The Steinhoff Saga Management review - University of Stellenbosch Business School

January – June 2020

SU Research covid-19

Stellenbosch University’s Research and Innovation Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Corporate Communication Division, Stellenbosch University
  • JULY 2020


Why this report?

Stellenbosch University wants its research efforts to deliver on academic excellence as well as make a significant impact in the world. That is why advancing knowledge in service of society forms part of its vision and strategic framework.

As the Covid-19 pandemic is spreading around the world, it causes numerous challenges – also for South Africa. Stellenbosch University, in line with its strategic framework and the focus on research for impact, committed to contribute to global efforts to overcome the pandemic. The university’s researchers are currently involved in, and have now initiated, various research activities related to the pandemic.

This report provides a cross-cutting view of the research done by faculties, research centres and units at Stellenbosch University that can help to fight the consequences of Covid-19. The report also contains opinion pieces and articles by academics to help us make sense of the pandemic. The academics who contributed to this report include a number of USB’s lecturers.

The report is structured into four sections:

  • Section A: Published inventions that may have a possible applicability to Covid-19
  • Section B: Completed SU research projects related to Covid-19
  • Section C: Ongoing research projects at SU with a relevance to Covid-19
  • Section D: Articles and opinion pieces by SU academics (up to 6 April 2020).

The report will remain work-in-progress over the weeks and months to come, as more research is initiated in this area.

Contribution by USB’s lecturers

  • Dr Nicky Terblanché, head of USB’s MPhil in Management Coaching programme: The role of executive coaching in supporting leadership during a pandemic. The aim of this research is to investigate the challenges faced by organisational leaders and executive coaches during the Covid-19 pandemic, the strategies they employ to cope with the challenges and to what extent organisational leaders draw on their learning from the executive coaching they received during this time. The result will include a conceptual framework and practical guidelines of leadership and executive coaching during a pandemic. See Section C, p. 8.
  • Seraj Toefy, custodian of entrepreneurship at USB: Entrepreneurs hit hard by Coronavirus – ways to stay afloat. This article provides practical advice to small business owners to stay afloat during the pandemic. See Section D, p. 27.
  • Prof Arnold Smit, Associate Professor of Business in Society: Virus and values. This opinion piece unpacks five moral values that we all have in common. These values, says Prof Smit, are the essence of what makes us human, and should be upheld at all costs during these difficult times in our society. See Section D, p. 29.
  • Dr Morne Mostert, Institute for Futures Research: New future with and after Corona. Change to the traditional model of work has been hovering for quite some time. The virus has suddenly brought this about, putting millions at a distance from where they have to work and earn a living. Also, civil disobedience is entrenched in South Africa’s psyche, which is affecting the way the country deals with the pandemic. See Section D, p. 32.
  • Dr Lee-Ann Steenkamp, senior lecturer in taxation at USB: Covid-19 tax relief: a snapshot of what’s out there. Across the globe, many governments have been forced to lock down their countries in an attempt to curb the spread of Covid-19. A number of African countries have adopted similar measures. This has stalled, if not brought to a halt, economic activity, resulting in loss of income for businesses, workers and the self-employed. So which tax relief ideas are the best? The author sifts through the options and identifies ideas that could be useful examples to policy makers, including those in South Africa. See Section D, p. 34.
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