AbstractsBusiness Management & Administration

Closing the strategy execution gap in the public sector : a conceptual model

by Anton J. Olivier

Institution: Stellenbosch University
Degree: PhD
Year: 2015
Keywords: Public management and planning
Record ID: 1436339
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96486


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The importance of strategy execution to achieve organisational objectives is increasingly recognised. However, successful execution seems to remain problematic, not only in government, but also in the business world today. Because of the gap between strategy planning and execution, the required benefits stated in this planning are seldom realised. The consistent and generally poor execution of strategic plans in the public sector leads to poor service delivery. The objective of the research was to develop, test and further improve a conceptual model that can specifically be applied in public sector organisations (PSOs) to help close their strategy execution gap. According to the research hypothesis, strategy execution will significantly improve by using a simplified, dynamically integrated conceptual model as guide in tailoring strategy execution in each PSO. The qualitative Participative Action Research (PAR) methodology was used based on case studies in Namibia, including ministries, state-owned enterprises and local authorities. The literature gap was found to be the limited number of resources addressing strategy execution in the public sector and the limited number of sources presenting a multi-disciplinary or integrated model involving the whole organisation. Based on previous literature reviews and experience, the researcher developed his first conceptual model in 2006. After the development of four more models, the final MERIL-DE Model was arrived at in 2014 as conceptual model to help close the strategy execution gap in the public sector. Additional literature review and analysis of the public sector context, supported by ten case studies in Namibia over the eight year period (2006–2013), led to the MERIL-DE Model containing and integrating the nine vital strategy execution components. These are as follows: 1) Leadership, 2) Strategic Planning, 3) Project Management, 4) Alignment (with organisational elements), 5) Performance Management (containing the MERIL elements Measure, Evaluate, Report, Improve and Learn), 6) Drive (mostly internal motivation), 7) Engagement (through dialogue), 8) Risk Management and 9) Stakeholder Management. The first seven components were identified through literature review and the last two from considering the unique public sector context. Features of the model include the critical role of leadership, the need to clearly link strategy and projects, the important role of project management, the shorter review periods for both strategic and project plans, the need for an institutionalised quarterly strategy execution cycle and importance of engagement and motivated workforce. The MERIL-DE Model shows the need to build adaptive and sustainable organisations in a complex and challenging public sector. The conventional plan-and-execute processes have to be complemented by sense-and-respond capabilities through a system of Measure, Evaluate, Report, Improve and Learn – linked to Drive and Engagement – in which components are…