Doctoral Degrees (University of Stellenbosch Business School)

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    From corporate social responsibility to brand activism and the effect on customer loyalty : a structural equation modelling approach
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2023-03) Welser, Carolin; Terblanche-Smit, Marlize; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. University of Stellenbosch Business School.
    ENGLISH SUMMARY: Increasingly multinational companies are making statements related to socio-political topics. This phenomenon is called brand activism and augments the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Therefore, it has the potential to direct a wider variety of socio-economic issues. Brand activism implementation causes negative and positive customer reactions. It is a challenge for companies to implement brand activism and predict the impact on customers. Existing literature lacks a robust theoretical body for brand activism. The effects of brand activism on customers are unclear, and there is no valid measurement model. This thesis aimed to understand the phenomenon of brand activism by identifying brand activism as an evolution of the concept of CSR and measuring the quantitative effect on customer loyalty. Therefore, brand activism was differentiated from CSR and implementation guidelines were inferred. A positive impact of progressive brand activism on customer loyalty was anticipated. Based on an in-depth literature review, this positive relationship was ascertained and observed by developing a measurement model to discover the impact of brand activism on customer loyalty. Thereof six brand activism dimensions, namely social, legal, workplace, economic, political, and environmental, were tested regarding the impact on customer loyalty and the effects of the six brand activism dimensions. The impact of brand activism on customers’ legitimacy and authenticity perceptions was uncovered. Customers’ expectations were compared to the measured effect on customer loyalty to make assumptions about the optimal implementation of brand activism. An experimental method utilising a survey with 372 respondents from South Africa, divided into six experimental groups and one control group, was applied. The survey targeted the Millennial generation (Generation Y). Millennials were selected as the unit of analysis as they have greater expectations regarding the socio-political activities of corporations than previous generations. The sample size was determined by applying a statistical power analysis. The experiment constituted six different treatments, including examples from the automotive brand Volkswagen in South Africa. Analysis of Variance was executed, and a structural equation model (SEM) was developed and applied. The SEM included three mediating variables, brand trust, customer-company identification, and brand image, besides the independent variable, brand activism, and the dependent variable, customer loyalty. The study reported an overall positive relationship between brand activism and customer loyalty. The variance analysis did not report significant results. Customer-company identification was the only mediating variable within the SEM reporting a high significance towards customer loyalty. Respondents perceived environmental brand activism as the most important dimension. Customers’ expectation regarding brand activism implementation was higher than the measured customer loyalty. Implementing brand activism was perceived more in an authentic manner than a legitimate one. This research suggests that brand activism as a concept should be implemented complementary to CSR. The relationship between brand activism and customer loyalty is based on the social identity theory. Therefore, customer identification with the company was the strongest predictor of loyalty within this relationship. An expectation-behaviour gap was suggested as customers’ expectations towards the company were higher than their actual remuneration with loyal behaviour. A customer grid model to minimise the cognitive dissonance of customers is proposed for implementation. Overall, this research contributes to the field of strategic marketing and consumer behaviour. In terms of qualitative contribution, this thesis adds to CSR, brand activism, and customer loyalty research. A theoretical basis of the brand activism phenomenon is developed, and a strategic brand activism framework is implemented. The quantitative contribution of the study is a measurement model for testing the relationship between brand activism and customer loyalty and the results of the applied experimental study. The practical contribution of this research is the developed loyalty grid model, loyalty stage process, and overall recommendations based on qualitative and quantitative findings.
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    The development of positive work identities of women in male-dominated jobs
    (Stellenbosch: Stellenbosch University, 2023-03) Konadu-Osei, Obaa Akua; Bosch, Anita; Boros, Smaranda; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. University of Stellenbosch Business School.
    ENGLISH SUMMARY: This dissertation explores how women1 build positive work identities in male-dominated jobs within a collectivist context. The exploratory nature of the dissertation necessitated a qualitative research approach, which is also commensurate with my relational orientation regarding ontology and epistemology. Three objectives, which form the basis of the three separate but interrelated studies, guide this dissertation. As such, specific research strategies, namely a systematic review and case studies, were utilised to achieve the objectives of the three studies. The first study (Chapter 4:) explores how local epistemologies can be utilised in conducting contextsensitive work identity research in the South African context. The methodological choices of 68 publications on work identity were analysed through a systematic review. The review contends that an either-or-neither approach to methodology selection is a false dilemma, and advances suggestions for complementing and integrating Western and local epistemologies. The outcome of this study shaped the methodological choices of the remainder of the research. The second study (Chapter 5:) explored how women navigate dominant identities in the workplace and create alternative ways of existing, using the case of 15 women in blue-collar roles in three companies in male-dominated industries in South Africa. A Deleuze–ubuntu theoretical frame was used to conceptualise identity in a collectivist context, explore minority identities, and understand the disruption of norms towards social transformation. Using in-depth, semi-structured interviews, the findings show that women employ various strategies, broadly categorised as sustaining identities, divesting identities, and counterattacking negative behaviour. However, within these strategies, women balance between adopting major or owning minor identities, simultaneously rejecting and/or differentiating from elements of both. The study concluded that the identity work process does not conform to a ‘zero sum’, but, rather, a kaleidoscope of processes that offer fluid and non-linear strategies towards new pathways of being and becoming. The third study (Chapter 6:) explored formal and informal workplace structures that support women’s upward career mobility and foster the development of positive identities. Through semi-structured interviews, 22 work colleagues of the blue-collar women workers in Chapter 5: were engaged. Through thematic and document analysis, data were analysed. The findings show that support mechanisms formally rendered by companies were identified and categorised as: commitment from management, equality of opportunities (structures), and equality of opportunities (processes), whereas informal support was either technical, relational, or personal. Despite the positive impact of colleagues’ support on women’s upward career mobility, informal support tends to offer paternalistic help rather than tools that enable women to succeed in the workplace. Although this dissertation does not claim generalisability, the findings significantly contribute to literature on identity, gender and work, and organisational behaviour. The overall contributions of the dissertation include the following: a) the either-or-neither approach to selecting a research methodology is a false dilemma, and that, researchers can benefit from a fusion of conventional and contextually sensitive epistemologies; b) identity work is a kaleidoscope of processes that present fluid, non-linear, and adaptable strategies aimed at making new pathways and alternatives for these women; and c) organisational policies on diversity and inclusion may remain aspirational if organisational culture and norms continue to perpetuate negative stereotypical views about women’s competencies. The dissertation shows that, for women in male-dominated industries in collectivist contexts, building positive work identities hinges on both interpersonal and intrapersonal identity resources. The benefits thereof enhance the individual’s self-efficacy and workplace relationships, as well as organisational outcomes.
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    Artificial Intelligence (AI) in retail : the AI-enabled value chain
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-04) Oosthuizen, Kim; Botha, Elsamari; Butler, Martin; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. University of Stellenbosch Business School.
    ENGLISH SUMMARY: The competitive landscape is shifting for retailers, and many are scrambling to stay ahead of the competition by investing in new technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), automation, robotics and blockchain. Traditional retailers face disruption from competitors that can deliver value to their customers faster through these new technologies. AI, in particular, is earmarked to transform retailing, and its influence on retail is projected to be substantial. However, empirical research on AI in retail remains limited. This study investigates how AI is transforming the retail value chain through a qualitative two-stage research design, using four articles to answer the research question: How is AI transforming the retail value chain? The Leavitt Diamond model and the jobs-to-be-done theory are used to answer the research question. First, this study used all the Leavitt Diamond Model variables (i.e. structure, technology, tasks and people) to examine how AI transforms the retail value chain. The process offered a more comprehensive view of the organisational factors that need to be considered when adopting AI in the retail value chain. Previous research typically focuses on only one of these components. Articles one and three broadens our understanding of applying jobs theory and outcomes-based innovation in the context of AI in the retail value chain. In article one, the jobs-to-be-done approach was used as a lens to conceptually cluster the jobs AI technologies can perform in the retail value chain. The article conceptually proposed four AI technology dimensions that can fulfil most of the roles in the “traditional” retail value chain. Article one introduced a conceptual framework to understand AI's role in the retail value chain proposing an alternative AI-enabled value chain. Article two conducted a detailed review of AI's different tasks across the retail value chain. In article three, an outcomes-based approach was used to present a framework of four outcomes for applying AI in the retail value chain and tested the association between the AI outcome and the value chain stage. Therefore, this study proposes the appropriate theoretical lens to understand better the use of AI in the retail value chain. However, it also improves this framework in the final chapter, presenting an adapted conceptual lens. Finally, article four aimed to understand retailers' challenges better when implementing AI, using Leavitt’s Diamond Model. The overall findings suggest that AI transforms the retail value chain in three ways. First, the iterative nature of AI requires the shape of the retail value chain to change from linear to circular, with data and insight at the core of the successful value chain. Second, AI changes how retailers attain goals in the retail value chain through achieving specific outcomes. The outcomes are dependent on where AI is applied in the retail value chain. Third, there is a complex interplay between structure, technology, people and tasks when implementing AI into the retail value chain, transforming how retailers operate. This study broadens the understanding of how new technologies impact value chains in general and retail value chains in particular. For retailers to successfully implement AI into their business, they need a clear understanding of how it impacts people, organisational structure, other technology, and organisational tasks. This study created a framework of eight imperatives retailers need to consider when implementing AI, offering a holistic view of the consideration needed across people, structure, tasks and technology to ensure successful integration of AI into the business.
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    The relationship between project complexity and project success and the moderating effect of project leadership styles and roles in the construction industry of an emerging economy
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-04) Dartey-Baah, Samuel Kwasi; de Klerk, Mias; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. University of Stellenbosch Business School.
    ENGLISH SUMMARY: Construction projects in most emerging economies provide infrastructural growth that facilitates economic and social development. However, most construction projects fail to meet expected outcomes owing to their complex nature. Various studies have alluded to managerial influences on the nexus between project complexity and project success. With this background, the purpose of the study was to determine how project complexity relates to project success and to explore the potential moderating effect of project leadership styles and roles on the project complexity–project success relationship. The study adopted a mixed-methods approach, the sequential explanatory mixed-methods strategy. Data were first collected and analysed quantitatively and then, based on the findings, qualitative data were collected and analysed to provide deeper insights and a better understanding of the initial quantitative findings. The study was conducted in three main stages involving different sets of samples. The first sample consisting of 10 experts in Ghana’s construction industry was obtained using the convenient sampling technique. This sample engaged in assessing the face and content validity of Geraldi and Adlbrecht (2007) project complexity scale and the proposed project leadership role instrument in Ghana’s construction industry. The second stage of the data collection involved 315 participants from Ghana’s construction industry who were conveniently sampled for the quantitative survey. The final data collection involved 20 participants, who were conveniently sampled from the participants who took part in the main survey for the purpose of qualitative interviews. The quantitative data were collated using an Excel spreadsheet and exported into SPSS (Version 20) and Amos (Version 22.0). Covariance-based structural equation modelling (CB-SEM) was used in analysing the quantitative data. The qualitative data were transcribed, collated, and analysed using thematic analysis. The researcher ensured that all ethical considerations were strictly adhered to throughout the study. The study’s findings confirmed results from previous studies of the negative relationship between aspects of project complexity and project success, although the relationship of project complexity as a composite construct with project success was insignificant. Analyses of the qualitative data revealed that this might be due to the participants’ understanding of the implementation of mitigating measures to deal with complexity. For instance, experienced project teams working on complex projects contributed to reducing the negative effect of project complexity on project success, albeit at a higher cost. The net effect of the success of projects can thus be neutral or the determination of success of large construction projects can become ambiguous. The findings of the study confirmed that transformational and ethical leadership styles are important to ensure project success and positively moderate the insignificant relationship between project complexity and project success. The transactional leadership style had no significant effect on project success and did not moderate the project complexity–project success relationship and did not engender project success. Furthermore, the study showed that project leadership roles significantly moderate the relationship between project complexity and project success. The findings demonstrated how project complexity should be approached because of the uniqueness and influence of each of the dimensions of complexity. For complexity associated with novelty and uncertainty, experience plays a significant role in ensuring project success. Complexity of fact relates to proper decision-making that is guided by reliable information and skilled personnel. Complexity of interaction requires proper stakeholder engagement and communication. The study also sheds light on some of the expectations of project teams concerning how project managers should lead large and complex construction projects in order to promote the probability of success. The demonstration of trust, respect, and concern creates a positive environment that encourages project teams to work hard in difficult times. Particularly, project managers can create an environment that eschews corrupt practices through the demonstration of exemplary behaviours such as fairness, openness, and professionalism. Considering the fact that corruption contributes significantly to project failure and is widespread in construction projects, the management of ethics must be designed to fight corruption in such projects. One way to operationalise ethical behaviours is to have leadership put in place structural mechanisms for managing ethics. This should include monitoring ethical behaviours among project teams, communicating ethical polices, creating channels for reporting ethical violations, promoting ethical training, and putting in place sanctions for corrupt and unethical practices. Despite research work on the concept of leadership being conducted over many years, studies have not yielded any comprehensive definition of leadership that embraces unique project situations such as handling complex projects. This is because leadership can be understood, not only in different fields, but in different ways. Leadership has different connotations within the same field. Studies on leadership which have focused on traits and behaviours as a means of unearthing effective leadership have been criticised as being too idealistic. Some scholars have suggested that, rather than focusing on leadership traits and behaviours, project leaders could focus on performing essential project leadership roles. To address this, the study identified key leadership roles relevant to the project environment through an extensive literature search. The main contribution of the study to the field of project management is the conceptualisation of project leadership roles and the development of the project leadership role instrument. Furthermore, this study’s recommendation to shift the preoccupation of mainstream leadership literature from leadership styles to more practical leadership roles that are suitable for large construction project environments is a unique and innovative contribution to the body of knowledge on project leadership.
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    Foreign capital inflows, financial development and sectoral growth in Sub-Saharan Africa
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-04) Ustarz, Yazidu; Fanta, Ashenafi; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. University of Stellenbosch Business School.
    ENGLISH SUMMARY: Growth in sub-Saharan Africa has not risen to the level required to match developmental needs. The situation has been deteriorated by the current Covid-19 pandemic, where it is estimated that over 2.82% of the African population could fall into extreme poverty in 2021. The problem is likely to worsen both growth and growth volatility conditions in the region. The situation calls for a substantial flow of resources to augment domestic capital to drive growth. Foreign capital inflows have been identified as having the potential to support growth in the region. They have become an integral part of the financing mix for sub-Saharan African countries due to limited domestic capital mobilisation. There is, however, increasing concern from policymakers, particularly in the light of the 2008‒2009 global financial crisis, about the volatility effect of these inflows. Financial development has been identified as a policy tool that could be used not just to drive growth directly, but also to attract foreign capital and limit their volatilities. To understand how financial development affects growth and foreign capital inflows, the study has been structured into four empirical chapters. The study targeted all 44 countries in the Svirydzenka (2016) dataset since it was the main measure of financial development used in the study and reflected in all the objectives. There are however variations based on available data from other variables of interest. The study period covered 1990‒2018, but where volatility is involved, the period is 1990-2017 due to loss of observation in the computation of volatility. The first chapter examines the sectoral effect of financial development. This is significant in the sense that existing studies concentrated on aggregate growth, ignoring the fact that the extent of credit utilisation, as well as productivity of credit, may not necessarily remain the same across sectors. Indeed, using the Generalised Method of Moments, the findings show that while financial development has a positive effect on the service and agricultural sectors, a certain threshold of financial development must be reached before it can positively contribute to the growth of the industrial sector. The results point to the fact that policymakers in sub-Saharan Africa need continue to promote financial development to spur industrialisation. The second objective answers the question of whether financial development has a threshold-specific effect on the volatility of capital inflows in sub-Saharan Africa. This is important because the extant literature in sub-Saharan Africa focuses on the impact of financial development on foreign capital inflow volatility ignoring the possibility of a threshold. The results from a novel dynamic endogenous panel threshold model show that financial development could reduce capital volatility but only after attaining a threshold of 14.5%, 8.8% and 15.02% for foreign direct investment, cross-border bank lending and remittances respectively. From a policy perspective, knowledge about thresholds could assist in mapping out macroprudential policies. In the third objective, the study investigates foreign inflows and volatility–growth nexus and the indirect role of financial development in the relationship. The study takes a sectoral approach given that absorptive capacity may differ across sectors of the economy. The findings from the dynamic panel ordinary least square show that except for cross-border bank lending, foreign capital inflows and volatility have negative effects on the service sector. Except for remittances, foreign capital inflows volatility shows positive effects in the industrial sector while the levels of foreign direct investment and remittances exert a positive effect. Both foreign direct investment and cross-border bank lending had a negative effect on agricultural growth with portfolio equity, aid and remittances posing positive effects. Concerning volatility, only portfolio equity volatility negatively affects the agricultural sector, with the impact of remittances on agriculture being positive. The role of financial development in dampening or magnifying the effect of foreign capital inflows and volatility is ambiguous, however. The conclusion is that sector-specific policies are needed to deal with the effect of foreign capital inflow and volatility given their varied impact across sectors of the economy. The study addresses growth volatility in the final objective, which is one of the critical issues affecting growth and development in sub-Saharan Africa. The study considered the impact of real shocks, monetary shocks and financial openness on sectoral growth volatility. The mediating role of financial development in dampening or magnifying growth volatility effect of shocks and financial openness was also considered. The results from panel Quintile Method of Moment show that while real and monetary shocks exert a robust positive impact on growth volatilities in the service and agricultural sectors, only monetary shock drives industrial volatility. Financial openness, however, appears to magnify growth volatility only in the service sector. The findings on the transmission channells reveal that financial development dampens the effect of real and monetary shocks on growth volatilities in the service and agricultural sectors with the impact on the industrial sector being ambiguous. The policy implication of the findings is that policymakers need to address the underlying issues of shocks to achieve stable growth. Financial development can be used as a complementing tool to achieve the desired policy objective. In general, the study showed that financial development is a critical policy tool in dealing with the volatile nature of inflows and maximising growth. Indirectly, it can also ameliorate the adverse effect of shocks on growth volatility. For these to be realised, however, financial systems will have to be developed to a certain level. However, the role of financial development is found to also vary across sectors. Thus, the main contribution of the study is the focus on the sectoral growth effect of different inflows and their volatilities as well as the role of financial development. Understanding how each inflow and volatility uniquely affect different sectors of the economy could provide an insight into a new policy framework and direction to achieve balanced and accelerated growth. On methodology, the study used techniques that could account for endogeneity in the panel threshold model and also a SUR model that accounts for inter-sectoral linkages. Future studies could explore the role of regulations in dealing with foreign capital inflows. The current study focused on financial development as a policy tool. The use of the macroprudential tool as a way to regulate foreign capital inflows particularly for developing countries has become topical. In this regard, future studies could explore whether the effectiveness of regulations or macroprudential policies in dealing with foreign capital inflow is conditioned on the competitiveness of a sector. The role of information asymmetry in financial development and foreign capital nexus could also be looked at. Though the study mentioned that a developed financial sector enhances foreign capital inflows and limits their volatility by reducing information asymmetry and transaction cost, the mechanism through which this occurs was not tested in the study. On growth volatility, future research could assess whether the impact of shocks on sectoral growth is conditioned on the economy’s level of diversification and resource intensity.