Exploring a conceptual measurement instrument to assess performance predictors of small tourism business in South Africa

Van Zyl, H. J. C. ; Mathur-Helm, B. (2008-12)

CITATION: Van Zyl, H. J. C. & Mathur-Helm, B. 2008. Exploring a conceptual measurement instrument to assess performance predictors of small tourism business in South Africa. Acta Commercii, 8(1): 194-207, doi: 10.4102/ac.v8i1.82.

The original publication is available at http://www.actacommercii.co.za

Article

Purpose: The present study was set out to develop a model of entrepreneurial leadership that can recognize success factors of the owners of small and micro tourism enterprises within the South African context. The study attempts to combine various reliable and valid measurement instruments together, in conceptualising a more comprehensive and unified model that could test the nature and extent of the interrelationships between entrepreneurial leadership, market orientation, relationship marketing orientation and small tourism performance identified in a previous study by Van Zyl and Mathur-Helm (2007). Hence, a complex measurement instrument was conceptually constructed by the present study. Problem Investigated: The Van Zyl and Mathur-Helm’s (2007) study found that entrepreneurial leadership could best be described through a combination of distinct components. Hence the following instruments, entrepreneurial proclivity, ethical orientation, revised self-leadership, market orientation and relationship marketing orientation, with wide ranging dimensions of entrepreneurship, tourism, marketing and leadership, were brought together in formulating a comprehensive and complex measurement instrument. Methodology: It is a descriptive and a theoretical article that conceptually describes the development of a complex measurement instrument and thus secondary data from previous studies are used as comparative analysis for discussions and examinations. Implications: The paper recommends implications for South Africa’s small tourism businesses, the government and the training institutions, by suggesting a model of performance predictors that can measure entrepreneurial leadership and can distinguish between successful (performing) and unsuccessful (non-performing) owner-managers of such ventures. Moreover, the instrument is aimed at providing insights into the kind of skills that a particular entrepreneurial leader and/or an owner manager of a small tourism enterprise may need in order to perform optimally in a complex and competitive environment. Originality and Value of Research: The present study will add immense value as South Africa is one of the most popular tourist destination that stands a good prospect of expanding its opportunities for the existing and upcoming tourism ventures. Hence owners, managers and leaders of small tourism enterprises demonstrating leadership characteristics such as high internal locus of control, autonomy and achievement drive, through awareness of such characteristics and acquiring them through skills development will be able to build high performing future businesses. Conclusion: The complex measurement instrument constructed in the present study, by combining the existing tools: entrepreneurial proclivity instrument (Matsuno et al., 2002); ethical orientation instrument (Forsythe, 1980); revised self leadership instrument (Houghton and Neck, 2002); market orientation instrument (Narver and Slater, 1990); relationship marketing orientation instrument (Sin et al., 2002) and small tourism performance (Lerner and Harber, 2000; Wood 2002 and 2006) would help in identifying the vital entrepreneurial characteristics described through a combination of different dimensions.

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