PUBLIC LECTURE: Behavioural Economics: How does COVID-19 Phobia affect organisational performance? Lessons for all stakeholders
By Puleng Maphisa 01 December 2021
Professor Hod Anyigba: Assistant Professor of Economics and Entrepreneurship at SBS Swiss Business School
Many scholarly articles define the Coronavirus (COVID-19) differently but the Medscape defines it as “an illness caused by a novel coronavirus now called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2; formerly called 2019-nCoV), which was first identified amid an outbreak of respiratory illness cases in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China”.
Professor Hod Anyigba defines coronavirus phobia as an excessive triggered response of fear of contracting the virus causing COVID-19, leading to accompanied excessive concern over physiological symptoms, significant stress about personal and occupational loss, increased reassurance and safety-seeking behaviours, and avoidance of public places and situations causing market impairment in daily life function.
This definition was handed out during the online public lecture that was hosted by the Department of Logistics and Supply Chain Management for staff and students, on the following topic: Behavioural Economics: How does COVID-19 Phobia affect organisational performance? Lessons for all stakeholders, presented by Prof Anyigba.
Dr Hod Anyigba is an Assistant Professor of Economics and Entrepreneurship at SBS Swiss Business School and Nobel International Business School (NiBS) in Ghana. He is an established academic who has numerous notable achievements. During the Vaal University of Technology public lecture that took place in November, he served as the guest speaker who shared his knowledge regarding his research on COVID-19 phobia.
During his presentation he outlined the 4 dimensions of corona phobia which he describes as symptomatic phobia, experiencing chest pains or stomach aches out of fear of corona; psychological phobia, fear of coming down with corona which makes people very anxious; economic phobia, possibility of food shortage and social phobia, whereby people feel extremely anxious when they see one cough / sneeze.
The COVID-19 virus has instilled fear in many of our lives; social media and medial have also played a part by instilling more fear which leads to people not to disclose when they have contracted the virus. Prof Anyibga’s research reveals that the coronavirus cases in Africa compared to the world, are quite high and have affected the economic sector.
“When comparing other countries with Africa, the statistics reveal that Africa has a high number of 213 and recovery to 7 959 550. Amongst African country South Africa is leading, with 2 924 072 Cases, 89 352 deaths, and 2 818 236 recoveries”, said Prof Anyigba.
Prof Anyigba highlighted that coronavirus is destructive to the economy as it triggers lockdowns that affect businesses. He said that among the most affected businesses are tourism and remittances as it has become challenging to travel outside the country for leisure, or to visit family and friends. The COVID-19 pandemic has also affected the imported pharmaceutical products, leading to price increases.
Prof Anyigba cited Hafez Ghanem, World Bank Vice President for Africa who said “The Covid-19 pandemic is testing the limits of societies and economics across the world, and African countries are likely to be hit particularly hard”.
Prof Anyigba suggested some strategies necessary to address the challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Organisations should follow turnaround strategies that emphasise conventional management functions such as effective planning, budgeting, organising, staffing, controlling, and problem-solving. Such an approach could assist organisations to prepare well for crises situations such as the coronavirus pandemic and to develop plans customised to their specific organisations.
In closing Dr Hannah Dunga, a lecturer in the Department of Logistics and Supply Chain Management thanked Prof Anyigba for the insightful information he had shared. She said that she wishes to invite the professor for another live public lecture where he could interact with the audience in person rather than virtually.