Productivity Research

The functions of the research unit includes generation of productivity and competitiveness specific research, publishing research reports, productivity statistics and case studies, as well as conducting seminars and disseminates information to various business entities including government.

The objective of the research unit is to provide decision makers in various enterprises with information and knowledge in order to improve the competitiveness and productivity of economic sectors

The research unit achieves its objective by providing:

  • Cutting-edge research on the productivity of economic sectors.

  • Relevant and up-to-date productivity statistics.

  • Custodian of competitiveness and productivity knowledge and information.


All of the publications and research reports below are available from Productivity SA at a nominal fee. Contact details are below if you have any enquiries or would like to gain access to the reports.


Assessing public sector performance, productivity and service delivery in South Africa – August 2007
Findings from five background papers prepared by the NPI addressing issues related to public sector performance and productivity are synthesised: measurement of public sector performance; mandate of the public sector; assessment of service delivery; enhanced public sector performance and recommendations.

An analysis of the MIDP’s contribution to the success of the South African automotive industry – 2004
Policy lessons for the clothing, textiles, paper and paper products industries. Productivity SA. 2004 The South African automotive industry is widely perceived to be a resounding success, with the MIDP regarded as the bedrock upon which this success has been achieved. Based on this perception, the NPI contracted B & M Analysts to analyse the success variables of the automotive industry, and extrapolate policy lessons for other industries. This report presents the completed analysis. It is argued that the automotive industry has some major weaknesses that are often not recognised and that in a different context MIDP type programmes are likely to fail.

The impact of local government programmes on Small, Micro and Informal Businesses – February 2007
Background report on the impact of local government programs on small, micro and informal business in Gauteng, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal (1995-2005) with specific reference to productivity and competitiveness.

Assessing the impact of Learnership with a productivity component at the workplace – June 2006
Mbele, N.O. and S. Mosai. Study to support training initiatives undertaken by the productivity behaviour and competency program. The study thought to assist the skills and planning of the service sector education and training authority (SETA) to achieve impact in the long run.

Report for footwear and leather forum 1999-2003 – 2005
Moller, D. and Steenkamp, M. Results of participating South African footwear organisations and review of historic analyses 1982 through to 2003

Employee ownership and community investment: Increasing the overall performance of the economy
Mosai, Sello and Dr Norman Reynolds. Explore whether employee ownership in formal business and ownership in general can increase productivity and participation in economic activity, and thereby the overall performance of the economy.

Productivity Statistics Revised Annually Archives from 1983 – Current
Compiled and published by Productivity SA. This annual statistical publication shows macro productivity trends. It contains labour productivity and related indices for the main sectors of the economy, multifactor productivity indices and international comparisons.

Productivity study of the holiday resort and caravan park in South Africa – February 1990
Steenkamp M., Marteens W., Chowles A., de Wet, G., Alberts G. This is the complete report of the study carried out in 24 caravan parks and holiday resorts.

Footwear manufacture’s federation: Update of the annually compiled footwear data bank – 1994/1995 and 1995/1996
Steenkamp, M and National Productivity Institute. The NPI did an analysis of 19 footwear companies for a five year period.

Comments on the financial results of a sample of South African footwear companies – 1996-2000
Steenkamp, M., Moller M. The NPI did an analysis of 19 footwear companies for a five year period.

Evaluation of proposed business plan – 2000
Steenkamp, M., Louw, M.A., Smuts, J.G. Giants Canning is a full subsidiary of a company called Dynamo, which was mainly financed by Absa but which is now experiencing financial difficulty. Dynamo now wants to sell the canning factory in Makhado. A business plan was drawn up for the new company and presented to the Department of Provincial and Local Government in lieu of a grant of R5 million to purchase the assets of Giants canning. The DPLG asked the NPI to evaluate the business plan presented to the Department in terms of the viability of the new company.

The impact of skills development on productivity and competitiveness study: Progress Report – September 2007
Wandwasi, Peter. Skills development is a key weapon in the battle to enhance employability and sustainable development. The report aims at assessing current skills development environment and its impact. R160.00

Researching best practice in public employment policy: Lessons for the South African context. Final report – March 2011
By Productivity SA. The research is focused on the identification and analysis of international best practice in public employment policy.

Productivity SA’s vision is to be the African productivity champion for sustainable socio-economic development. Productivity SA aspires to achieve this through its mission mandated by Government, Labour, Business and Civil Society to enhance productivity in order to contribute to Africa’s socio-economic development and competitiveness.
This booklet is intended to contribute to and widen productivity knowledge. It endeavours to inform readers on what productivity is, how it can be improved by individuals, business enterprise and other organisations. It outlines some of the necessary elements for a business environment which is conducive to productivity improvement and which can be created and enhanced by government policies.

Information Officer