Mobilising innovation as an organisational competence in selected Namibian companies

Grobler, Rikus (2010-03)

Thesis (MBA (Business Management))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Innovasie is een van die sinvolste strategiese benaderings wat ’n organisasie kan ontgin om ’n mededingende voordeel te bekom. Ondanks wye belangstelling en volop literatuur, verstaan baie organisasies ongelukkig nog nie hoe om innoverend te wees nie. Innovasie is ‘n ingewikkelde konsep wat nie altyd behoorlik verstaan word of toegepas word nie. Hierdie navorsing verken die benutting van innovasie vir mededingende voordele deur dit ’n kernbevoegdheid van die organisasie te maak. Hierdie studie is op ‘n gevallestudie-strategie gegrond, en gebruik semigestruktureerde en ongestruktureerde individuele onderhoude, waarneming en dokumentêre ontledings om data in te samel. Drie gevallestudie-organisasies is doelspesifiek gekies uit organisasies wat in Namibië gebaseer is, en onderhoude is met twaalf mense oor die hiërargie van elke organisasie gevoer. Hierdie mense is op grond van doelgerigte en kriterium-gebaseerde steekproefneming gekies. ‘n Literatuurstudie is onderneem om vorige navorsing oor innovasie in konteks te plaas, en om ’n oorsig te kry van die huidige stand van innovasie-verwante navorsing. Literatuur oor die onderwerp van kernbevoegdhede met spesifieke verwysing na die verwantskap tussen kernbevoegdhede en strategie, en gevolglik ook innovasie as ‘n kernbevoegdheid van ‘n organisasie, is ook bestudeer. ‘n Spesifieke model vir die benutting van innovasie as ‘n organisatoriese bevoegdheid is deur die literatuurstudie geïdentifiseer. Hierdie model sluit ‘n raamwerk van sewe elemente in wat as tersaaklik beskou word vir die vestiging van ’n innovasievermoë in ‘n organisasie. Die toepaslikheid van die model ten opsigte van die gebruik daarvan om innovasie as ’n kernbevoegdheid van ’n organisasie te vestig en die tersaaklikheid van die sewe elemente vir die model is getoets teen die inligting wat in die gevallestudie-organisasies ingesamel is. Die bevindinge dui daarop dat die pragmatiese formulering en belyning van 'n organisasie se strategie, kernbevoegdhede en innoveringspraktyke tot groter mededingendheid kan lei. Daar is ook bevind dat die voorgestelde innovasievermoëmodel meriete het om innovasie as ’n kernbevoegdheid van die organisasie te vestig. Dit blyk ook dat die grootte van ‘n organisasie nie ‘n determinant is vir die toepaslikheid van die model nie. Dit kom ook voor of al sewe elemente van die raamwerk tot ’n mate tersaaklik is vir die aanwending van die innovasievermoëmodel. Die kombinasie van die elemente kan egter verskil. Daarby kan die tersaaklikheid en toepaslikheid van die elemente ook van mekaar verskil. Dit is egter noodsaaklik dat ‘n organisasie verstaan hoe die innovasievermoëmodel werk en ook dat die model by ‘n organisasie se strategie inkorporeer word om sodoende die praktyke en prosesse in plek te stel wat die elemente van die raamwerk vereis. Alle organisasies is inherent innoverend. Hierdie innoveringsvermoë moet net op die korrekte wyse benut en bestuur word – deur die innovasievermoëmodel te gebruik – om sodoende die innoveringsvermoë aan te wend tot die volle potensiaal daarvan. Organisasies moet ook in ag neem dat die doelwit om innovasie as ‘n kernbevoegdheid te vestig, is nie ‘n korttermyn ambisie nie, die organisasie moet die voldoende wil hê om innovasie ’n kernbevoegdheid van die organisasie te maak, en die hele organisasie moet hierby betrek word. Omdat hierdie studie op ‘n gevallestudie-ontwerp gegrond is, word die veralgemeenbaarheid van die bevindinge tot die drie gevallestudie-organisasies beperk. Hierdie navorsingstudie is hoogstens verkennend van aard omdat dit van beperkte steekproewe gebruik gemaak het. Verdere navorsing is nodig om dieper insig te verkry in die konsepte wat in hierdie studie behandel is, om ’n model of raamwerk te ontwikkel vir die belyning van strategie, kernbevoegdhede en innovasie, en ook om ’n praktiese en betroubare manier te vind om innovasievermoë te meet.

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Abstract Innovation is one of the most significant strategic approaches an organisation can exploit to gain a competitive advantage. Unfortunately, despite broad interest and a vast literature, understanding of innovative behaviour in organisations remains relatively undeveloped. Innovation is a complicated concept that is not always well understood or applied. This study explores how innovation can be exploited for competitive benefits by making it a core competence of the organisation. This study made use of a case study strategy, utilising semi-structured and unstructured individual interviews, observation and documentary analysis to collect data. Three case study organisations were purposefully selected from Namibian-based organisations, and twelve people across the hierarchy of each organisation were interviewed, selected on the basis of purposeful and criterion-based sampling. A literature review was also conducted in order to put the past research done on innovation into context and to review the current state of affairs of innovation-related research. The literature on the topic of core competencies, with a specific focus on the connection between core competencies and strategy, and subsequently innovation as a core competence of an organisation, was also reviewed. Through the literature review a specific model for utilising innovation as an organisational competence was identified. This model included a framework of seven elements that were found to be relevant for establishing an innovation capability (IC) within an organisation. The applicability of the model in terms of utilising it to establish innovation as a core competence of an organisation, and the relevance of the seven elements to the model, were then tested against the information collected in the case study organisations. The findings suggest that the formulation and alignment of an organisation’s strategy, core competencies and innovation practices in a pragmatic way can enable an organisation to become more competitive. The proposed innovation capability model was also found to have merit in terms of utilising this model to establish innovation as a core competence of an organisation and all seven elements of the framework seemed to be relevant to some extent with regards to the deployment of the innovation capability model. The size of an organisation was found not be a determinant in order for the model to be applicable. The combination of elements can be different and the relevance and applicability of the elements can differ from each other as well. It is also imperative that an organisation properly understands how the innovation capability model works and to incorporate the model into the organisation’s strategy in order to establish the practices and processes that the elements of the model require. All organisations are inherently innovative, this innovativeness just needs to be fostered and managed in the proper manner – through the innovation capability model – in order to exploit innovation to its fullest potential. Organisations must also realise that the pursuit of establishing innovation as a core competence is not a short-term ambition and the organisation need to have the proper intent to establish innovation as a core competence and this intent must be shared by the whole organisation. As the study employed a case study design, the generalisability of the findings is limited to the three case study organisations. This research study is, at best, an explorative one, as it used limited samples. Further research is necessary to gain more in-depth insights on the concepts discussed in the research study in order to develop a model or framework for aligning strategy, core competence and innovation and also to find a practical and reliable way of measuring innovation capability.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/4388
This item appears in the following collections: