A comprehensive systematic approach to legitimise the adoption and implementation of a technical service by a public entity
Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.
Using the case of an environmental monitoring service envisaged by the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), this research represents a comprehensive systematic approach to strategising for and justifying the adoption and implementation of a technical service by a public entity. The conceptual design of the research followed the strategic triangle for public management. Strategic analyses applied the Internal-Market-External (IME) model to understand the current and future business contexts of SAEON. Schemas for a generic business cycle and a value chain for the environmental research sector were developed. These new schemas aided strategic thinking about environmental research as a line of work within the public sector. Key findings were that competition is prevalent in the publicfunded environmental research sector and the key competitive force driving the sector is the availability of resources, which is largely determined by political financiers. A survey of the potential market has provided sufficient evidence that a market for environmental monitoring services does exist. This market was described in terms of market segmentation, drivers of decision-making, specific requirements of service providers, perceptions about current service providers and preferences for the type of service provider organisation. The results of the survey elucidated the public value and legitimacy of an environmental monitoring service and should have meaning beyond just South Africa in the context of the International Long-Term Ecological Research Network (ILTER). Analyses of the external environment of the proposed service confirmed that rising environmental pressures and uncertainty are globally concerning governments, society and the business sector. Since the service will eventually have to be fully paid for, the most powerful competitive force will be the clients. Conversely to the high competition of the public funded environmental research sector, current market failure was identified in the environmental monitoring services market since all the market segments expressed their general dissatisfaction with the services they received from a range of service provider categories. This leaves the door wide open for SAEON to enter the environmental monitoring market legitimately to deliver on the market’s expectations as a form of Blue Ocean Strategy in the public sector. The research found that the service will be an extension of SAEON’s core competencies, but should apply a low-cost strategy. Application of business tools such as business model design and key success factors provided clear guidelines on how the service should be implemented. Evidence was found that key theoretical constructs and management tools abstracted from commercial enterprises may be usefully applied, either individually or in combination, in the context of the public sector, albeit with some modification. The research demonstrated how core business tools such as the Five Competitive Forces, the Balanced Scorecard and Strategy Mapping can be made amenable to the public sector by replacing ‘profitability’ with ‘public value’ as the key objective for a public entity.