An investigation into the co-producers of preferred strategic behaviour in small, micro and medium tourism enterprises in South Africa

Tassiopoulos, Dimitri (2010-03)

Thesis (PhD (Business Management))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The South African tourism industry has undergone transformation with numerous “windows of opportunity” having been opened for tourism entrepreneurs. The South African small, micro and medium tourism enterprises (SMMTE) sector, however, faces numerous challenges. To ensure long-term sustainability, according to Whittle (2000: 8), the owners of SMMTEs need to make efficient and effective business decisions about the internal and external threats and challenges their businesses face. This will ensure that they have sufficient strategic information on which to base decisions in order to maintain their competitive advantage in the tourism industry. Motivation/problem statement: Small business planning behaviour is described as unstructured, irregular and incomprehensive. This characterises SMMTE strategising as incremental, sporadic and reactive. A clear need for strategic planning and management coordination of SMMTEs is identified in the light of increasing competition in the tourism industry and the dominance of large international companies in most sectors of the tourism industry (Cooper & Buhalis, 1996: 101). This study examines determinants of strategic behaviour through a sample frame of formally registered SMMTEs in South Africa. Because of the importance of the issue for a developing economy such as South Africa, the study contributes toward an improved understanding of strategic determinants of sustainable business performance at SMMTE level. It is against this background that the study examines the extent to which linkages or relationships can be established between the characteristics or attributes that are unique to SMMTE owners and manifestations of strategic behaviour. The overall research question in this study is: Do relationships exist between the attributes of SMMTE owners and strategic behaviour? Methods/procedure/approach: The research design for the proposed study primarily involves descriptive and explanatory research. The purpose of using this methodology is to determine predictors of strategic behaviour of SMMTEs in South Africa. Primary and secondary data gathering methods are used in this study. The target-sampling frame is the formally registered SMMTEs in South Africa, and the research sample is determined through using a systematic random sampling method, stratified by province. The study focuses on two elements, namely profile attributes of the SMMTE owner and preferred strategic behaviour that has manifested within the SMMTE. The possible preferred relationship between these two elements is addressed from a theoretical perspective with the basic premise that some of the manifestations of the SMMTE owners’ strategic behaviour have a better likelihood of success. On the basis of this conceptual framework, the development of a suitable data-gathering instrument is discussed and developed to determine the degree of SMMTE strategic behaviour in the ventures. Results/findings/product: The descriptive statistical aspect of the research is discussed in detail. The business characteristics, profiles of the typical attributes or traits of the SMMTE owners, as well as their demographic profiles are discussed in detail. This study further investigates a possible relationship between strategic behaviour (the dependent variable) and entrepreneurial attributes (independent variables) using inferential statistics. The relationships and constructs, as depicted in the a priori model, are empirically tested by means of various statistical techniques: • Reliability testing of the data set is conducted (ref. Section 7.5); • The validity of the research instrument is determined (ref. Section 7.6); • The reliability of the new constructs after exploratory factor analysis is determined (ref. Section 7.6.2); • The relationships between the selected variables are investigated through Spearman’s rho and ANOVA (ref. Section 7.7); and • The relationships between the selected variables of the hypothesis are further investigated (ref. Section 7.7.2) through regression analysis. The research results support an overall statistically significant association between the independent and dependent variables, and the acceptance of the alternative hypothesis (and the rejection of the null hypothesis), namely that there is an association between certain attributes of the owners of the SMMTEs (which is characterised by locus of control, reasons for starting a business, holistic capabilities, formal management education and prior experience) and preferred strategic behaviour. However, the research findings do not support an overall statistically significant association between the risk propensity independent variable and strategic behaviour dependent variables. Consequently the following null sub-hypothesis (ref. Section 7.2.2) is accepted: There is no relationship between risk propensity and strategic behaviour. Conclusion/implications: The study makes various recommendations for further research (ref. Section 8.5.1) and explains the practical implications (ref. Section 8.5.2) thereof. The findings of this study have identified entrepreneurial attributes that have a significant association with strategic behaviour and have made a contribution toward the largely underresearched subject of the role of strategy in entrepreneurship. The study has further applied this to a largely under-researched economic sector in South Africa, namely tourism. The results in this study have produced a foundation for further analysis of the attributes of SMMTE entrepreneurs and the manifestation of strategic behaviour in SMMTEs.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Suid-Afrikaanse toerismebedryf is getransformeer en dit het talle geleenthede vir toerisme-entrepreneurs in dié bedryf laat ontstaan. Die sektor vir klein, mikro- en middelgrootte toerismeondernemings (KMMTO’s) in Suid-Afrika staan egter voor talle uitdagings. Om volhoubaarheid op lang termyn te verseker, moet die eienaars van KMMTO’s volgens Whittle (2000: 8) doeltreffende en doelmatige sakebesluite neem oor die interne en eksterne bedreigings en uitdagings waarvoor hul ondernemings te staan kom. Dit sal verseker dat hulle oor voldoende strategiese inligting beskik waarop hulle besluite kan grond sodat hulle 'n mededingende voordeel in die toerismebedryf kan volhou. Motivering/probleemstelling: Die beplanningsgedrag van klein ondernemings word as ongestruktureerd, onreëlmatig en onvolledig beskryf. Dit tipeer die strategiese beplanning van KMMTO’s as inkrementeel, sporadies en reaktief. 'n Duidelike behoefte aan strategiese beplanning en bestuurskoördinering word by KMMTO’s geïdentifiseer in die lig van groter mededinging in die toerismebedryf en die oorheersing van groot internasionale maatskappye in die meeste sektore van die toerismebedryf (Cooper & Buhalis, 1996: 101). Hierdie studie ondersoek die bepalers van strategiese gedrag deur middel van 'n steekproefraamwerk van formeel geregistreerde KMMTO’s in Suid-Afrika. Omdat hierdie kwessie vir 'n ontwikkelende ekonomie soos dié van Suid-Afrika belangrik is, dra die studie by tot 'n beter begrip van die strategiese bepalers van volhoubare sakeprestasie op KMMTO-vlak. Dit is die agtergrond wat die studie gebruik om vas te stel tot watter mate daar verwantskappe of verhoudings bestaan tussen die kenmerke of eienskappe wat uniek aan KMMTO-eienaars is en die manifestering van strategiese gedrag. Die oorkoepelende navorsingsvraag in hierdie studie is: Bestaan daar verwantskappe tussen die kenmerke van KMMTO-eienaars en strategiese gedrag? Metodes/prosedure/benadering: Die navorsingsontwerp vir die voorgestelde studie behels hoofsaaklik beskrywende en verduidelikende navorsing. Die doel van die gebruik van hierdie metodologie is om die voorspellers van strategiese gedrag van KMMTO’s in Suid-Afrika te bepaal. Primêre en sekondêre metodes van datainsameling is in die studie gebruik. Die steekproefraamwerk bestaan uit formeel geregistreerde KMMTO’s in Suid- Afrika en die navorsingsteekproef is bepaal deur 'n sistematies ewekansige steekproefmetode te gebruik wat volgens provinsie gestratifiseer is. Die studie lê klem op twee elemente, naamlik die profielkenmerke van KMMTO-eienaars en die voorkeur strategiese gedrag wat in die KMMTO manifesteer. Die moontlike voorkeurverhouding tussen hierdie twee elemente word vanuit 'n teoretiese perspektief beskou met die basiese uitgangspunt dat sommige manifestasies van die KMMTO-eienaars se strategiese gedrag 'n beter kans op sukses het. Die ontwikkeling van 'n toepaslike datainsamelingsinstrument word op grond van hierdie konseptuele raamwerk bespreek en ontwikkel om die graad van strategiese gedrag in die ondernemings te bepaal. Resultate/bevindings/produk: Die beskrywende statistiese aspek van die navorsing word breedvoerig bespreek. Die besigheidskenmerke, profiele van die tipiese kenmerke of eienskappe van die KMMTO-eienaars sowel as die demografiese profiele van die KMMTO eienaars word ook breedvoerig bespreek. Hierdie studie ondersoek ook 'n moontlike verwantskap tussen strategiese gedrag (die afhanklike veranderlike) en entrepreneurskenmerke (onafhanklike veranderlikes) met behulp van inferensiële statistiek. Die verhoudings en konstrukte, soos in die a priori-model uitgebeeld, word empiries deur middel van verskeie statistiese tegnieke getoets: • Betroubaarheidstoetsing van die datastel word uitgevoer (verw. Afdeling 7.5); • Die geldigheid van die navorsingsinstrument word bepaal (verw. Afdeling 7.6); • Die betroubaarheid van die nuwe konstrukte word ná verkennende faktorontleding bepaal (verw. Afdeling 7.6.2); • Die verhoudings tussen die geselekteerde veranderlikes van die hipotese word met Spearman se rho en ANOVA (verw. Afdeling 7.7) getoets; en • Die verhoudings tussen die geselekteerde veranderlikes van die hipotese word verder (verw. Afdeling 7.7.2) deur regressieontleding getoets. Die navorsingsresultate ondersteun 'n oorkoepelende en statisties beduidende verband tussen die onafhanklike en afhanklike veranderlikes, en die aanvaarding van die alternatiewe hipotese (en die verwerping van die nulhipotese), naamlik dat daar 'n verband is tussen sekere van die eienskappe van die KMMTO-eienaars (wat gekenmerk word deur lokus van beheer, redes vir die vestiging van 'n besigheid, konseptuele/perseptuele vermoëns, formele bestuursopleiding en vorige ondervinding) en voorkeur strategiese gedrag. Die navorsingsbevindinge ondersteun egter nie 'n oorkoepelende statisties beduidende verband tussen risikogeneigdheid as onafhanklike veranderlike en strategiese gedrag as afhanklike veranderlikes nie. Die volgende nulsubhipotese (verw. Afdeling 7.2.2) word dus aanvaar: Daar is geen verwantskap tussen risikogeneigdheid en strategiese gedrag nie. Gevolgtrekking/implikasies: Die studie maak verskeie aanbevelings vir verdere navorsing (verw. Afdeling 8.5.1) en verduidelik die praktiese implikasies hiervan (verw. Afdeling 8.5.2). Die bevindinge van hierdie studie identifiseer die entrepreneurskenmerke wat 'n beduidende verband met strategiese gedrag toon en wat 'n bydrae lewer tot die rol van strategie in entrepreneurskap – 'n onderwerp wat nie voldoende nagevors is nie. Die studie pas dit ook toe op toerisme – 'n ekonomiese sektor in Suid-Afrika wat ook nie voldoende nagevors is nie. Die resultate van hierdie studie vorm 'n grondslag vir die verdere ontleding van die eienskappe van KMMTO-entrepreneurs en die manifestering van strategiese gedrag in KMMTO’s.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/6420
This item appears in the following collections: