The drivers of strategic innovation : an empirical study of selected companies in the South African financial industry

McKenzie, Kieran David (2014-04)

Thesis (MComm)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Strategic innovation originated as a concept in academic literature in the 1990’s, and provides companies with the opportunity for substantial value creation. Previous research has shown how the learning or process aspects of a company foster strategic innovation capacity, or the ability of a company to systematically create strategic innovation initiatives. However, an understanding of the role of the content aspects or the drivers of strategic innovation – Strategy Processes, People, Culture and Resources – remains problematic. Despite a heightened awareness and interest by both scholars and practitioners in studying and better understanding strategic innovation, it is still regarded as an emerging field of inquiry. Additionally, limited research has been conducted on strategic innovation in a South African context. As such, a limited base of empirical research for strategic innovation exists. To address this lack of empirical research a literature review of strategic innovation was conducted, highlighting any research gaps; an empirical study was then executed. The literature review first investigated strategic innovation as a topic, identifying the antecedents to; the results of; and motivations for strategic innovation. Subsequently, a theoretical link between strategic innovation capacity and the drivers of strategic innovation was established. Lastly, each driver of strategic innovation was individually explored for the purpose of operationalising each driver for empirical analysis. The review of strategic innovation literature revealed a research gap that culminated in the following research question: How do the drivers of strategic innovation affect the strategic innovation capacity of selected banks? The empirical study consisted of a mixed-methodology design, conducted in two phases. First the sample was narrowed to include only the most appropriate banks, this being the most significant sector of the financial services sector in South Africa. The first phase of research consisted of semi-structured interviews conducted with the six most qualified individuals across the participating banks. This phase of research was used to refine the identified antecedent elements of the drivers of strategic innovation, and develop the sample for the second phase of research. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and subjected to thematic analysis to generate findings. The findings of the qualitative phase show that the antecedent elements of the drivers in South African banks are consistent with the literature. Although no new South African specific elements were discovered, external factors for managerial consideration were noted. This emphasises that South African banks should adopt global best practices for their field, whilst taking into consideration the unique South African circumstances. The second phase of research made use of cross-sectional electronic questionnaires to gather interval data on the drivers of strategic innovation and strategic innovation capacity. The questionnaire was developed from the findings of the first phase of research and distributed to 125 individuals, 53 completed responses were received, yielding a response rate of 42.4%. All the constructs were measured to be reliable using Cronbach’s alpha and the collected data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The findings of the quantitative phase indicate that the drivers of strategic innovation have a significant positive relationship with strategic innovation capacity. This finding underlines the important role managers can play in fostering a company’s ability to systematically create strategic innovation initiatives. The driver with the strongest relationship with strategic innovation capacity was shown to be Culture, emphasising the importance of creating an organisational culture geared towards innovation. The second strongest driver was Resources, followed by People, and lastly Strategy Processes which had the lowest significant positive relationship with strategic innovation capacity. The findings also showed that the inter-driver relationships were significantly positive, with Culture once again displaying the strongest correlation values. The most important contribution of this study is the empirical evaluation of the relationship between the drivers of strategic innovation and strategic innovation capacity in the South African banking context. The establishment of this relationship creates a solid platform upon which future studies may build through the highlighted areas for further study. The findings also provide management with a means to assess the levels of the drivers, as well as antecedents on which to focus when staging managerial interventions for their improvement.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Strategiese innovering het ontstaan as 'n konsep in die akademiese literatuur in die 1990's, en bied maatskappye ’n geleentheid vir aansienlike waardeskepping. Vorige navorsing het getoon hoe die leer- of prosesaspekte van ’n maatskappy strategiese innoveringskapasiteit, of die vermoë van ’n maatskappy om stelselmatig innoveringsinisiatiewe te skep, bevorder. ’n Begrip van die rol van die dryfkragte agter strategiese innovering – Strategieprosesse, Mense, Kultuur en Hulpbronne – bly egter problematies. Ten spyte van groter belangstelling in die studie van strategiese innovering vanuit die akademie sowel as die praktyk, word dit steeds as ’n ontluikende navorsingsveld beskou. Verder is slegs beperkte navorsing oor strategiese innovering in ’n Suid-Afrikaanse konteks reeds gedoen. Daar bestaan dus ’n beperkte basis van empiriese navorsing vir strategiese innovering. Om hierdie gebrek aan navorsing aan te spreek, is ’n literatuuroorsig van strategiese innovering gedoen wat navorsingsleemtes uitgewys het; ’n empiriese studie is toe uitgevoer. Die literatuuroorsig het eerstens strategiese innovering ondersoek deur die voorgangers van; resultate van; en motiverings vir strategiese innovering te identifiseer. Vervolgens is ’n teoretiese skakel tussen strategiese innoveringskapasiteit en die dryfkragte agter strategiese innovering vasgestel. Laastens is elke dryfkrag individueel ondersoek met die doel om dit te operasionaliseer vir empiriese ontleding. Die literatuuroorsig het ’n navorsingsleemte onthul wat tot die volgende navorsingsvraag gelei het: Hoe beïnvloed die dryfkragte agter strategiese innovering die strategiese innoveringskapasiteit van die gekose banke? Die studie het bestaan uit ’n gemengdemetodologie-ontwerp wat in twee fases uitgevoer is. Die eerste fase het bestaan uit semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude met die ses mees gekwalifiseerde individue vanuit die deelnemende banke. Hierdie fase is gebruik om die geïdentifiseerde voorafgaande elemente van die dryfkragte agter strategiese innovering te verfyn, en om die steekproef vir die tweede fase te ontwikkel. Die onderhoude is opgeneem, getranskribeer en onderwerp aan tematiese ontleding om bevindinge te genereer. Die bevindinge van die kwalitatiewe fase wys dat die voorafgaande elemente van die dryfkragte in Suid-Afrikaanse banke strook met die literatuur. Alhoewel geen nuwe, spesifiek Suid- Afrikaanse elemente ontdek is nie, is eksterne faktore vir bestuursoorweging opgemerk. Dít beklemtoon dat Suid-Afrikaanse banke behoort te hou by die wêreldwye beste praktyke vir hulle veld, terwyl hulle steeds die unieke Suid-Afrikaanse omstandighede in ag moet neem. Die tweede fase het elektroniese deursnitvraelyste gebruik om intervaldata oor die dryfkragte agter strategiese innovering en strategiese innoveringskapasiteit in te samel. Die vraelys is ontwikkel uit die eerste fase se bevindinge en is versprei aan 125 individue; 53 volledige response is ontvang, ’n responskoers van 42.4%. Al die konstrukte is met Cronbach se alfa as betroubaar gemeet, en die ingesamelde data is ontleed met beskrywende en inferensiële statistiek. Die bevindinge van die kwantitatiewe fase dui daarop dat die dryfkragte agter strategiese innovering ’n beduidende positiewe verhouding het met strategiese innoveringskapasiteit. Hierdie bevinding onderstreep die belangrike rol wat bestuurders speel in ’n maatskappy se vermoë om stelselmatig strategiese innoveringsinisiatiewe te skep. Kultuur het na vore gekom as die dryfkrag met die sterkste verhouding met strategiese innoveringskapasiteit, wat die belangrikheid beklemtoon van die skep van ’n organisatoriese kultuur wat op innovering toegespits is. Die tweede sterkste dryfkrag was Hulpbronne, gevolg deur Mense, en laastens het Strategieprosesse die laagste beduidende positiewe verhouding met strategiese innoveringskapasiteit gehad. Die bevindinge het ook gewys dat die onderlinge verhoudings tussen die dryfkragte beduidend positief was, met Kultuur wat weereens die sterkste korrelasiewaardes toon. Die belangrikste bydrae van hierdie studie is die empiriese evaluering van die dryfkragte agter strategiese innovering en strategiese innoveringskapasiteit in die Suid-Afrikaanse bankwesekonteks. Die vasstelling van hierdie verhouding skep ’n platform waarop toekomstige studies kan bou. Die bevindinge bied aan bestuur ’n manier om dryfkragvlakke te assesseer, asook voorafgaande elemente om op te fokus wanneer bestuursintervensies gebruik word om hierdie vlakke te verbeter.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86486
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