Effect of HIV/AIDS on the control environment

05 Aug 2008

OBJECTIVE: The management of organizations is responsible for risk management and control systems. HIV/AIDS could be a great threat in the achievement of strategic business objectives, implicating a great concern for management. Management needs to understand this possible risk. This study aims to identify the effect that HIV/AIDS could have on the different elements of the control environment. METHODOLOGY: The archival research method was used. It was established that no formal research was conducted to date on the effect of HIV/AIDS on the control environment as a whole. Various studies have included the effect of HIV/AIDS on certain factors of the control environment. These studies will be discussed briefly to identify relevant findings. RESULTS: The study indicated that the disease could affect various aspects of the control environment, namely: competency of the workforce (e.g. productivity, quality of work, absenteeism, loss of skills and knowledge, training and recruitment, etc.); organizational structure (e.g. increase use of technology labour, disruption of processes, level of employees affected by the disease); human resource (HR) policies and practices (e.g. legislation applicable, prevention and awareness programmes, compensation and benefits). RESEARCH LIMITATION: HIV/AIDS is a relatively new potential risk to organizations. Knowledge of the disease is limited. HIV/AIDS is also a very sensitive issue as people fear the disease and do not like to discuss its existence. Government determined that it should be a non-notifiable disease and the disease is currently greatly stigmatized. The databases of companies investigated by other research studies were not developed to gather all the relevant information. CONCLUSION: Management should be aware that HIV/AIDS poses a possible risk to organizations. Data on the effect of HIV/AIDS should be gathered and used in the decision-making process on how to manage this risk. To be able to fulfil this duty, management first has to determine: whether HIV/AIDS is a risk; the relevant cost involved that the disease is costing the organization; how to control these costs.