Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences ]]> vol. 15 num. 1 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Knowledge work difficulty factors</b>: <b>an empirical study based on different groups of knowledge workers</b>]]> The determination of the difficulty factor in knowledge work can be important for improving the performance of knowledge workers. In this article a regression model for investigating the difficulty of knowledge based activities (KBAs) is proposed. Four factors are considered in the model: Uncertainty, Variability of information, Amount of information and Level of skill and expertise. An empirical study based on 119 jobs from three different groups of knowledge workers (i.e. managerial, professional and clerical) shows that there are significant differences between the difficulty of the KBAs in managerial, clerical and professional jobs, and that managerial KBAs are more difficult than the KBAs of the other two groups. Furthermore, regression models indicate that Level of skill and expertise is the most influential factor in the difficulty of the KBAs in each of the three groups. <![CDATA[<b>Psychological capital, a requisite for organisational performance in South Africa</b>]]> Scholars argue that to address the social, economic and political challenges facing South Africa since 1994, organisational managers/leaders should adopt a positive approach, based on sound organisational behaviour. This study administered the Psychological Capital Questionnaire (PCQ) to determine whether human resources practitioners (N=131) as custodians of change and positive behaviour in organisations in South Africa embrace core elements of Positive Organisational Behaviour (POB). Exploratory factor analysis resulted in a three-factor model for the PCQ, renamed the Potential South African PsyCap (PSA-PsyCap) instrument. All dimensions displayed acceptable reliabilities. Statistically significant differences exist in the POB of demographic groups, relating to age, marital status, home language, seniority and qualifications. This research reveals that South African HR practitioners and managers should fully embrace psychological capital to effectively create caring workplaces taking cognizance of the broader economic and social issues affecting employees and their performance <![CDATA[<b>Employee susceptibility to experiencing job insecurity</b>]]> Employees attach value to their job features/total job and when they perceive threats to these and experience feelings of powerlessness, their level of job insecurity increases. Since job insecurity is a subjective phenomenon, the study aims to assess who is more susceptible to experiencing job insecurity by assessing biographical correlates. The research adopts a formal, hypothesis-testing approach where quantitative data were collected using a cross-sectional, survey method from a sample of 1620 employees. The results, generated using the ANOVA model, indicate that biographical influences do exist in terms of job insecurity. The implication is that change managers need to take cognisance of these influences and develop suitable strategies for each group to reduce the prevalence of job insecurity. Recommendations are made in this regard. <![CDATA[<b>On employees' performance appraisal</b>: <b>the impact and treatment of the raters' effect</b>]]> By putting in place a performance appraisal scheme, employees who improve their work efficiency can then be rewarded, whereas corrective action can be taken against those who don't. The aim of this paper is to develop a technique that helps to measure the subjective effect that a given rater's assessment will have on the performance appraisal of a given employee, assuming that an assessment of one's work performance will have to be undertaken by a rater and that this rating is essentially a subjective one. In particular, a linear mixed modelling approach will be applied to data that comes from a South African company which has 214 employees and where an annual performance evaluation has been run. One of the main conclusions that will be drawn from this study, is that there is a very significant rater's effect that needs to be properly accounted for when rewarding employees. Without this adjustment being done, any incentive scheme, whether its motive is reward based or penalty based, will ultimately fail in its intended purpose of improving employees' overall performance <![CDATA[<b>Firm age, collateral value, and access to debt financing in an emerging economy</b>: <b>evidence from South Africa</b>]]> This paper applies the Blundell and Bond system generalised method of moments (GMM) two-step estimator to examine the impact of age and collateral value on debt financing, using a panel of 177 non-financial companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange over the period 1999 to 2009. The results show that South African firms have target leverage ratios and adjust their capital structures from time to time to achieve their respective targets, that the relationship between firm age and debt financing is nonmonotonic, and that firms with higher collateral value are likely to face fewer constraints on borrowing and therefore have greater access to medium-term and long-term debts. Robustness tests also reveal that during start-up and maturity stages, a firm's access to debt markets is significantly influenced by investments in assets that are acceptable to external creditors as collateral. These findings suggest that debt financing policies could be more critical for firms in the start-up and maturity stages <![CDATA[<b>Can listed property shares be a surrogate for direct property investment behaviour?</b>]]> The listed property sector in South Africa has grown to a size which could be considered to be a good representation of the income producing property market in general. Stock market listed property investment funds offer the opportunity to compare indirect property investment to direct property investment, which could bridge the gap between irrational investment behaviour and intrinsic asset values. This study investigates the relationship between listed property share prices and the property values in listed property funds. The share prices are correlated with various factors, such as the accounting ratios of the companies, the financial statements of the companies and general economic variables. The outcome of the study is an explanation of the behaviour of listed property shares, and its relationship to the direct property market and the general economy. This would assist in the explanation of market behaviour and provides the opportunity to more accurately predict portfolio asset values, which might be used in the valuation of individual real estate assets <![CDATA[<b>The study of venture capital finance and investment behaviour in small and medium-sized enterprises</b>]]> Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are often credited with innovative entrepreneurial practices and conceiving new market opportunities. Government has reinforced these positive economic externalities through policy programmes and designated support structures. Venture capital organisations often galvanise innovative knowledge by entrenching and sustaining nascent businesses through value-creating funding behaviours. In this way, the venture capital industry financially supports entrepreneurial activity for economic growth and governs and nurtures the growth of the SMEs. These show that the venture capital industry embraces value-creating opportunities on the basis of rational partnerships with enterprises that have limited track records and less formal control mechanisms. The tentative factor analysis findings suggest an integrated framework for the venture capital industry from the significant intercorrelations among the variables. The most important focus of this article, however, is its attempt to examine the behavioural traits of SMEs and venture capitalists regarding systematic finance and investment for inclusivity and due diligence.