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    Christian stewardship for South African business leaders : a public practical theological study

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    MTh (Pastoral Studies), North-West University, Potchefstroom CampusThis study ultimately seeks to contribute to the field of development aimed at Christian stewardship for business leaders involved in sustainable development from a public practical theological perspective. The methodology was guided by Osmer’s (2008) model for doing practical theological research, which was considered appropriate for this study as it enabled the researcher to answer the study’s research questions. This approach comprises a descriptive empirical task (what is going on?), an interpretive task (why is this going on?), a normative task (what ought to be going on?), and a pragmatic task (how might we respond?) The investigation is driven by four main questions, namely: * What are the current problems South Africa and South African business leaders are facing in terms of attaining sustainable development goals? * Why are South Africa and South African business leaders struggling to meet the sustainable development goals? * What can a reimagining of Christian stewardship as found in Scripture, church traditions, history, and other disciplines offer South African business leaders to attain the sustainable development goals? * How will a public practical theological reimagining of Christian stewardship empower South African business leaders to attain the sustainable development goals more effectively? The study includes an investigation of Scriptural passages that point to the role and responsibility of Christian stewards (Ex 20:1-3; Gen 9:1-3; 1 Cor 4:1-2; 1 Pet 4:8-11), reminding us that we must have no other gods but God, and that our true identity and purpose, as well as our gifts received from God, are to glorify God through Jesus Christ. Furthermore, we must minister these to one another with fervent love. The study intends to contribute to the field of public practical theology, specifically focusing on sustainable development. This study has recognised the potential of a reimagined Christian stewardship as a new paradigm for business leaders working towards SD from a public practical theological paradigm.Master

    Individual, household, and community-level predictors of modern contraceptive use among black women in South Africa

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    MSocSc (Population Studies and Sustainable Development), North-West University, Mahikeng CampusBackground: The main objective of the study is to determine the multilevel determinants of modern contraceptive use among sexually active black women in South Africa. Modern contraceptive use is a global social problem and affects women. Therefore, in this study, modern contraceptive includes women’s educational status, employment status, marital status, provinces, and parity. Methods: This study utilises secondary data from the 2016 South Africa Demographic and Health Survey to examine the multilevel determinants of modern contraceptive use among sexually active black women in South Africa. The following analyses were conducted, the univariate analyses, which includes frequencies, as well as the bivariate analysis. The bivariate analysis included a chi-square test to test the association between the selected independent variables and the dependent variable. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to measure the relationship between the selected factors and the outcome variable. Results: The findings of the study confirmed that age, marital status, level of education, parity and province were statistically associated with modern contraceptive use. In terms of parity, the findings indicated that the prevalence of modern contraception increased with parity. Women with no parity had (48.0%) prevalence of modern contraception, those in one-to-two parity had (60.6%) and those with three plus had (65.4%) prevalence of modern contraception. In terms of exposure to family planning messages, women that had no exposure to family planning messages had (60.3%) prevalence to modern contraception than women who had exposure to family planning messages with (58.3%). With regards to household wealth, women from well-to-do households had high prevalence of contraceptive use(61.5%), followed by those in the average household wealth (58.7%) and those in the poor household wealth had the least (59.5%) prevalence of modern contraception. The findings also showed that women from urban areas had higher prevalence (60.2%) of modern contraception than those in rural areas (59.5%). The findings further illustrated that sexually active black women less than age twenty 1.84 [95% CI: 1.27-2.65], and those in their twenties 1.32 [95% C.I: 1.09-1.59] had higher odds of using modern contraception compared to those in their thirties (aged 30-39). Women aged 40-49 had lower odds [AOR 0.51, 95% C.I: 0.42-0.63] of using modern contraception compared to those aged 30-39.In terms of level of education, women with secondary education or more had higher odds [AOR 1.57, 95% C.I: 1.23-2.0] of using modern contraception compared to those with primary education. Moreover, the findings showed that the use of modern contraception increased with parity. Women with zero parity had the lower odds [AOR 0.19, 95% CI: 0.15- 0.26] of using modern contraception compared to those with parity three or more. Women with parity one-to-two had lower odds [AOR 0.53, 95% C.I: 0.44-0.64] of using modern contraception compared to those with parity three and more. Conclusion: Several strategies could play a role in increasing modern contraceptive use among black women in South Africa. These strategies could include (a) enhancing women’s skills and encouraging them to finish their basic education, (b) empowering women through the creation of jobs opportunities, especially those from poor backgrounds as a way to increase modern contraceptive use.Master

    Guiding framework for female entrepreneurial identity development in South Africa

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    DBA, North-West University, Potchefstroom CampusAlthough South Africa is recognised as being the second largest economy in Africa, it is constrained by rising unemployment. Entrepreneurship plays a pivotal role in achieving inclusive economic participation, renewed economic vibrancy and overall economic growth for South Africa, as women are considered to be societal- and economic change agents. Although there has been an increase in female entrepreneurship activity over recent years, lower levels of education and confidence, domestic responsibilities, balancing work and family roles, lower societal status, and cultural biases present a Pandora’s box of challenges for female entrepreneurs. The recurrent themes in women-owned businesses relate to solo entrepreneurship, low profit margins, vulnerability to market disruptions and economic shocks, which hinder business start-up and growth possibilities. Research has found that founder-identity shapes the market opportunities that individuals pursue, as well as the capabilities and resources they deploy to bring their ideas to fruition.This study aimed to cast a light on the interaction between female entrepreneurial identity and business aspirations and success, with the ultimate objective of developing a guiding framework for female entrepreneurial identity in South Africa, as a catalyst for bringing about a shift in aspirations. To understand the drivers of female entrepreneurship identity and its contribution to the creation of value-creating businesses, an international study was undertaken in South Africa and the Netherlands. The complex nature of the study was characterised by two separate social realities, namely subjectivist and objectivist assumptions. Therefore, as a balanced approach, two methodological research approaches, including the interpretivist paradigm and the radical structuralist paradigm, were adopted.The research commenced with an interpretivist phase, incorporating a systematic literature review (SLR) and semi-structured interviews, followed by a structuralist phase, in the form of an objective, structured questionnaire to determine female entrepreneurs’ attitudes, opinions, behaviours and characteristics. The SLR resulted in the development of a conceptual model for female entrepreneurial identity, which was validated by means of a statistical model, substantiated by the findings from the semi-structured interviews and the results of the questionnaire.The study found that identity development is a dynamic, iterative process of ‘becoming’, with a complex interaction between self- and social constructs, which deeply impacts identity authenticity or dissonance and the approaches that are adopted to achieve an appropriate intersection between feminism and entrepreneurial identity. The study highlighted that women’s entrepreneurial confidence is influenced by context, and that a stronger social identity contributes to women experiencing increased entrepreneurial authenticity; while belonging to groups and having strong networks positively influence female founders’ entrepreneurial confidence and their occupational self-concept, business aspirations and success.Finally, a guiding framework for female entrepreneurial identity development in South Africa was developed through the triangulation of the findings from the SLR, the semi-structured interviews and the results of the self-administered questionnaire. The framework provides guidelines for the development of higher levels of female entrepreneurial identity development, while also recommending policies aimed at supporting female entrepreneurship in South Africa.Doctora

    “Wisdom” and “toil” in the Royal Experiment of Ecclesiastes 1:12 – 2:26 : a grammatico-historical study

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    MTh (Old Testament), North-West University, Potchefstroom CampusIn recent years, numerous studies have attempted to approach the book of Ecclesiastes using different methodologies. This has resulted in various interpretations. This is also the case for smaller parts of Ecclesiastes, such as Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:26, known in the vernacular as “the Royal Experiment”. This study contributes to the interpretation of the Royal Experiment by examining two of its key concepts, namely “wisdom” and “toil”, which have not received enough study up to date. The main research question is: “What is the meaning and function of ‘wisdom’ and ‘toil’ in the Royal Experiment of Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:26?” In order to answer this question, this study employs a literature study on the introductory questions to Ecclesiastes, word study of concepts “wisdom” and “toil” and grammatico-historical exegesis of Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:26. The study begins with historical reconstruction and verbal meaning. The use and function of the concepts “wisdom” and “toil” is studied in other biblical and extra-biblical texts. Subsequently, thorough exegesis is done of Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:26. Ultimately this study moves from historical reconstruction and verbal meaning to the theocentric message of the Royal Experiment of Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:26 in terms of “wisdom” and “toil”. The preliminary hypothesis is that the Royal Experiment in terms of “wisdom” and “toil” demonstrates that a human being is not to know the meaning of life through empirical experience, but to enjoy life as a gift from the hand of God. To formulate it in another way using the words of Ecclesiastes: The concepts “wisdom” and “toil” in the Royal Experiment ...Master

    The affordances of ethnomathematical perspectives in pre-service Mathematics teacher education at selected universities in South Africa

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    PhD (Mathematics Education), North-West University, Potchefstroom CampusThe rationale for this study was to investigate the affordances of ethnomathematical perspectives in pre-service mathematics teacher education at selected universities in South Africa. Over the past decades, researchers have shown that mathematics teachers lack awareness of ethnomathematics approaches and how they can be integrated into the classroom. Among the possible reasons for the teachers’ insufficient pedagogical knowledge in ethnomathematics is that pre-service mathematics teacher education is not adequately preparing student teachers in ethnomathematics. Consequently, the study sought to answer the research question: What are the affordances of ethnomathematical perspectives in pre-service mathematics teacher education? Through this question, the study explored, among others, teacher educators’, an expert’s and student teachers’ understanding and perceptions of ethnomathematics, and how mathematics education modules prepare student teachers for ethnomathematics. Furthermore, the ethnomathematics intervention was conducted to scaffold, and enhance student teachers’ professional development through practical ways in which they can integrate ethnomathematics in their prospective classrooms. The study adopted a multiple case study, which involved a total of 24 participants (6 teacher educators, an ethnomathematics expert, and 17 student teachers) in pre-service mathematics teacher education from three selected universities in South Africa. Semi-structured interviews were employed to collect data from teacher educators, the ethnomathematics expert and student teachers. In addition, a pre-intervention questionnaire and focus group interviews were adopted to collect data from student teachers’ participants. Document analysis also served as a data collection method. Ethnomathematics intervention was used to scaffold student teachers’ professional development on ethnomathematics pedagogies. As a result of COVID-19 and time constraints, the intervention was conducted in one of the three selected universities. Engeström's (1987) third-generation Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) was adopted in the second stage of data analysis to provide insight on challenges that either promote or prevent the integration of ethnomathematics. The findings of this study revealed, amongst others, that ethnomathematics may enhance learners’ understanding of abstract mathematics concepts; there is a lack of focus on ethnomathematics in pre-service mathematics education; and the need to prepare student teachers in ethnomathematics to change their mindset about the nature of mathematics. Further findings revealed that a lack of contextualised mathematics textbooks, technology approaches, and time constraints are some of the factors that could hinder effective integration of ethnomathematical perspectives in mathematics classrooms. With regard to technology approaches, it was found that the 21st century classrooms are characterised by learners who are technologically driven and, as such, using ethnomathematics may possibly be irrelevant to them. Recommendations for curriculum material development, pre-service and in-service mathematics teacher education; and future research in terms of intervention workshops and student teachers’ actual classroom practices were suggested.Doctora

    Weather derivatives as a risk management tool for maize farmers in South Africa

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    MCom (Risk Management), North-West University, Potchefstroom CampusThis study evaluates the value of rainfall options as a yield risk management tool in order to assess the viability of weather derivatives in the South African agricultural sector. Recent developments provide the potential of reducing agricultural risk factors through the introduction of derivatives based on weather variables. These instruments seem especially appealing because they are unaffected by asymmetric information and loss adjustment issues. Monthly rainfall averages combined with maize yield averages over a period of twenty years is used to find correlations between rainfall and yield. Through this discovery, it was possible to assess rainfall options as a risk management tool against yield risk for maize farmers in the water table soil area in the North-Western Free State. The concept, operation, and application of weather derivatives are mainly explained in this article. By weighing the advantages of rainfall options and recommending an option strategy as a yield risk management tool, the viability of using rainfall derivatives to control agricultural production risk in South Africa is assessed. Although weather derivatives have advantages over conventional insurances, the market for these instruments in South African agriculture is still limited. This is partially explained by the lack of clarity over whether, and to which extent weather derivatives can be used as a risk management tool in agriculture. To assess the risk-reducing benefit that can be obtained in maize production by adopting rainfall choices in South Africa, this study uses maize yield and weather data from North-Western Free State, which is the biggest maize producing province in South Africa (CEC, 2020). The contract design regulates the efficiency of hedging. . If pre-defined conditions associated with the underlying asset occur, one party (the investor) promises to make a financial commitment to another (the purchaser or contract owner). The writer receives an advance payment in exchange for this promise and the financial risk it entails. However, the farmer is still responsible for the geographical and basis risks. The study makes it possible to draw conclusions on the creation of weather derivatives. The issue raised here is pertinent to both farmers and potential sellers of weather derivatives. As capital markets, financial institutions, insurance companies, crop insurance companies, and hedge funds organize themselves to share and manage weather risks, the use of rainfall derivatives in South Africa is projected to rise in the future, thus the issue raised is pertinent to both farmers and potential weather derivative traders and underwriters.Master

    In vitro and in silico antimicrobial evaluation of N- methyl-2-phenylmaleimides

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    MSc (Pharmaceutical Chemistry), North-West University, Potchefstroom CampusDue to COVID-19, many other pandemics have been overlooked in the past few years. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a pandemic that have killed more people than Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and malaria in 2019 and ranked only behind COVID-19 and tuberculosis. In addition, it is estimated that the mortality rate due to AMR will increase to 10 million deaths by the year 2050. Despite the increase in AMR, it is now evident that there is a drastic decline in the development of novel antibiotics which further exacerbates the problem. While antibiotic stewardship as well as infection prevention is important to combat AMR, only novel antibiotics can treat resistant bacterial strains. Due to the high cost and attrition rates with regards to the development of new drugs, drug repurposing is increasingly being used to identify novel antibiotics. Maleimides (1H-pyrrole-2,5-dione) are a fusion of maleic acid and imides and have been found to exhibit antibacterial properties, however their antibacterial mechanism of action is unknown. Agirbas and co-workers (2007:2324) synthesised 2,3,5-substituted perhydropyrrolo[3,4-d]isoxazole-4,6-diones derivatives of maleimide and proved they had antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus faecalis. These derivatives are similar to a series of N-Methyl-2-phenyl-maleimide (1H-pyrrole-2,5-dione) (NMP) derivatives that were previously synthesised by our research group and tested for activity against monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B). The aim of this study was to firstly use computer aided drug design (CADD) to create and validate a pharmacophore model of the maleimide derivatives synthesised by Agirbas and co-workers (2007:2324). The pharmacophore model was validated using the enrichment value (EF), hit rate (HR) and the area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUC-ROC) curve as metrics. The validated pharmacophore model was used to estimate the probability of the NMP derivatives to also have antibacterial activity, whereafter the in vitro activity of the NMP derivatives was determined against Enterococcus faecium, S. aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Lastly, PharmMapper was used to conduct target fishing in an effort to identify potential antibacterial targets. A common feature pharmacophore model was created (rank score: 120.5; max. fit value: 4), which was able to accurately identify active analogues out of the decoy set (EF20%: 4.3, HR20%: 86.4%, AUC-ROC: 0.9 ± 0.03). Three hydrogen bond acceptors and a ring aromatic region was identified as important for in vitro antibacterial activity. The NMP compounds only had antibacterial activity against S. aureus. The most active compound, i.e., 3, had a minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 4 μg/ml, whilst the MIC of the other compounds ranged from 8 μg/ml to 16 μg/ml. Compound 5 was found to be bactericidal, whilst all other compounds were bacteriostatic. A statistically significant correlation was observed between the log P and the MIC of each compound, indicating that more lipophilic compounds have greater antibacterial activity. Using PharmMapper three possible antibacterial targets were identified, i.e., the malonyl coenzyme A (CoA)-acyl carrier protein (ACP) transacylase (MCAT), the signal peptidase I (SPase) and topoisomerase VI. Further investigation will be needed to confirm the PharmMapper findings.Master

    Assessing the role of trust in the relationship between servant leadership and work engagement of academic staff in selected South African universities

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    MBA, North-West University, Potchefstroom CampusContemporary South African society is experiencing moral bankruptcy, as is evident through persistent acts of crime and corruption in media reports. The higher education sector has not remained unscathed, with a lack of leadership leading to recent breakdowns in governance at multiple public universities in South Africa. A need exists for a leadership approach that serves the interest of others, promotes ethical behaviour, restores trust in the leader, and improves the work engagement of academic staff to counter corruption's adverse effects. This study aimed to assess the role of trust in the relationship between servant leadership and work engagement of academic staff in four selected South African universities. The study adopted a quantitative, cross-sectional design, using a non-probability convenience sample (n=206) to achieve the study’s objectives. The shortened servant leadership scale, the shortened Utrecht work engagement scale, and the trust in/loyalty to the leader scale were administered as measuring instruments. Descriptive statistics, exploratory factor analysis, correlation analysis, mediation and moderation analyses, and regression analysis were used to analyse the data. The findings of the study indicated a positive association between servant leadership, trust, and work engagement. Insignificant results were found to determine the mediating or moderating effect of trust in the relationship between servant leadership and work engagement. Servant leadership and trust were found to successfully predict the outcome of work engagement, with servant leadership being the dominant predictor. The limitations are identified, including recommendations to address limitations in future research. Practical recommendations are also provided for higher education institutions.Master

    A robust self-healing and intrusion detection model in software-defined wireless sensor networks

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    MSc (Computer Science), North-West University, Mahikeng CampusSoftware-defined wireless sensor network (SDWSN) is a networking model that brings software-defined networking (SDN) benefits such as effortlessness, innovation, and flexible network management and configuration to the wireless sensors network (WSN) world. However, the network model is still faced with several challenges in terms of security and reliability. The centralized controller, which is the “brain” of the network, is always the primary target of attacks and poses a single-point failure. A security compromise on the controller can result in access to vital users’ data, and network resources and may bring about the total failure of the SDWSN due to the absence of a robust self-healing ability. Though multi-controllers architecture is the rescuer, they are only cost-effective for large-scale SDN. Moreover, several solutions such as intrusion detection systems (IDS) and fault-tolerance (FT) mechanisms have been proposed and developed. However, research has shown that these solutions are disjointed in terms of implementation. This study considered the existing solutions as not cost-effective and therefore, seek for a viable solution that is both self-healing and attack-aware in the SDWSN. A comprehensive literature review of the FT mechanisms and IDSs has been conducted to bring together the state-of-the-art SDN, WSN, SDWSN, and machine learning algorithms, to gain insight into their challenges, strengths, and weaknesses for improvements. The literature review provided insight into the performances of both the replication scheme in the aspect of FT and the flow-based anomaly detection approach in terms of IDS. This study, therefore, proposed an integrated FT and ID model known as the Fault Tolerance-Intrusion Detection Model to detect faults and intrusions in the SDWSN together. FT and IDS mechanisms utilized the controller - OpenFlow network statistics collection technique to achieve their functions: opf_flow_stats_Request and opf_flow_stats_Reply. The system architecture for each model is designed and their components or functionalities are presented and discussed. In addition, the flow-based anomaly detector is machine learning based and to identify the best algorithm for a resilient controller, empirical analysis using four Machine learning models: support vector machine (SVM), logistic regression (LR), naïve Bayes (NB) and random forest (RF) is performed to determine classification accuracies and time efficiencies. The NSL-KDD dataset is used to train and test the model. Results of the model showed that the RF model outperformed all other models considered with an accuracy of 99% and 0.1 and 0.6 secs for training and testing time respectively, and performed well in terms of classification accuracy. The designed FaToID model was implemented in the SDWSN environment and its performance was evaluated using network latency and throughput with three controllers for FT while a DDoS dataset was used to evaluate the accuracy of the IDS. The simulation results showed a good and improved network delay and throughput for the FT mechanism in POX and default controllers compared to floodlight controllers. Moreover, the ID model showed about 98.7 % detection accuracy, 99.9 % specificity and sensitivity, 97 % precision and recall, and 96.8 % F-measure by the RF-based IDS model. Therefore, for SDWSN to be resilient, a model that incorporates both faults and attack detection must be in place to protect the network from all malicious attacks and unexpected faults that can result in access to network-sensitive resources and even failure. Integrating the proposed FaToID Model into the SDWSN model can significantly increase the dependability and resiliency of the SDWSNMaster

    Developing an Integrated Corporate Governance Model for Zimbabwe's SOES : the Case of Grain Marketing Board

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    PhD (Public Management and Governance), North-West University, Vanderbijlpark CampusEntrenching the best corporate practices in Zimbabwe’s state-owned enterprises has been on the governmental agenda for decades. Despite pockets of progress, transforming the fortunes of SOEs has remained obstructed by an unconducive political arena. In the advent of political and economic adversities, state-owned enterprises became entangled in the web of unaccountable and non-transparent governance that characterised most, if not all, of the country’s major public sector institutions. Consequently, a vicious circle of a strangled and poor-performing state enterprise sector dependent on and bailed out by the government emerged. Using Grain Marketing Board (GMB) as a case study, the research develops an integrated corporate governance model to redress corporate governance deficiencies within the country’s State-owned enterprises. The research is precipitated by the search for a more sustainable model to insulate the state-owned enterprises in Zimbabwe from political and economic catastrophes. Based on an interpretive and qualitative exploration of the GMB case, the research examined the corporate governance approaches and challenges of the country’s state enterprises. The research was grounded on the principle-agent and contingency theories to illuminate the angle adopted by the enquiry in reviewing the corporate governance phenomenon. The research further reflected on international best practices on corporate governance and the country’s experiences to establish the fundamental principles of good corporate governance. This provided a benchmark for assessing state enterprise governance practices in Zimbabwe. The model development strategy employed by the study entailed reviewing the data obtained from both academic and grey literature and then integrating the data with findings from fieldwork. The data mined from the field was based on the views of different corporate governance experts as well as key informants from GMB headquarters, and the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation. All participants in the study were purposively chosen. Data were analysed using content and thematic analysis techniques. The major research findings revealed that the current decentralised governance model in Zimbabwe’s state-owned enterprises was no longer fit for purpose. The model created multiplebut inefficient controls and accorded the Minister excessive powers. The existence of multiple and conflicting institutional actors accompanied by a political incursion from the Minister has birthed assorted types of corruption at state-owned enterprises and diminished the entities’ operational efficiency. The study also unearthed the indelible effects of the politico-economic ecology on state-owned enterprise governance and performance in Zimbabwe. Interestingly, the findings of the study coincided with the problem that necessitated the study, that, most state-owned enterprises are not abiding by the generally accepted standards of good corporate governance and have lost operational viability. This situation has caused the SOEs to depend heavily on the national fiscus. Cognisant of the ecological idiosyncrasies of state enterprise governance in Zimbabwe and the current governance challenges at the GMB, the research proposed an integrated corporate governance model that annihilates corruption and depoliticise the countries’ state-owned enterprises. The centralised model of governance entrusts the state enterprise ownership/ regulatory function to a specialised, Centralised Ownership Agency, independent from the government. The study proposed that the specialised agency work together with the parliament to cushion the state owned enterprises from politics and restore their commercial function. Other key features of the model proposed include professionalised SOEs boards, marketisation of state-owned enterprises, outcome-based performance, monitoring and evaluation framework, high transparency and disclosure standards, better remuneration schemes and incentives, and empowerment of the Auditor General. The model deals with the principle agent problem by reducing SOEs agency costs and increasing their performance as expounded by the principle agent theory. At the same time, the model is context-specific in line with the assumptions of the contingency theory that there is no one-size-fits-all corporate governance model.Doctora

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