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Joanna Samul, Elzbieta Skapska and Dmitrij Pankov

Abstract

Knowledge-Intensive Business Services (KIBS) are services that involve intensive use of high technologies, specialized skills and professional knowledge. However, there are insufficient findings on the competences of employees in the sector of KIBS. The purpose of this paper is to present the results of the research on employees’ competences in different service sectors of two CEE countries: Poland and Belarus. This study adopted a quantitative approach based on a questionnaire applied to 101 companies from Poland and 42 companies from Belarus. The comparative analysis shows quite similar findings - the most significant competencies are employee engagement, motivation and customer-focused orientation and play a crucial role in the efficiency of services in both countries.

Open access

Diana Ivana

Abstract

Internships are increasingly important for the business higher education as they help students to make the connection between their academic studies and the world of business. This study analyzes the internships of students within an international study program (German line of study) in order to determine what factors account for the most valuable internship experience. Based on the elements of the experiential education approach, the results reveal some characteristics that contribute to a higher level of perceived internship effectiveness in accordance with the employment status and gender. These results provide a basis for designing successful internship programs in business universities.

Open access

Daniel Francois Meyer and Kaseem Abimbola Sanusi

Abstract

In terms of macro-economic policy, gross fixed capital formation, which is the major component of domestic investment, is seen as an important process that could accelerate economic growth. This study re-examines the controversial issue of causality between domestic investment, employment and economic growth using South African data. The traditional assumption of causality running from investment to economic growth has remained inconclusive while empirical findings on the investment and employment growth nexus are also largely unsettled. The study makes use of quarterly data from 1995Q1 to 2016Q4 within the framework of the Johansen cointegration and Vector Error Correction Models (VECM). The empirical findings suggest that a long run relationship exists between domestic investment, employment and economic growth, with causality running from economic growth to investment and not vice versa. The results also demonstrate that investment has a positive long-run impact on employment. The empirical evidence further suggests bi-directional causality between employment and economic growth, while evidence of uni-directional causality, from investment to employment, is also found. The major implication of the study is that although there is bi-directional causality between economic growth and employment, economic growth does not translate to increased employment in the long run confirming “jobless growth”. Investment is found to be a positive driver of employment in the South African economy in the long-run. The study concludes that, in order to stimulate employment, investment enhancing policies, such as low interest rates and a favourable economic environment should be put in place to accelerate growth. Measures to promote economic growth, such as improved infrastructural facilities and diversification of the economy, should be further engineered so as to encourage increased investment.

Open access

Florina Livia Covaci

Abstract

The 4th industrial revolution brings in a transformation of the traditional supply chain towards a digital supply chain. The machines will be able to use algorithms that will enable them to automate the supply chain formation process and to quickly react to disruptions. The current approach proposes a mechanism based on a message passing inference scheme in order to address the automated supply chain formation problem in a closed-loop supply chain by integrating forward and reverse supply chains. Forward supply chain imply a series of activities required to produce new products from virgin materials and distribute them to consumers while reverse supply chains require collecting used products from consumers and reprocessing them to either recover their leftover market values or dispose of them. It has become common for companies involved in a forward supply chain to also carry out collection and reprocessing of used products. Strict environmental regulations and diminishing raw material resources have intensified the importance of reverse supply chains at an increasing rate. The proposed mechanism is evaluated using two type of supply chain configurations from textile and automobile industry, demonstrating that automated integration of reverse supply chains along with forward supply chains, lead to benefits for the participants in the supply chain.

Open access

Steven Henry Dunga

Abstract

Access to a good and healthy life is a human right recognised globally. The fight to deal with poverty and food insecurity as the top two sustainable development goals (SDGs) under the global agenda 2030 can only be achieved if a majority of the world population is able to participate in economic activities. However, the provision of healthcare is complicated by the nature of the demand and supply function. There is inefficient provision due to the positive externalities associated with healthcare provision and consequently the social efficiency is not achieved, especially when private provision is considered, and therefore the need for government involvement. This paper analyses the demand for private healthcare in South Africa, using the data collected from a general household survey with a sample of 21601 households. The results of the logistic regression model show that the gender of the head of a household, income, food security status, age of head of household and social grant and pension status were among the significant predictors of demand for private healthcare. The study provides insights on how provision of healthcare should be tailored so as to achieve maximum efficiency in public provision of healthcare.

Open access

Iulia Monica Dumitrescu, Nuno Crespo and Nadia Simões

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to bring a methodological and empirical contribution to the measurement of trade competition. Globalization and the emergence of new poles in the world economy brought changes to the global landscape and consequent increase in international trade. There is a debate in the literature with regard the indexes that are better fit to be applied in empirical examples for the acquirement of relevant results for measurement of trade competition. This measurement will be achieved by observing the levels of structural similarity in distinct areas and at different moments in time. A higher degree of similarity between the export structures implies a stronger competition in destination markets. The values obtained for this measurement are highly relevant for the trade competition topic. Through this study we further explore the measurement of trade competition and comparatively discuss several indexes used in this area of research.

Open access

Laura-Augustina Avram

Abstract

Intelligence is the traditional element of interest when measuring the human cognitive abilities. However, intelligence is complex and researchers are constantly finding new angles of looking at it. One such angle is reflective reasoning. Sometimes individuals choose to override the intuitive answer and by engaging in further reflection they reach the correct answer. The cognitive reflection test (CRT) measures a person’s ability to suppress their incorrect intuitive answer in favor of reflection that should then lead to the correct response. The test contains three short mathematically based problems, which measure, among others, cognitive ability, mathematical abilities and cognitive reflection. Using a sample of 195 students from a state university, one of the largest universities in Romania, we explore the extent to which a variety of phenomena and trends identified by previous findings on CRT show similar results on our sample.

Open access

Hlalefang Khobai, Nicolene Hamman, Thando Mkhombo, Simba Mhaka, Nomahlubi Mavikela and Andrew Phiri

Abstract

This study sought to contribute to the growing empirical literature by investigating the effects of FDI on per capita GDP growth for South Africa using time series data collected between 1970 and 2016. Compared to the majority of previous studies, we use quantile regressions which investigates the effects of FDI on economic growth at different distributional quantiles. Puzzling enough, the empirical results show that FDI has a negative influence on welfare at extremely low quantiles whereas at other levels this effect turns insignificant. Contrary, the effects of domestic investment on welfare is positive and significant at all levels. Collectively, these results have important implications for policymakers in South Africa.

Open access

Osayuwamen Omoruyi

Abstract

Logistics among competing organisations is a strategic management activity that can affect the operational, market and financial performance of an organisation. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) need to understand the role of logistics activities in achieving competitive performance and creating a high level of customer satisfaction through greater economies of scale in production and reduction in the price of goods. This study aims to determine the nature and extent of SMEs competitiveness through logistics activities. This research used a quantitative method of data collection and analysis. The data were statistically analysed using SPSS (25.0) as well as SMART-PLS (3.0) software for structural equation modelling (SEM) to assess the measurement reliability and the research structural model. The findings show that SMEs nature and extent of competitiveness based on logistics activities differs among the three measurement constructs, namely price/cost competitiveness, quality competitiveness and delivery competitiveness. This study adds value to the knowledge of the perceived benefits and importance of logistics activities among the participating SMEs.

Open access

Danie Francois Meyer, Chama Chipeta and Richard Thabang Mc Camel

Abstract

Price stability supports accelerated economic growth (GDP), thus the main objective of most central banks is to ensure price stability. The South African economy is experiencing a unique monetary policy dilemma, where a high inflation rate is accompanied by high interest rates and low GDP. This is an unconventional monetary policy scenario and may hold strenuous repercussions for the South African economy. This dilemma was held as the rationale behind this study. The study investigated the effectiveness of the use of the repo rate as an instrument to facilitate price stability and GDP in South Africa. Long-run, short-run and casual relationships between interest rates, inflation and GDP were therefore analyzed. The methodology is based on an econometric process which included a Johansen co-integration test, with a Vector Error Correction model (VECM). Casual relationships were also tested using Granger causality tests. Results of the Johansen Co-integration test indicated the presence of co-integrating long-run relationships between the variables and a significant and negative long-run relationship between the repo rate and inflation rate was revealed, whereas GDP and inflation rate exhibited a significant and positive long-run relationship. The study also found short-run relationships between inflation and GDP, but not for inflation and the repo rate. Further areas of potential research may fixate towards the assessment of other significant alternative policy tools which may be utilized by various countries’ monetary policy authorities to influence supply specific inflationary pressures led by the cost-push phenomena, especially in the short-run.