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The potential impact of HIV/AIDS on the financial performances of S. A. companies

Tladi, Jack Moeketsi (2005-04)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2005.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Despite the seriousness of HIV and AIDS affecting productivity at workplaces, little attention is being paid to the special needs of the infected people in the world of work and the ultimate reality this will have on the companies’ financial health. HIV/AIDS retards economic development and business growth. The epidemic influences the workforce and markets in which business operates. Business must play a leading part in the internal response to HIV/AIDS pandemic. This is both an ethical imperative and the key to business success. Most research conducted on the subject mainly concentrated on the effects of HIV and AIDS on productivity, emphasizing absenteeism as the direct cause of low productivity. The costs of HIV and AIDS will be felt beyond the direct effect of the disease. The indirect costs include the following: The increased costs of recruiting and training, given the extra deaths and disabilities expected. The negative effect on staff morale Loss of time as a result of management and labor meetings to discuss the AIDS crisis as it develops, this resulting in loss of turnover and profits. With the rising prevalence of HIV/AIDS, businesses should be increasingly concerned about the impact of the disease on their organizations-concerns that should be well founded. At the broadest level, businesses are dependent on the strength and vitality of the economies in which they operate. HIV/AIDS raises the costs of doing business, reduces productivity and lowers overall demand for goods and services. The research process in this article focused particularly on workplace issues, which are a key dimension of the relationship between corporations and HIV/AIDS. Data collection was by both structured questionnaires and unstructured interviews, interviews with both management and workers’ representatives and structured questionnaires with the general workforce. The questions asked were open-ended: “Is HIV/AIDS a problem for your company now or in the future?” and “If HIV/AIDS impacted on your company’ financial performance would you act and why?” The research group consisted of four companies in different areas of operations: retail, service and manufacturing and the participants were chosen on the basis of certain inclusive criteria: The number of employees employed. Length of service operation. Willingness to share certain financial information. A qualitative method of data analysis was used in the study and is described in detail. The qualitative research method looks at the subjective meanings attached, descriptions, metaphors, symbols and descriptions of specific cases. It was found that despite the differences from one company to the other, the potential impact of HIV/AIDS on companies’ financials went beyond the direct costs of productivity. As the debate over the availability of cheaper generic anti-retroviral drugs rages in the background, business is faced with the dilemma of significant investment to keep their labour force healthy and alive. This has to be weighed up against the high costs involved in rehiring, retraining and re-incentivising their replacements.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Ten spyte van tekens dat MIV en VIGS produktiwiteit in die werkplek affekteer, word daar nog baie min te doen aan die behoeftes van die werkers wat deur die epidemie getref word. Verder, word min aandag geskenk aan die potensiële uitwerking van die epidemie op die finansiële gesondheid van maatskappye. MIV/VIGS vertraag ekonomiese ontwikkeling en besigheidsgroei. Die epidemie het ‘n negatiewe impak op die arbeidsmag en die market waarin besigheid plaasvind. Besigheid moet dus die leiding neem in die interne respons op die MIV/VIGS pandemie. Dit is eties belangrik en die sleutel tot die sukses van besigheid. Die meeste navorsing oor die onderwerp het tot dusver gekonsentreer op die effek van MIV en VIGS op produktiwiteit met die klem op afwesigheid as ‘n direkte oorsaak van lae produktiwiteit. Die koste van MIV en VIGS behels egter veel meer as net die direkte gevolge van die siekte. Die indirekte koste sluit die volgende in: Die koste verbonde aan opleiding en die soeke na nuwe personeel weens sterftes en siekte van personeel. Die negatiewe effek op die moraal van personeel. Verlore tyd as gevolg van bestuurs- en arbeidsvergaderings om die VIGS-krisis te bespreek namate dit ontwikkel en winste negatief beïnvloed. Besigheid behoort meer bekommerd te wees oor die toename in MIV/VIGS gevalle en die impak wat dit op organisasies sal hê. MIV/VIGS verhoog die kostes van besigheid doen, verminder produktiwiteit en verlaag die algemene vraag na goedere en dienste. Die navorsingsbenadering in die artikel fokus op daardie werkplek-aangeleenthede wat ‘n sleuteldimensie is van die verhouding tussen organisasies en MIV/VIGS. Data is ingewin deur middel van gestruktureerde vraelyste en ongestruktureerde onderhoude. Onderhoude is met beide bestuurslui en verteenwoordigers van werkers gevoer, en gestruktureerde vrae met die werkers. Die vrae gestel was oop vrae soos “Is MIV/VIGS `n problem vir u onderneming huidiglik of in die toekoms? En “Indien MIV/VIGS ‘n negatiewe impak het op die onderming se prestasie sal jy optree en waarom?” Die navorsingsgroep het bestaan uit vier ondernemings in die kleinhandels-, dienslewerings-, en vervaardigingssektor. Die deelnemers is gekies op die basis van inklusiwiteit met die volgende criteria: Die getal werkers in diens. Hoe lank is onderneming in besigheid? Die bereidwilligheid om inligting te deel. `n Kwalitatiewe metode van data analise is gebruik wat breedvoerig verduidelik en beskryf word. Die navorsingsmetode kyk veral na subjektiewe betekenisse, omskrywings, metafore, simbole en omskrywings van spesifieke gevalle. Navorsing het getoon dat MIV/VIGS ‘n impak het op ondernemings se finansiële omstandighede en produktiwiteit. Terwyl die debat oor goedkoper generiese anti-retrovirale middele aan die gang is, word ondernemings of besighede konfronteer met die keuse tussen beduidende investering om die arbeidsmag gesond en lewendig te hou of die hoë koste van herindiensneming, heropleiding en insentiewe.

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