An investigation of strategy implementation in a local authority: Case study, Local Authority Council.
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The literature review reveals that strategy implementation is a critical phase of the holistic strategic management process. There is inter-connectivity between all the strategic management phases and therefore if one phase is not correctly addressed, it has a bearing on the remaining phases. Various authors identified barriers and drivers of strategy implementation. The purpose of this study was to assess the characteristics of strategy implementation of a specific Local Authority Council (LAC). Through a mixed research methodology (semi-structured interviews and questionnaires), data was collected from the Management Cadre (inclusive of Councillors) of the specific LAC. A response rate of 87.5% was achieved. After the analysis and interpretation of the results it was concluded that: Strategy implementation is important however difficult to implement from a pragmatic point of view. Addressing barriers of strategy implementation requires commitment and a concerted effort both at a process and behavioural level. Various barriers i.e. leadership commitment, organisational culture, organisational structure, communication, strategy formulation and incentives impedes strategy implementation. The study agrees with the literature that these factors are truly inhibiting strategy implementation in organisations and equally in the identified LAC. Understanding of strategy and effective communication is a barrier both locally and internationally. Political interference was identified as an additional barrier that poses unique challenges to the context of Local Authorities. Drivers of strategy implementation were identified and discussed in the literature and leadership was described as a key driver of strategy implementation. In the study, leadership did not emerge as the most significant driver for successful strategy implementation, but rather effective communication and appropriate incentives as leading catalysts, followed by leadership and availability of resources. Many strategy implementation studies which exist are predominately based on private corporations, local firms’ and multi-national firms. However it lacks implementation perspectives from state-owned or public sector organisations. In addition to the above, the literature reveals that few models of strategy implementation exist, as well as how the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) is adopted as a tool for measuring effectiveness of strategy implementation in public organisations. The following recommendations are made in respect of this study, namely: It has been stated that there has been no studies comparing similarities and differences of strategy implementation among private corporations and state-owned enterprises, or amongst local firms of multi-national organisations. No comparative literature exists of strategy implementation in local authorities and private organisations. The specific differences in these organisations have not been explored, and pose an avenue for future research. A further area of future research could be the fact that literature indicated that a few models on strategy implementation exist. It is recommended that a model be developed to guide strategy implementation in Local Authorities. From the various survey data it is evident that the LAC is challenged with leadership (Councillors and Senior Management) issues, the understanding of strategic management and specifically strategy implementation. LAC’s should focus on the aspect of implementing strategy in their leadership development interventions. The areas of communicating strategy and the alignment of incentives to strategy implementation are definite areas where improvements are needed in LAC’s and where future attention and resources should be allocated towards.
- Masters Theses