Original Research

The mediating role of planned behaviour on deterrence initiatives aimed at managing local government workplace compliance

Sithenkosi Lungisa, Ogochukwu Nzewi, Samuel O. Olutuase
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 17 | a1058 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v17i0.1058 | © 2019 Lungisa Sithenkosi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 March 2018 | Published: 23 October 2019

About the author(s)

Sithenkosi Lungisa, Department of Public Administration, Faculty of Management and Commerce, University of Fort Hare, Bhisho, South Africa
Ogochukwu Nzewi, Department of Public Administration, Faculty of Management and Commerce, University of Fort Hare, Bhisho, South Africa
Samuel O. Olutuase, School of Business and Finance, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa


Orientation: Compliance culture within the South African local government context is perceived to be critical to sustainable municipality service delivery. Improving compliance culture is therefore important.

Research purpose: This article therefore developed a compliance framework based on deterrence theory (DT) and the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) to identify human behavioural factors to be considered in the development and use of work procedures as a way to improve workers’ compliance with work procedures.

Motivation for the study: Reports (e.g. Auditor General reports) on municipality service delivery fall short of providing a clear assessment and study of work and human behavioural dynamics in relation to compliance with work procedures.

Research approach/design and method: This article tested a conceptual model focused on the effect of deterrence initiatives on workplace compliance as mediated by the theory-planned behaviour. Data were collected from 119 workers in two municipalities of the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa through a structured questionnaire and analysed using structural equation model.

Main findings: Findings show that a positive attitude towards compliance to work procedures cannot be achieved through intimidation; reinforcement has a positive effect on attitude, subjective norms and perceived behavioural control (PBC). However, only the PBC aspect of the TPB explains significant mediation between deterrence and compliance.

Practical/managerial implications: The study demonstrates how compliance culture can be engendered by non-intimidating deterrent measures and PBC.

Contributions/value-add: The negative effect of intimidation on compliance culture and the positive effect of PBC on compliance attitude of workers are critical contributions.


compliance; theory of planned behaviour; deterrence theory; work procedures; local government


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Crossref Citations

1. The district development model as a catalyst for improved integrated development planning
Mzwandile Teti, Ogochukwu Iruoma Nzewi, Sithenkosi Lungisa
Journal of Local Government Research and Innovation  vol: 5  year: 2024  
doi: 10.4102/jolgri.v5i0.153