Browsing by Author "Kangombe, Anna Tusiloshenda"
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- ItemInnovation capability and adoption of innovation in Namibia's road freight transport industry(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2017-03) Kangombe, Anna Tusiloshenda; Khan, Firoz; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. School of Public LeadershipENGLISH ABSTRACT: Freight transport costs and prices in Namibia are among the highest in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. Yet, the country’s road transport development agenda is premised on infrastructure development with limited knowledge on the ability of road freight transport firms to utilize that capacity and competitively support economic transformation activities. While innovation is arguably a pillar of competitiveness and growth for countries and firms around the world, research has not attracted required attention on innovation capacity of firms in Namibia, including in priority development sectors such as transport and logistics. This study, which applied empirical mixed method survey design, combines a non-linear inputs of innovation capability model with the probit model of Diffusion of Innovation (DoI) theory to assess road freight transport firms’ ability to innovate in a low skilled, less regulated industry of a small developing economy. The findings of the research submits that overall, Namibia’s road freight transport firms have capacity to provide efficient transport services to the economy, but rewards and attitudes towards novelty are lower. With the exception of micro enterprises, size and age of firms do not significantly affect innovation behaviour as per theoretical predictions because in Namibia’s road freight transport industry, most SMEs are owned and or managed by experienced former employees of larger firms. In spite of high levels of innovation capability observed among firms, the idiosyncratic ability of some constructs appear to have eroded into mainstream competencies as the study distinctively identified intra-organizational learning as the only construct highly associated with firm performance. The manifestation of poor reward systems on employees’ willingness to share knowledge and participate in creative innovative activities was also observed as a critical, yet ignored organizational detail. In adopting technological innovations, the results found that senior managers, especially in the early phases of the adoption process, follow a ‘political man’ syndrome where ideas from the floor are overlooked causing a disconnect between adoption and actual utilization of innovation in service provision. For firms, the solution for moving away from merely ‘enabling’ employees to meaningfully ‘engaging’ them in the innovation process lies in the promotion of psychological and job related employee well-being. This is especially important because, despite high levels of intra-organizational learning (a construct that is strongly associated with firm performance), innovation capability in the industry has not strongly translated into efficient transport services, hence the country’s high transport prices. At policy level, this study recommends the introduction of protective compensatory measures accompanied by industry-specific incentives, which are currently lacking. The similarity of innovative behavioural traits between large, medium and small firms in the industry also calls for inclusive development support programs that are appreciative of micro size enterprises’ limited innovative capacity. By combining innovation capability and adoption of innovation based theories, this study pioneered a comprehensive application of firm-level innovation capacity assessment in Namibia. The new praxis aggregates innovation results and introduces an innovation results spectrum which comprises a firm’s generation capabilities (human factor), absorption abilities (technology factor), actual utilization (socio integrative effect) and firm performance (bottom line). In applying this approach, this study underscores the missing link between employees, capital and state in the provision of efficient road freight transport services and firm growth in Namibia.