident, supported by a strong sense of conducting business ethically, traced across the results. CONCLUSION: This article addresses the role that CPA plays in an integrated enterprise strategy - especially in times of regulatory uncertainty - such as the agricultural industry in South Africa is experiencing. It not only reports on the CPA approach of both corporate agribusiness and agricultural associations, but also describes the strategies agribusinesses follow during times of uncertainty. <![CDATA[<b>Challenging the accounting for goodwill in the context of a business combination</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The accounting for goodwill under the International Financial Reporting Standard 3 has become generally accepted as a basis for providing useful information to users of financial statements. However, the International Accounting Standards Board has conducted a review of the International Financial Reporting Standard 3, the focus of which is on the revision of the accounting for goodwill. AIM: This article adds to the discussion on the accounting for goodwill by examining its characteristics and considering how these can be used to inform changes to its recognition and measurement. SETTING: The principles of neoliberalism and stewardship, widely regarded as key drivers of developments in financial reporting, are used to frame the accounting for goodwill. METHOD: The research method makes use of correspondence analysis which is a method used to explain complex relationships in a simple diagrammatic manner. In the case of this article, the correspondence analysis is used to show how characteristics of goodwill interact with principles of neoliberalism and stewardship to reveal different perspectives on the accounting for goodwill. The sample selected was 55 chartered accountants, chartered financial analysts and business owners. The chartered accountants are in practice and academia. The reason for this is to give both an academic and practical perspective on the appropriateness of the accounting for goodwill. The reason for the inclusion of the financial analysts and business owners was to enrich the opinions received RESULTS: The research finds that the accounting for goodwill needs revision. CONCLUSION: A hybrid accounting model is revealed that proposes that goodwill be recognised as an asset in its own right (neoliberalism) and that it be amortised and the recognition of the effect of inefficient negotiation of the purchase price be recognised in profit or loss (stewardship). <![CDATA[<b>Trust and perceptions of compliance, fairness and good faith in primary labour relationships</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Primary labour relationships (PLRs) occur within supervisory relationships. Previous studies confirmed that compliance, fairness, good faith and trust were interrelated facilitators of positive perceptions of primary labour relationship quality. Many researchers regard trust as a primary requirement for effective implementation of formal and psychological employment contracts. AIM: This study investigated the nature and direction of relationships between subordinate employee perceptions of the levels of compliance, fairness and good faith in PLRs and levels of trust in PLRs. SETTING: Two interviewers adopted snowball sampling approaches to conduct structured interviews with 68 subordinate employees residing in Gauteng, South Africa. METHODS: The researcher adopted a mixed-method research methodology that included a thorough literature review, development of a structured interview, interviewing 68 voluntary participants and statistical analysis of data. RESULTS: Confident conclusions were drawn and discussed, and related limitations were explained. Specific recommendations for further research into the relationships and dynamics of trust-related phenomena in PLRs were made. CONCLUSION: It was confidently concluded that literature and empirical findings, jointly and separately, provided ample evidence of positive relationships between subordinate employee perceptions of the levels of trust and their perceptions of the levels of compliance, fairness and good faith in PLRs. Accordingly, it can be confidently expected that lower levels of trust will be related to lower levels of perceived compliance, fairness and good faith in PLRs, and higher levels of trust will be related to higher levels of perceived compliance, fairness and good faith in PLRs. Causality was not investigated in this study.