2nd WITE Workshop focuses on Academic Writing

26 April 2018 –  WITE organised its second seminar/workshop for women in tertiary education. The WITE workshop was on Academic writing. The event provided practical lessons on paraphrasing and summarising of academic literature, as well as how to write and present the output for assignments such as literature reviews, essays and critical reviews. The event was attended by 25 participants from different tertiary institutions in the country. The convener, Dr. Sheena Lovia Boateng, was aided by two other facilitators, Prof. Richard Boateng and Mr. Joseph Budu.

Tasks during the workshop were designed to help participants to improve their academic writing skills by reviewing information, as well as completing short writing tasks. Key insights from the workshop are as follows:

Academic writing is evidence-based. Being evidence-based, one has to learn how to review existing evidence (literature) in order to identify what is appropriate to support key arguments. Evidence-based writing usually provides a detailed analysis of the research topic from the perspective of existing literature, identifies gaps and, further, critiques and proposes perspectives or ways of addressing the research problem.

Academic writing is :
• Planned and focused: answers the question and demonstrates an understanding of the subject.
• Structured: is coherent, written in a logical order, and brings together related points and material.
• Evidenced: demonstrates knowledge of the subject area, supports opinions and arguments with evidence, and is referenced accurately.
• Formal in tone and style: uses appropriate language and tenses, and is clear, concise and balanced (Leeds Univ., 2018)

At the end of the workshop, the participants expressed the need for more such events and a future focus on quantitative and qualitative data analysis. According to Dr. Sheena Boateng, this feedback will be considered in the planning of future workshops of WITE.


WITE Network launched to support women’s education

WITE Network launched to support women’s education

A network dedicated to the advancement of women’s education in the country, dubbed the Women in Tertiary Education (WITE), has been launched in Accra.

The aim of the group, made up of highly educated women, is to support fellow women who are pursuing various courses in tertiary institutions at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

The network was unveiled at the maiden WITE seminar which served as a platform for some selected individual researchers to present their works for constructive feedback on how they could improve their research work and submit on time.

The WITE seminar was organised under the auspices of the PearlRichards Foundation, a business and technology research service provider.

Support for females

The Founder of the network, Dr Sheena Lovia Boateng, observed that the group was set up mainly to support females at the tertiary level.

“I have spent about 10 years of my life in academia pursuing first degree, master’s degree, and doctorate degree and I noticed that women face a lot of peculiar challenges which can only be appreciated by a feminist point of view,” she said.

“It is easier for a woman to get assistance from a fellow woman who understands her plight and the challenges she is facing more than a man. Therefore, the network is to bring like-minded women at various levels to network and help one another to succeed,” Dr Boateng, who is the Executive Director at PearlRichards Foundation, added.

Encouraging women

The Board Chairman of the PearlRichards Foundation, Mr Joseph Budu, said the seminar was to help women, who were undertaking research in the university, especially at the postgraduate level, to succeed.

“We will give them feedback to shape their ideas to develop a research that will be impactful to the advancement of society when it is published,” he said.

Mr Budu, who is a lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), urged women in the country to aspire higher to enable them to play active roles in national development.

“I will encourage women to ignore all challenges and barriers and aspire to be whatever they want to be irrespective of whichever space they find themselves,” he said.

He congratulated women in the country on their support and commitment to the development of Ghana, ahead of the international women’s day celebration, which is slated for March 8 this year.

Culled from Ghana Web

Videos in learning in higher education: assessing perceptions and attitudes of students

Videos in learning in higher education: assessing perceptions and attitudes of students

Video is one of the most diversified and distinct virtual learning mediums that capture and present information and offer a sensory learning environment, which enables learners to understand more and retain information better. This study sought to assess the perceptions and attitudes of students at the University of Ghana towards the use of videos as a medium for teaching and learning. Qualitative data was collected using semi structured interviews. Participation was entirely voluntary and was conditional, based on students’ verbal consent. A convenience sample of 20 students responded to a request to participate, and data was analyzed using content analysis. Students perceived videos in general as being of some benefit to their learning activities. Overall, comments on videos as a medium of teaching and learning were positive. However, students had negative perceptions about the nature of the videos they watched. Almost all the participants indicated that they had issues with the content and the format of all the videos they watched. But, majority of the participants perceived that the videos they watched enhanced their learning outcomes and improved their learning approach. Therefore, learning outcomes of students and instructors should be dependent on the manner in which videos are used, as part of the overall academic process. This study is one of the first articles to explore in detail, students’ perceptions and attitudes towards video based teaching in Ghana, and provides interesting insights with regard to the concept and its application in tertiary institutions.

Cite As: Boateng, R., Boateng, S. L., Awuah R. B., Ansong, E., & Anderson, A. B. (2016). Videos in learning in higher education: assessing perceptions and attitudes of students at the University of Ghana. Smart Learning Environments3(1), 8-12. http://doi.org/10.1186/s40561-016-0031-5 Publisher: Springer Open. Download Now

Online relationship marketing and affective customer commitment – The mediating role of trust

Online relationship marketing and affective customer commitment – The mediating role of trust

The pervasive use of information technology has implications for consumer relationship management among financial services organisations. There is a need for increased understanding of how digital channels might influence the development and maintenance of firm–customer relationships and in particular the role of the Internet upon commitment and trust outcomes. Thus, this research aims to determine the relationship between online relationship marketing practices and affective customer commitment, and how this relationship is mediated by online channel trust. Data were collected from 200 online retail bank customers and Structural Equation Modelling was used to test the impact of five key online relationship marketing practices on affective commitment, and how trust mediates these relationships. We found that advocacy and collaboration have a direct relationship with affective commitment, while trust mediates the influence of engagement and personalisation on affective commitment. The article highlights the significance of trust in technology when using online channels to build customer relationships.

  • Boateng, S.L. & Narteh, B. (2016). Online relationship marketing and affective customer commitment – The mediating role of trust, Journal of Financial Services Marketing, 21(2), 127-140. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/fsm.2016.5
Dr. Sheena Lovia Boateng, Director of Programmes and Events successfully defends her PhD Thesis

Dr. Sheena Lovia Boateng, Director of Programmes and Events successfully defends her PhD Thesis

Mrs. Sheena Lovia Boateng

Mrs. Sheena Lovia Boateng

August 15 2017 – Dr. Sheena Lovia Boateng, Director of events and programmes at PearlRichards Foundation, has successfully defended her PhD thesis at the School of Graduate Studies, University of Ghana. She is the first female Ph.D student from the department to have successfully defended her thesis. The thesis was on the topic: Online Relationship Marketing, Online Trust and Customer Commitment in the Ghanaian Banking Industry. Her supervisors were: Prof. Bedman Narteh, Prof. Charles Blankson and Dr. Ernest Y. Tweneboah-Koduah.

The following is a summary of her presentation.

The introduction of online technologies has provided ample opportunities for organisations to leverage on them to build relationships with customers. However, a review of the extant literature indicates a paucity of studies on the subject. This thesis responds to this gap. It seeks to develop a theoretical and practice-oriented understanding of the antecedents and outcomes of online relationship marketing (ORM) of banks in Ghana. To achieve the above purpose, the thesis defined three research objectives as follows. The first objective sought to determine the ORM activities of banks in Ghana. Thereafter, the second objective sought to examine the impact of the ORM activities of Ghanaian banks on three relationship outcomes – customer commitment, online trust and loyalty. The third objective sought to examine the mediating role of customer commitment and trust between the ORM activities of Ghanaian banks and customer loyalty. Through a literature review, four ORM activities were identified for the study, namely, Engagement, Interactivity, Personalisation and Collaboration. It was also established that the Commitment-Trust Theory (CTT), the dominant theory in ORM is able to offer understanding on the link between relationship mediators and relationship outcomes; but is silent on the link between ORM activities (as antecedents), relationship mediators and relationship outcomes. The thesis therefore integrated Signalling Theory with the CTT to propose a conceptual framework, which examined the association between ORM activities, Customer Commitment (Affective, Normative and Calculative), Online Trust and Customer Loyalty. The relationships between the constructs were outlined in 18 hypotheses.

Within the tenets of the critical realism paradigm, the thesis adopted a quantitative approach, which collected data from 429 respondents in Ghana. Ghana was selected because it has gained some mileage in internet adoption, as well as, its subsequent adoption by banks in the country. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted leading to a post-study framework with 15 hypotheses, which excluded four variables: Personalisation, Collaboration, Affective Commitment and Normative Commitment. Thereafter, a structural equation modelling analysis was carried out, which led to the confirmation of seven hypotheses – five direct relationships and two mediating relationships. These research findings yielded a number of conclusions. First, the research concludes that engagement and interactivity constitute the ORM activities conducted in the Ghanaian banking industry. These activities are a function of the nature of internet applications employed in ORM, primary of which are websites and email. As a result, engagement is perceived to be low, whiles interactivity is perceived to be high. Social media, which is considered in literature to be prime for engagement, tends to be the preferred medium for engagement by customers of Ghanaian banks. Yet, most banks still remain undecided about social media.

Nonetheless, the findings suggest that despite the internet applications used in ORM, emitting the appropriate and useful signals to engender online trust and customer loyalty matters more. Online trust and calculative commitment are key mediating variables, which influence customer loyalty. Of the two, online trust matters more. It mediates interactivity and customer loyalty and also interactivity and calculative commitment. Further, the thesis concludes that, in terms of ORM, the Commitment-Trust theory has, perhaps, found its ‘better half’ in the Signalling theory. Their integration makes the proposed conceptual framework opportune for future research. The findings of this study put forth several implications, in terms of theory and practice. Regarding theory, the findings of the study indicate that research on the integration of the Commitment-Trust theory and the Signalling theory in the study of firm-customer relationships within the online context, must be extended to other industries and countries. ORM activities are uniquely developed; thus, their applicability may differ depending on the context within which they are being applied.

Therefore, there is an opportunity for future research to determine the specific ORM activities that are applicable in different contexts, as well as their impact on customer commitment, trust and loyalty. In terms of practice, the findings of the study recommend that organisational managers in addition to the frequent use of emails and websites in relating with customers, must also develop strategies in leveraging social media as part of their ORM tactics. The strategic use of other internet applications besides emails and websites, could open up additional opportunities for building long-term firm-customer relationships online; perhaps through increased personalisation and collaboration.

Digital Enterprises in Africa: A Synthesis of Current Evidence

Digital Enterprises in Africa: A Synthesis of Current Evidence

The digital economy has become a global phenomenon and Africa has not been left out. However, though there is much potential, little is known about the digital enterprises that underpin the digital economy in Africa. This paper, in response, presents a synthesis of available practice-based and academic literature to establish what is known and uncover areas that need further research. This study found that there is a paucity of academic research on digital enterprises in Africa. This is based on the difficulty in obtaining relevant academic literature that responds to the narrow definition of digital economy. However, there are industry reports and anecdotal evidence of enterprises in both formal and informal digital economies. The formal economy embraces firms in telecommunication, digital services, software and IT consulting, hardware manufacturing, information services, platform economy, gig economy and sharing economy. The informal economy embraces informal production activities like repair of digital devices, organising online training sessions and individual entrepreneurs who leverage over-the-top services like WhatsApp and mobile money and cryptocurrency services to operate virtual businesses. There is also the growing dark economy which exists in several forms including cybercrime, digital piracy, simbox fraud and the adult economy. These examples demonstrate some of the opportunities and threats for Africa in the digital economy, for which critical measures beyond regulation may be needed to address and leverage them.

To end this paucity of academic research, some research areas are suggested. These areas include but are not limited to: tracing value creation amongst digital enterprises in Africa, studying the career trajectories of people engaged in the gig economy, studying the motivations of the companies that engage the services of digital enterprises, exploring the impact of cryptocurrencies and mobile money services in digital enterprises, country and cross-country case studies of the various digital platform and digital enterprise issues, and to generation of lessons and best practices for African countries with growing digital economies.

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Cite As:

Boateng, R., Budu, J., Mbrokoh, A.S., Ansong, E., Boateng, S.L. and Anderson, A.B. (2017).  Digital Enterprises in Africa: A Synthesis of Current Evidence, Development Implications of Digital Economies Working Paper Series, No. 2, Centre for Development Informatics, University of Manchester.https://diode.network/publications/