Acta Commercii serves as an independent scientific publication for academic contributions to the broad field of management and its associated disciplines. It includes disciplinary, multi-disciplinary and problem oriented work.
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Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)
ScieLO SA (2016)
Social media in tourism : establishing factors influencing attitudes towards the usage of social networking sites for trip organisation
Purpose: The main aim of this study was to determine the attitude towards the use of social networking sites (SNSs) for trip organisation and its precursors.
Problem investigated: Tourism organisations and destination policy makers need to understand factors that influence tourist use of SNSs for trip organisation in order for them to be able to effectively utilise SNSs.
Methodology: The methodological approach followed was exploratory and quantitative in nature. Data were collected from a total of 340 respondents using a structured questionnaire. Structural equation modelling through the use of Partial Least Squares was for data analysis.
Findings and implications: The results show that attitude towards the use of SNSs for trip organisation is affected by perceived benefits, subjective norm and perceived behavioural control, with perceived usefulness having the greatest influence. The implication is that managers of tourism organisations need to ensure that their sites are informative, easy to use and able to safeguard users’ online privacy if they are to attract more and loyal users to their sites.
Value of the research: Very little research in the South African context exists with specific reference to how SNSs are being utilised for trip organisation. This article contributes by unravelling factors that influence the use of SNSs for trip organisation.
Conclusion: Perceived usefulness measured by functional benefits and social benefits is the key factor that influences attitude towards the use of SNSs for trip organisation. It is the responsibility of destination marketers to provide all the necessary or valuable information on their SNS accounts, in order to encourage travellers to use SNSs.
Orientation: The study focused on analysing the outreach performance of microfinance institutions (MFIs) in providing critical services for the poor using innovative lending techniques within constrained environments.
Research purpose: The study examined the trade-off relations between the depth and the breadth of outreach and identified institutional level factors that influence MFIs outreach in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
Motivation for the study: MFIs continue to play critical roles in extending financial services to the poor and yet previous studies have not analysed comprehensively the dimensions of outreach necessary for financial inclusion.
Research design, approach and methods: The study employed correlation analysis and random effects methodology to panel data regression analysis (619 observations, 71 MFIs across 10 countries) to establish the trade-off relations and the determinants of outreach in SSA.
Main findings: It was established that a trade-off exists between the depth of outreach (access to credit disbursement by poor clients) and breadth of outreach (number of clients served). The results further revealed that gross loan portfolio, portfolio at risk, borrower per staff member, interest rate, and operating expenses to assets ratio are the main institutional determinants of MFIs outreach in SSA.
Practical/managerial implications: The policy implication is that MFIs that concentrate efforts in reaching the relatively poor do so at the expense of reaching a large number of poor clients. We suggest that effective monitoring of depth and breadth and the adoption and implementation of cost-saving outreach technologies by MFIs could enable them to operate sustainably and efficiently.
Contribution/value added: A major contribution of the study is the trade-off relations revealed between the depth of outreach and the breadth of outreach of MFIs which advances the outreach literature.
Orientation: This article examined the link between property rights and development in the context of South Africa.
Research purpose: The article sought to unpack the implications of Hernando De Soto’s work and the broader institutional economics literature for the policy challenges that South Africa currently confronts.
Motivation for the Study: Hernando De Soto’s call for a property rights system accessible to all has had a limited impact in South Africa even though his arguments linking poverty to limited property rights systems seems highly relevant here. This is a legacy of Apartheid that has not yet been properly tackled. At the same time, South African realities may raise questions about De Soto’s conclusions and his policy recommendations.
Research design: The article provided a textual analysis of De Soto’s work and then applied it to an investigation of South African poverty and the policies that have been implemented since 1994. The article also drew on seminal contributions to institutional economics to shed light on the process of institutional change, and then showed how this perspective fits with much of what De Soto has written about transforming property rights systems.
Main findings: This article argued that extending property rights to all is vital for development and for overcoming a major legacy of apartheid. However, moving from a restricted to a universal system requires fundamental institutional changes that are difficult to achieve.
Contribution: While De Soto has often advocated a top-down, overly simplistic policy approach in the past, this article showed that the necessary changes can only come about via an incremental, bottom-up approach. To this end, it is particularly important to strengthen the accountability and capacity of local government.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the existence of familiarity bias amongst individual investors in the South African stock market.
Problem investigated: According to Warren Buffet, one needs to maintain emotional detachment if one wants to be a successful investor. However, recent research indicates that the perceptions of companies’ products and brands may influence individuals’ investment decisions in the stock market. This phenomenon implies that the investment decisions of individual investors are not purely based on firm fundamentals as suggested by traditional finance theories, but might be driven partly by the positive or negative attitude they have towards certain companies’ products and brands. The existence of familiarity bias amongst individual investors was investigated to determine if individuals prefer to invest in companies they are familiar with as opposed to unfamiliar companies.
Methodology: A quantitative approach was followed. An online survey was used to show images of familiar and unfamiliar company brands to respondents, whereafter respondents were asked to indicate whether they will invest in the shares of the identified companies. The statistical analysis entailed descriptive statistics as well as one-way analyses of variance to test the stated hypotheses.
Main findings: The results of this exploratory study indicate that investors do exhibit familiarity bias when choosing between different companies to invest in.
Value of the research: The inclination of individual investors to invest in familiar corporate brands can have implications for the marketing industry, financial markets, the performance of companies as well as the investment performance of individual investors in the sense that it would seem that company brands could have an influence on investment decisions.
Orientation: Cross-border trade (CBT) is an important economic activity that contributes to the development of many economies of the developing world.
Research purpose: The two primary aims of the study were to find out the major factors needed to succeed in cross-border trading and whether the importance of these factors significantly decreased with export experience.
Motivation for the study: The economic contribution of cross-border trade (CBT) is often understated. As a result, it does not get the attention it deserves.
Research design, approach and method: Data were collected in Gauteng from 146 crossborder traders from 10 Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries. A cross-sectional research design was used.
Main findings: The major key success factors were found to be skills/knowledge in; markets and supplies; financial management; and border issues. The importance of these factors was found to not significantly change with levels of export experience.
Practical/managerial implications: Stakeholders should know that small firms of differing export experience require the same interventions to succeed. Interventions should empower traders to better access markets and supplies, improve their financial management skills and ease border constraints.
Contribution/value-add: Few studies on cross border trading have been carried out in the Southern African Development Community region. The key success factors and the constraints in this type of trade had not been adequately explored. The economic contribution of CBT, which usually goes unnoticed, was highlighted. Interventions to appropriately address the challenges faced, such as trading legitimacy and border harassment, were suggested.
Towards a regional ontology of management education in Africa : a complexity leadership theory perspective
Orientation: The title of this critique, ‘Towards a regional ontology of management education in Africa: A complexity leadership theory perspective’, sought to capture a paradox in the prescriptive nature and universalistic leaning of current leadership theories; yet local realities may call for being cognisant of (possible extant) regional ontologies.
Motivation for the study: The argumentation and analysis developed in this article were based on a synthesis of ideas from literature to evolve a preliminary regional ontology for reorienting business and management education relevant for Africa.
Research design, approach and method: The critique was structured on insights from complexity leadership theory. The outcome was a proposition for an Afrocentric regional ontology for strengthening business and management education anchored on four themes: ethical and moral engagement, entrepreneurial leadership, Ubuntu and local National Systems of Innovation (NSI).
These emerging ideas were considered to be tentative and should be considered as a foundation to inform further inquiry into how business and management education in Africa can be better interpreted and legitimised in the behavioural sciences.
Practical/managerial implications: From an Afrocentric perspective, conceptualising and maintaining the logic of leadership was considered to be desirable and imperative in evolving a regional ontology of leadership that takes into account local realities. Of course, we recognised that these defining rationalities are not unique to Africa, but that said; a regional perspective that is unique cannot continue to be ignored but should find their place in discourses about leadership in the 21st century.
Contribution/value-add: The synthesis and narrative presented in this paper concisely summarises and provides traction on how to advance business and management education in Africa.