Ouafa Sakka


3 Consequences of Corruption on Tunisian Small and Medium Enterprises' Exports

Authors: Moujib Bahri, Ouafa Sakka, Kallel Rahim


This study builds on the literature about the effects of corruption on economic growth at the firm level, which analyzes how the payment of bribes affect organizational performance. Traditionally, the literature distinguishes two points of view regarding the impact of corruption: grease view and sand view. The grease view is based on the idea that corruption can compensate for the negative effect of red tape on firms’ activities such as innovation and exports. Therefore, some firms will be motivated to pay some additional money to officials in order to reduce the delay related to bureaucratic procedures. On the contrary, the second point of view considers that corruption sands the wheels of the economy and distorts resource allocation because it increases agency and transaction costs and reduces the returns on the investment. We have tested the effect of corruption on innovation and export activities on a sample of 537 Tunisian manufacturing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) using structural equation modeling and path analysis. Tunisia has undergone a revolution in 2010 and since then, the country is experiencing a political instability and economic hardships. Our results do not support the greasing hypothesis suggesting that corruption can reduce the negative effect of bureaucratic delays and the hard access of companies to public services related to exports. Instead, our results support the sanding hypothesis according to which corruption hinders SMEs’ exports through its negative influence on innovation. Furthermore, our results show that the interaction between excessive bureaucratic red tape and corruption has a negative effect on exports. However, the interaction between political instability and corruption increases exports.

Keywords: Corruption, SMEs, exports, economic conditions

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2 The Impact of Corruption on Exports and Innovation in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: The Case of Tunisia

Authors: Moujib Bahri, Rahim Kallel, Ouafa Sakka


Corruption is a phenomenon that increases uncertainty and risk of SMEs as it undermines the quality of the business environment and the easy access to public services. Our research builds on existing research on corruption's effects on economic growth at the firm level. Several papers have analyzed the effect of firms’ payments of bribes on their performance; however, only limited research has investigated the link between corruption, innovation, and exports. Drawing on principal-agent theory, we explore how corruption weakens the institutional context and makes the business environment unsound and not conducive to innovation and exports. This study employs data from The Enterprise Surveys conducted in Tunisia between March 2013 and July 2014 by the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB). The main objective of this survey was to gain a better understanding of Tunisian firms’ perception of the environment in which they operate. Since 2011, the country's political situation has become fragile and unstable, and public services are perceived as inefficient and corrupt. We test our hypotheses on a sample of 537 Tunisian manufacturing SMEs using structural equation modeling and path analysis. We find that political instability leads to higher level of corruption, and that excessive business licensing regulations create a fertile ground for bribery. Our findings do not support the greasing hypothesis suggesting that corruption can reduce the negative effect of bureaucratic delays and the hard access of companies to public services related to innovation and exports. Instead, our results support the sanding hypothesis according to which corruption hinders innovation activities and exports. Furthermore, corruption is found to, negatively and significantly, impact firms’ ownership of quality certificates. Our results suggest that, in an environment with a high level of corruption, governments and policymakers interested in assisting SMEs with their innovation and export activities should have a better control on corruption to allow them developing those activities without being forced to bribe government officers.

Keywords: Innovation, Corruption, SMEs, exports

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1 Relationship among Teams' Information Processing Capacity and Performance in Information System Projects: The Effects of Uncertainty and Equivocality

Authors: Ouafa Sakka, Henri Barki, Louise Cote


Uncertainty and equivocality are defined in the information processing literature as two task characteristics that require different information processing responses from managers. As uncertainty often stems from a lack of information, addressing it is thought to require the collection of additional data. On the other hand, as equivocality stems from ambiguity and a lack of understanding of the task at hand, addressing it is thought to require rich communication between those involved. Past research has provided weak to moderate empirical support to these hypotheses. The present study contributes to this literature by defining uncertainty and equivocality at the project level and investigating their moderating effects on the association between several project information processing constructs and project performance. The information processing constructs considered are the amount of information collected by the project team, and the richness and frequency of formal communications among the team members to discuss the project’s follow-up reports. Data on 93 information system development (ISD) project managers was collected in a questionnaire survey and analyzed it via the Fisher Test for correlation differences. The results indicate that the highest project performance levels were observed in projects characterized by high uncertainty and low equivocality in which project managers were provided with detailed and updated information on project costs and schedules. In addition, our findings show that information about user needs and technical aspects of the project is less useful to managing projects where uncertainty and equivocality are high. Further, while the strongest positive effect of interactive use of follow-up reports on performance occurred in projects where both uncertainty and equivocality levels were high, its weakest effect occurred when both of these were low.

Keywords: Uncertainty, Project Control, Information System Development, equivocality, information processing model, management control systems, interactive use, diagnostic use

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