IIDE Proceedings 2011- Re-Integrating Technology And Economy In Human Life And Society ~ Volume I ~ Contents & Preface

IIDEPreface – See below
Lindile L. Ndabeni – Innovation Technology and the Challenges of Low- and Medium-tech SMEs: the Case of Forest Products SMEs
Sibonginkosi Mazibuko – People and Parks: Pro-poor Tourism and Small Enterprise Development in the Northern Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Daan F. Toerien – Ignorance and Disregard: the Banes of Sustainable Job Creation in South Africa
Lucius Botes – The Consequences of Small Business Development Support in South Africa: Applying the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework
Lochner Marais, Motshedisi Lephasa, Molefi Lenka, Johan Van Zyl – Business Support in South Africa: A Comparative Programme Evaluation
Aad Van Tilburg, Emma Kambewa – Can the Conflicting Interests of Small-scale Primary Producers and Consumers be Reconciled in Value Chains? The Case of Nile Perch and Rooibos Tea
Gerben Nooteboom, Mario Rutten – Magic Bullets in Development: Assumptions, Teleology and the Popularity of Three Solutions to End Poverty
Henk Jochemsen – Towards Sustainable Food Production: a Normative Analysis of Agrarian Practice
Sytse Strijbos in conversation with Darek Haftor – Re-Integrating Technology and Economy in Human Life and Society: the Past, Present and Future of the IIDE-Research

Information about the International Institute for Development and Ethics
Information about the Annual Working Conferences

Since 2009 a group of authors from South Africa and the Netherlands have been cooperating in a project on issues of (small) entrepreneurship and development. What follows is a selection of nine research papers that have been presented and discussed in local seminars organized by the International Institute for Development and Ethics(IIDE) at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, and/or at the 16th and 17th Annual Working Conferences of the IIDE. The first six papers, mainly authored by (South) African scholars contain an interesting variety of empirical studies, while the following three papers from Dutch researchers have a theoretical focus and a reflective character. This categorization of the papers in empirical studies and theoretical reflections is useful to introduce each of them briefly: Read more

Bookmark and Share

IIDE Proceedings 2011 ~ Vol.I ~ Innovation Technology And The Challenges Of Low- And Medium-Tech SMEs: The Case Of Forest Products SMEs

Photo: impacttrust.org.za

Photo: impacttrust.org.za

Low- and medium-tech (LMT) small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can be described as low research and development (R & D) performers. In this sector, innovation tends to occur but not on the basis of R & D results. By contrast, innovation in the sector is driven mainly by incremental product change rather than by the application or commercialisation of R & D. Nonetheless, technological upgrading in low- and medium-tech SMEs remains important as such firms can become competitive in the long run and therefore become a potential basis for further economic development. More significant are the large proportions of employment opportunities that are derived from the sector. Typically, the LMT sector deserves particular attention from both researchers and policy makers.

Indeed, the low- and medium-tech SME economy has the potential to stimulate endogenous growth through innovation. Policy attention should therefore focus on supporting and fostering innovation in the sector in order to ensure the greater probability of the survival of the enterprises, with employment opportunities as a positive consequence. More specifically, innovation policy remains central to the success of the LMT economy as this will increase the innovation capacities of LMT enterprises. The objective in this chapter is to explore the development challenges of low- and medium-tech SMEs. The chapter as a whole is structured into four sections of material. The first section introduces the national system of innovation and provides the conceptual framework of the chapter. The second section describes the low- and medium-tech SMEs. The third strand of material focuses on forest-products and is aimed at enhancing our analysis of the LMT sector. The fourth section focuses on the technological challenges of experienced by the low- and medium-tech SME sector.

The National System of Innovation
This particular section introduces the national system of innovation as a conceptual framework in this chapter. The main reason for focusing on the national system of innovation has to do with the fact that most public policies influencing innovation processes or the economy as a whole are still designed and implemented at the national level. The importance of the national system of innovation has partly to do with the fact that such a focus captures the importance of the policy aspects of innovation. It also enables us to identify the boundaries of the system of innovation spatially, sectorally, and in terms of activities (Edquist, 2005). Typically, a sectoral innovation system has to do with a group of firms active in developing and making the sector’s products and generating and utilising the sector’s technologies. A stronger focus on activities increases our knowledge and capacity for explaining the processes of innovation. This may be through asking certain relevant questions, which include which activities of which organisations are important for the development, diffusion or use of specific innovations (Edquist, 2005). The section draws heavily on the works of Fagerberg, Mowery and Nelson (2005).

According to Edquist (2005), a “national system of innovation” refers to the network of institutions in the public and private sectors whose activities and interactions initiate, import and diffuse new technologies. The structure of production and the institutional set-up jointly define the system of innovation. The national innovation systems approach emphasises the importance of strong linkages among these various institutions in improving national innovative and competitive performance (Mowery and Sampat, 2005). Increased inter-institutional collaboration is a characteristic of modern innovation systems. It is implicit in this definition that firms seldom innovate in isolation. Interaction with customers, suppliers, competitors and various other private and public organisations is very important, and a systems perspective is useful in understanding and analysing such interactions (Edquist, 2005).

The main components of systems of innovation are organisations and institutions. These organisations and institutions form the components of systems which are critical in the creation and commercialisation of knowledge (Edquist, 2005). Organisations are important in promoting the creation and dissemination of knowledge as the main sources of innovation (Edquist, 2005). However, and more importantly, the behaviour of organisations is further shaped by institutions such as laws, rules, norms, and routines that constitute incentives to and obstacles against innovation. Read more

Bookmark and Share

IIDE Proceedings 2011 ~ Vol.I ~ People And Parks: Pro-Poor Tourism And Small Enterprise Development In The Northern Drakensberg, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa

100412ProcAWC 2011 Vol 1 final version-page-025

Figure 1: Map of AmaZizi – Source: Okhahlamba Local Municipality (OLM), Bergville

Introduction and background to nature conservation in South Africa
This chapter provides a critical analysis of the economic opportunities and barriers found around the conservation area of the Royal Natal National Park in the northern Drakensberg. The chapter argues that the park and the tourism industry present avenues for viable opportunities for the poor to engage in entrepreneurial practices at levels commensurate with their capital assets in order to reduce poverty and unemployment. However, the extent to which the poor access certain assets depends on a number of factors such as their own knowledge and attitudes, as well as the role of the institutions that govern the daily conduct of people’s lives.

Under the eras of colonialism and apartheid in South Africa, protected areas were largely proclaimed at the expense of the African populations that were forced to make way for them — sometimes with promises of economic benefits. This became the era of fences and fines against those forced out. The protected areas became the preserve of the privileged white minority to the exclusion of the black majority (Child 2004; White Paper 1994; Nkosi and Abbot 2002).

The history of conservation in South Africa is therefore characterised, among other things, by dispossession, exclusion, suppression, deprivation and marginalisation. Because of the racial character of past (conservation) policies, a foundation was laid for contestation, instead of beneficiation, between the parks and local communities, as well as for a sense of loss and poverty within those communities. Conservation areas became a “white man’s space”, as evidenced by the Kruger National Park (Honey 1999:340-344), despite the issuing of promises of economic benefits to the local communities, as the people were forcefully removed from some of these areas (Ramutsindela 2004:108; Bell 1997:95). To this day in South Africa, communities adjacent to conservation areas are largely characterised by mass poverty, unemployment and dependence on natural resources. Besides the low-skills jobs available to them, the selling of handicrafts in the informal sector represents the main form of entrepreneurial participation in tourism – as is the case among the AmaZizi of the northern Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal, on whom this article is based.

In the democratic dispensation, the South African government (in the White Paper on the Development and Promotion of Tourism 1996) promotes tourism as one of the routes to job creation and sustainable development. The White Paper states that tourism in South Africa has the potential to generate R40 billion per year and create no less than two million jobs. Nature conservation authorities such as the KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife have also responded to the challenges through the introduction of a community levy where part of the income from the conservation areas is made available to the adjacent communities. Though the concept of the community levy is laudable, it may create unhealthy dependency on the conservation areas by the local communities. It is in this regard that alternatives such as entrepreneurship development are considered. But again, is it possible to identify specific sectors and means by which tourism benefits can be maximised in order to contribute to poverty reduction and unemployment, especially among the AmaZizi in the northern Drakensberg?
The constitutional requirement for South African municipalities to adopt a developmental character and the requirement to implement policies of local economic development, for example, create the necessary institutional framework to provide the poor with opportunities to engage in entrepreneurial activities without necessarily competing with established business. Read more

Bookmark and Share

IIDE Proceedings 2011 ~ Vol.I ~ Ignorance And Disregard: The Banes Of Sustainable Job Creation In South Africa

Photo: imostatefocus.com

Photo: imostatefocus.com

One of the legacies of the apartheid years in South Africa is a persistently high unemployment rate. Since the 1970s South Africa’s performance in dealing with persistent unemployment has been dismal (Du Toit and Koekemoer 2003: 49). This is so despite the fact that the ANC, South Africa’s premier political party, committed itself in 2009 to five priorities – education, health, rural development, the fight against crime, and creating decent work (ANC Today 2009: 1).

Why does unemployment remain so high? Du Plessis and Smit (2007: 1) suggest South Africa experienced ‘jobless’ growth in the 1990s but Bhorat and Cassim (2004: 15) reject this contention. They state: ‘The initial data here make it plain that the economy did not experience an absolute decline in employment. Put differently, applying the notion of  “jobless growth” to characterise post-1995 employment trends is simply wrong. However, it is important to note that while we did not have jobless growth in this period, we have clearly had “poor employment growth”. Whatever the precise cause, it is clear that employment did not increase in step with expectations, a huge problem given the high expectations in a new democratic South Africa.’
Many reasons have been cited for poor or jobless growth in South Africa (Du Plessis and Smit 2007: 13-5). These include labour market inflexibility and new labour legislation enacted after 1994 (Barker, 2003: 226-7; Burger and Woolard 2005: 3), a mismatch between the required skills levels, the labour force, and employment opportunities (Burger and Woolard 2005; 21-2; Pauw Oosthuizen and Van der Westhuizen 2008: 45-57), concerns over a perceived increase in the capital intensity of production (Bhorat and Oosthuizen 2006; 239-40; Pauw Oosthuizen and Van der Westhuizen 2008: 45-57), increased concentration in the manufacturing sector (Fedderke and Szalontai 2003: 1), sectoral changes in demand (Bhorat and Oosthuizen 2006: 246; Banerjee et al. 2006: 1-26) and the impacts of the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in South Africa (Arndt and Lewis 2000: 11; Ford, Lewis and Bates 2002: 10-17).
No one of these explanations relates to the dominant strategic position of South African enterprises or the overall nature of the technology used in the country. It is the contention of this chapter that these two issues are ignored (or perhaps even willfully disregarded) in South Africa, thereby contributing to an inability to understand the essential nature of the persistent unemployment problem. The aim of the chapter is, therefore, to demonstrate that ignorance and/or disregard of the importance of strategic positioning and the nature of the technology applied could result in a systemic inability to overcome the unemployment problems.

To develop the line of reasoning, two fundamental choices of entrepreneurs about strategic positioning and the nature of technology are firstly linked to some seminal thinking. Then a metaphor, namely the playing field, is used to further elucidate these issues. The South African economy is positioned in terms of the playing field and is followed by an analysis of what happens to commodity-producers and workers during globalisation. The South African agricultural industry is used to sketch the dynamics of this process. Reference is made to the ‘Château Margaux paradox’ before the South African wine industry is used as an example of a sustainable low-tech industry. The implications and consequences of the ignorance and disregard of strategic positioning and the nature of technology are then discussed in detail, including the conundrum of balancing the production of commodities, earning foreign exchange, and job creation/destruction. Finally a broad solution is offered for consideration in South Africa and elsewhere. Read more

Bookmark and Share

IIDE Proceedings 2011~ Re-Integrating Technology And Economy In Human Life And Society ~ Volume II ~ Contents & Preface


Preface – See below
Information about the International Institute for Development and Ethics – See below
Information about the Conference Proceedings – See below
Andrew Basden & Hawah Ahmad: Down-to-earth issues in (mandatory) IS use: Part I – Types of Issue
Hawah Ahmad & Andrew Basden: Down-to-earth issues in (mandatory) IS use: Part II – Approach to understand multiple meaning and reveal hidden issues
Samira Atashi & Andrew Basden: Investigating the effects of IS development ethical issues on information systems units
Pieter Lems, Noelle Aarts & Cees van Woerkum: Dealing with differences in framing in multi – actor interactions in water management
Fabian von Scheele & Darek Haftor: Cognitive Distortion Accounted Workload in Service Operations
Sina Joneidy & Andrew Basden: Exploring Dooyeweerd’s aspects for understanding perceived usefulness of information systems
Krishnan Harihara, Subramanian: “Using Dooyweerd’s Aspects to Enrich our Understanding of Idolatry”

This Volume II, of the 2011 Proceedings of the 17th Annual Working Conference of the International Institute for Development and Ethics, offers seven research papers. Two common items of the first five papers is that they all address various issues of information and communication technology use and that their investigation rests upon Herman Dooyeweerd’s theory of multiple aspects of reality. While the remaining two papers focus inter-human communication and time in human operation, respectively, all seven papers presented here deal with normative aspects of human affairs – in that sense all contributions here address human interest in our world. The papers are introduced shortly, as they appear, in the following.

Andrew Basden and Hawah Ahmad, with their “Down-to-earth issues in (mandatory) IS use: Part I – Types of Issue”, contribute to the discourse about those kinds of information systems that are mandatory in use. Their starting point is that “use is not serviceable as a guide to evaluating the quality of such use as experienced by stakeholders”, as many “down-to-earth issues that are crucial to such quality are overlooked”. They suggest that a new approach is required, which is based on what is meaningful in everyday life, that in turn may be comprehended by means of H. Dooyeweerd’s notion of multiple modalities of human existence. They conclude that such an approach “provides a philosophical underpinning for not only understanding the nature of down-to-earth issues, nor just showing their diversity, but also for explaining why the notion of DTE issues is needed for analysis and understanding of IS use.” Read more

Bookmark and Share

IIDE Proceedings 2011 ~ Vol. 2 ~ Down-To-Earth Issues In (Mandatory) Is Use; Part I – Types Of Issue

The extant discourse about mandatory IS use is not serviceable as a guide to evaluating the quality of such use as experienced by stakeholders. Many ‘down-to-earth’ issues that are crucial to such quality are overlooked. A new approach is required, which is based on what is meaningful in everyday life of use rather than on the abstractions used in academic discourse. Reasons why these abstractions are unhelpful are discussed and Dooyeweerd’s notion of modal aspects is proposed as a foundation for developing more serviceable approaches.

Down-To-Earth, Mandatory Use, Dooyeweerd’s aspects

1. Introduction
In the era of technology, many organisations have made substantial investments in information system (IS) with the intention of increasing organisational performance. So the success or quality of IS use is often linked closely to the extent to which it contributes to organisational life, and IS use is one the important areas to be considered by management when implementing or evaluating any IS (DeLone& McLean, 1992; Venkatesh,et al., 2003).
Since the link with organisational performance is complex, broad concepts are often employed in an attempt to understand it. A common example is the extent to which an organisation deploys IT to support operational and strategic tasks (Ives &Jarvenpaa, 1991), and this is the key consequent variable in Davis’ (1989) technology acceptance model (TAM). IS use was among the most frequently used measured of success in 1992 and remained so for at least a decade (DeLone and McLean, 2003). Articles on IS use constitute around one third of the total publication space in the top IS journals, MIS Quarterly and IS Research (Barki, et al., 2007).
There are two problems. Much of this discourse is irrelevant when considering mandatory IS use (MISU) since the use is by definition 100%. So alternative concepts have been suggested, such as ‘intention to use’, which is the secondary output of TAM.Later many studies specifically focused on mandatory IS use (Ram & Jung, 1991; Lou, et al., 1995; Singletary, et al., 2002; Adamson & Shine, 2003; Ward, et al., 2005; Linders, 2006; Hennington, 2007; Lee & Park, 2008).

So why should there be yet another paper on mandatory IS use? The second problem with extant discourse, even on MISU, is that it doesn’t sufficiently express the reality of IS use on the ground.

Despite huge research in IS usage area, the use of the system is still not well understood (Mishra &Agarwal, 2009). Is it only a matter of time and incremental effort before IS use is understood? Yousafzai (2007) has collected 70 constructs related to perceived usefulness in IS use, so is it possible that IS use may be understood by rationalising them? Barki [2008] suggests four approaches to properly understanding the constructs, including defining them clearly, specifying dimensions and relationships, exploring their application to other contexts, and expanding their conceptualizaton.
Whilst such approaches might indeed help towards understanding of IS use, the present situation is reminiscent of some scientific endeavours that Kuhn (1970) observed that had reached a stage ready for paradigm shift. After a long period of incremental correction of previous views, an increasing sense of misfit between experienced reality and theories leads to a new approach to the area of reality, a new paradigm. The primary reason for this paper is to suggest a new way of looking at IS use; this focuses on what might be called down-to-earth (DTE) issues of mandatory IS use. The approach can perhaps be extended to non-mandatory IS use, so “MISU” is often rendered as “(M)ISU”.

In this paper, quality of IS use is conceived more broadly and yet also, paradoxically, in a more precise way, because of a pluralistic approach. In most literature, ‘good’ (or successful, beneficial, high quality) IS use is conceived in terms of the organisation whereas this paper also takes into account the individuals who live and work with, or are affected by, the IS. In most literature, the notion of ‘good’ is located in abstracted, predefined variables like amount of usage, intention to use or perceived usefulness (Davis, 1989), and the plethora of ‘external variables’ encountered in actual experience of IS use [Yousafzai 2007] are deemed meaningful only insofar as they contribute to the predefined variables. This paper reverses this, treating this plethora of ‘external variables’ as that which is truly meaningful, and the supposed abstract variables are defined by reference to, and as an outcome of, what occurs in everyday experience of IS use. In most literature ‘good’ IS use is seen as a goal to which everyday experience should be designed to contribute while in this paper, the ‘good’ is seen as an outcome of that everyday IS use. Most extant research in issues of IS use has been of a positivist nature; this paper takes a more interpretivist approach. Most literature focuses on issues of interest to researchers and the academic or management communities, whereas this paper focuses on issues that are meaningful to users and others who experience the IS in use. Read more

Bookmark and Share

  • About

    Rozenberg Quarterly aims to be a platform for academics, scientists, journalists, authors and artists, in order to offer background information and scholarly reflections that contribute to mutual understanding and dialogue in a seemingly divided world. By offering this platform, the Quarterly wants to be part of the public debate because we believe mutual understanding and the acceptance of diversity are vital conditions for universal progress. Read more...
  • Support

    Rozenberg Quarterly does not receive subsidies or grants of any kind, which is why your financial support in maintaining, expanding and keeping the site running is always welcome. You may donate any amount you wish and all donations go toward maintaining and expanding this website.

    10 euro donation:

    20 euro donation:

    Or donate any amount you like:

    ABN AMRO Bank
    Rozenberg Publishers
    IBAN NL65 ABNA 0566 4783 23
    reference: Rozenberg Quarterly

    If you have any questions or would like more information, please see our About page or contact us: info@rozenbergquarterly.com
  • Like us on Facebook

  • Follow us on Twitter

  • Recent articles

  • Rozenberg Quarterly categories