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Horizontal linkages : its impact on the competitiveness of small manufacturers in the clothing industry in Port Elizabeth

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dc.contributor.author Van Laar CE en
dc.date.accessioned 2016-09-22T06:30:53Z
dc.date.available 2016-09-22T06:30:53Z
dc.date.created 1998 en
dc.date.submitted 2001 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11892/5113
dc.description.abstract With the advent of a democratic government, the South African economy has become part of the global village. As much as South Africa is undergoing internal changes to its own economic structure, so is the world and the way in which international trade is transacted. Competing in a world market has changed business requirements and competition has become increasingly important. The clothing industry is presently going through a particular difficult period in its history and faces major challenges to ensure its future success. As the most labour intensive manufacturing sector, it is believed that the clothing industry can play an important role in economic development and social upliftment through the promotion of small, medium and micro enterprises. This research has aimed to explore the impact of horizontal linkages on the ability of small manufacturers in the clothing industry in Port Elizabeth to enhance their competitiveness. The research study was conducted in two stages, which included both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Firstly, an exploratory qualitative study using the Delphi method was employed to identify the key problems currently being experienced small manufacturers in the clothing industry. The data was obtained through responses from individuals who are acknowledged authorities in the area of small business development. This was used to select the key variables for inclusion in the structured questionnaire administered in stage two. A key observation to emerge from the qualitative research is that significant differences were evident between the responses of academics, professionals in small business development and small business owners. An analysis of the problems experienced by small manufacturers in the clothing industry revealed that high labour costs and low productivity were the frontrunners. The data revealed diverse definitions for clustering, which corresponds with the findings of the Small Business Project (1999) that there are many interpretations and applications of clustering in the international literature. The lack of knowledge was cited as the most important problem preventing the wide scale implementation of horizontal clustering. Another key observance to emerge from the quantitative study is the fact that very few significant differences are evident between the two groups viz. small business owners and experts. The smallness of the sample could be a contributing factor and these issues need to be further researched. The research indicated that although in the minority, horizontal linkages exist between small clothing manufacturers in Port Elizabeth. The results indicated furthermore that the majority of small clothing manufacturers in Port Elizabeth are willing to consider collaboration relationships. The attitudinal data revealed that small business owners are satisfied that linkages benefit the participating firms and thereby displayed a positive attitude towards horizontal linkages. In regards to the role of training institutions, government and intermediaries in promoting clustering, diverse results were produced with a substantial percentage of neutral respondents. This is probably due to the fact that, as clustering is still a new concept, the respondents are unsure of what the role of these organizations should be. The lack of knowledge about clustering was confirmed to be the main problem preventing the wide scale implementation of clustering. The respondents were in accordance with the fact that the education of small businesses concerning the benefits of linkages represents-the most likely solution to the identified problems. Based on the findings of the qualitative and quantitative studies as well as the related literature, a number of recommendations have been formulated: Firstly, business owners need to be persuaded that there are both individual and collective gains to be derived from clustering. Demonstrated success is crucial to strengthen relationships and attract new firms into the cluster. Secondly, when promoting clusters the emphasis should be on a demand-side approach: Firms should take the initiative themselves to generate market demand and should be allowed to co-operate and compete. Thirdly, accepting that government support is important, the emphasis should be on government playing a facilitating role. Lastly, support institutions should playa role in the development of clusters. Trade bodies and associations have a practical function to fulfill in grouping firms together and complementing the informal cluster processes in which firms engage. The study concluded with some recommendations for further research. Although there are many examples of clusters around the world, research in this area is fairly recent. Clusters and clustering are terms that have been applied to a vast range of different situations and there are many interpretations and applications of clustering in the international literature. en
dc.language English en
dc.subject Business economics en
dc.subject Production management en
dc.title Horizontal linkages : its impact on the competitiveness of small manufacturers in the clothing industry in Port Elizabeth en
dc.type Masters degree en
dc.description.degree MTech en


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