AS 2013 Volume 20 Issue 2

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Workplace stress experienced by quantity surveyors
    (University of the Free State, 2013) Bowen, Paul; Cattell, Keith; Edwards, Peter
    English: This article reports on the relationship between workplace stress of quantity surveyors and job demand, control and support factors. Using an online quantitative survey, the perceptions of workplace stress of professional quantity surveyors in South Africa is sought. Particular focus is given to differences in gender, age and ethnicity. Job demand issues explored include working to tight deadlines, working long hours, the work/family balance, and a perceived need to work harder to ‘prove oneself’. Job control factors include control over the type of work assigned, the pace of work, the work environment, and the match between authority and responsibility. Job support factors include assistance and support received from line managers and colleagues. Organisational stressors, in the form of job prospects and the general work environment, are also examined. Findings show that the majority of the respondents experience high levels of stress at work, with females reporting higher levels than males. Younger, more than older colleagues, experience workplace stress, although this may be explained by conditioning over time. The extent to which these professionals are able to control their job situations does not appear to have a major influence on stress. Tight deadlines, long working hours, and a work/family imbalance may play a bigger role. Respondents would appreciate having more time to do a better job. Employees generally do not expect managers and colleagues to consistently make their work easier, but they do believe that colleagues can be relied upon in times of difficulty. Professional and employer organisations should pay closer attention to the issues concerning workplace stress and implement appropriate policies and measures to counter it. Further research will be undertaken to explore in more detail the relationships between stress and the type of work undertaken.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Investigation into the supply of information and measurement of transparency in the listed property sector
    (University of the Free State, 2013) Boshoff, Douw
    English: This article investigates the information that is available to shareholders and the public by listed property companies in order to make investment decisions. It also mentions the usefulness of this information for purposes of mass valuation of the portfolio of properties that are owned by these entities, or to extrapolate to other non-portfolio properties. The study makes use of a multiple regression analysis with empirical testing of property loan stock (PLS) companies in South Africa. It was found that only six of the PLS companies publish any useful information with regards to their property portfolio and only one provided sufficient information to be of statistical significance. It was also found that the provided information is lacking specific property and portfolio details and is, therefore, of limited use overall as far as investment decision-making is concerned. The method applied is, however, confirmed to be applicable for mass valuation techniques, but limited by the amount of information available.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Causes of defects in the South African housing construction industry: perceptions of built-environment stakeholders
    (University of the Free State, 2013) Buys, Fanie; Le Roux, Martyn
    English: This article emanates from research investigating the biggest cause that leads to defects in houses; the most common type of defect, and why projects fail in project-management terms (due to defects). Results of quantitative research among architects, consulting engineers and building contractors within the construction industry in the Western and Eastern Cape provinces of South Africa, as well as a literature review, form the basis of this study. Architects, consulting engineers, and general building contractors are randomly selected and surveyed using an online questionnaire. The study reveals that inadequate artisan skills are the biggest cause leading to defects in houses, and that cracks are the most frequent type of defect occurring. Projects fail in project management terms because of defects as the construction time of the projects is prolonged. The study also reveals that construction-related causes of defects dominate over design-related causes. The results should be of value to both construction industry professionals and their clients.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Harassment and discrimination experienced by quantity surveyors in South Africa
    (University of the Free State, 2013) Bowen, Paul; Edwards, Peter; Lingard, Helen; Cattell, Keith
    English: This article examines the workplace discrimination and harassment experiences of professional quantity surveyors in South Africa and explores the relationship between harassment, discrimination and perceived workplace stress. An online survey is administered and 177 responses (12.2% of the target population) received. Descriptive and inferential statistics are used to analyse the response data. A minority of respondent quantity surveyors claim to experience workplace harassment and discrimination on gender and ethnic grounds. Respondents also indicate that they feel underpaid and that their ethnicity adversely affects their job security. The article reports on sexual harassment and gender-based harassment and discrimination. Harassment and discrimination are found to correlate with higher perceived levels of workplace stress. Strategies designed to address and counter harassment and discrimination in quantity-surveying practices should be implemented or reinforced as part of broader stress management programmes. Employers have a major role to play in this, but professional associations should also take part. Previous research into work stress focused on the experiences of workers in developed countries. This research provides insight into the problem of workplace harassment and discrimination in the unique context of post-apartheid South Africa. It supports the link between harassment and discrimination and perceived levels of personal stress in this context.