The alignment between corporate and business level strategies in South African public entities
Gasela, Moses Mongezi
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The South African public entities play a significant role in the South African economy as they assist the government to achieve different service delivery mandates in key sectors of the economy. However, the public entities are experiencing service delivery and performance problems that affect the South African economy negatively. This study investigated the alignment between the corporate and business level strategies in South African public entities with the aim of providing recommendations that would improve the alignment of the aforesaid strategies resulting in improved organisational performance in the entities. The unit of analysis for the study is a public entity that is based in the Northern Cape Province. The study was located within the post-positivist as well as constructivist/interpretivist philosophical assumptions. The convergent mixed research design was used. For the qualitative part of the study, the multicase study design was used. A purposive sample of eleven executives, representing each of the eight public entities and three provincial departments that control the entities was selected for the study. Data was also collected from the official documents of corporate and business level strategies of the entities. For the data collected through the individual interviews and strategic documents, data analysis involved organising details about a case (in this study, the entity), categorising data and clustering it into meaningful groups; and identifying patterns, trends and themes. Then, the researcher synthesised and generalised, giving an overall portrait of the case, with a conclusion and an implication beyond the case. The researcher looked for convergence from a triangulated study. For the study‘s quantitative part, the survey design was adopted using the probability sampling techniques, and a questionnaire to collect the data. Thirty-eight self- administered structured questionnaires were distributed to the executives of the eight entities and the three controlling departments. The response rate was 78%. Descriptive data analysis as well as inferential data analysis involving the correlational analysis and regression analysis were done. The use of the mixed methods served as a triangulation which ensured validity and reliability of the study findings. Four key findings emerged from the study. Firstly, it was found that there are many challenges that the public entities have, including financial and human capital inadequacy or/and lack of human resources, poor organisational culture, leadership issues (including ineffective boards) and working in silos with no effective communication, to mention but a few, that bring about strategy misalignment. These challenges affect the alignment of the two-level strategies and organisational performance negatively because the entities cannot deliver on their mandate by achieving their strategic objectives. Secondly, it was found that the alignment between corporate-level and business- level strategies contributes to organisational performance in South African public entities. Thirdly, the study found that strategy implementation of the business strategies in the South African public entities is a big problem. This is because of the many challenges these entities are facing, which include a lack of resources, leadership inadequacy, inefficient boards, lack of a good organisational culture, lack of support from their parent departments and the flexibility they need to be able to respond fast enough to their business needs. This causes a misalignment of the two strategies practically on the ground. Eventually this results in poor strategy implementation and unsatisfactory organisational performance. Fourthly, it was found that corporate controls affect strategy implementation negatively due to the abovementioned challenges. Finally, recommendations were developed to minimise the alignment gaps between the corporate and business level strategies in South African public entities, and therefore increase organisational performance.