Strategy-making trends : a case study of the financial regulator in Namibia
Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.
Research on strategy has been focusing at organisational level, mostly on practices such as strategic planning, strategy workshops and consultancy practices. With the emergence of strategy-as-practice, the focus has been redirected to explore beneath organisational-level processes and bring to the fore the role that people play in the practice of strategy. This research project looked at the practice of strategy within the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (NAMFISA), the financial regulator in Namibia. Strategy is seen within this research project as something that is ‘done’ by actors who are referred to as ‘practitioners’ of strategy. Strategy-as-practice research is a relatively new field of strategy research. This assignment has aimed to add to the fast growing body of knowledge in the strategy-as-practice research field and it forms part of a collaborative between the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) and The Narrative Lab. The researcher explored how strategy is practised within NAMFISA, as the case study company. The assignment points out the strategy actors, the practices and processes they follow as well as the tools they use to plan and execute the NAMFISA strategy. The researcher took an activity-based view and paid special attention to practitioners, practices and praxis (Jarzabkowski, 2005) involved in strategising as well as the manner in which NAMFISA ‘does’ strategy. The system aspects of Biomatrix theory, namely environment, ethos, aims, processes, structure, governance and matter, energy and information (Mei), as described by Dostal, Cloete and Járos (2005), were also integrated into the research wherever they were deemed to affect the practice of strategy at NAMFISA. The above-mentioned aspects, in conjunction with the elements of the activity-based view and the strategising matrix (Jarzabkowski, 2005), shaped the basis for the analysis which was done using the ATLAS.ti tool. After the first analysis, a second analysis was performed using SenseMakerTM Explorer, another qualitative analysis tool which helped in gaining an in-depth understanding of the findings obtained using the ATLAS.ti tool. During the second analysis exercise, the respondents were requested to self-index their own narratives about the strategy activities at NAMFISA. Practices were found to be dominated by planning and discussions and praxis occurred predominantly at the meso level within NAMFISA. As the practice of strategy is entrenched, procedural strategising was found to be the most dominant of the strategising matrix, followed by interactive. No element of preactive strategising was observed. Planning was done by the executive and middle managers, mostly at annual strategic retreats. The use of external consultants was minimal. The research concluded with recommendations for further studies on strategy-as-practice research in Southern Africa.