Strategy research

Techniques, tips and tools

Any research process involves diligent inquiry, seeking facts, principles, theories and/or applications. The ultimate goal is to extend the limit of knowledge. Business strategy is an evolving field of endeavour. Since time immemorial the early bird has been catching the worm. Today we call such opportunists "early-adopters". These astute practitioners pioneered the use of electricity above steam, the telephone over a telegraph, email over a post office and emarkets over exchanges. They eventually chose ecommerce over the traditional retail outlet. Early adopters justly reaped the rewards due to them. However, in the instantaneous communication environment of today the opportunity window is now a keyhole. Within a few months a new product or service is emulated, improved and marketed well below your cost price. Where are today's advantages to be found, and how can they be exploited?

In a recent PhD study at Stellenbosch University we examined how online firms make money. The application of internet technologies created commercial opportunities that far outstripped those of the electricity- or telephone-eras. We studied the evolving relationship between strategy and successful performance.

The internet has given rise to complex strategic challenges. Some astute practitioners however have been able to develop effective patterns of competitive behaviour and deliver results of lasting value. Sustainable value is created by innovation. Our findings revealed that customer-centred dynamism is the predominant strategy characteristic of a winning business.

Dynamic pliancy results from the dynamic capability of a firm. When effectively deployed it enables the business to become pliant in adapting to the demands of the market, a technology or a competitor. Pliancy results from adaptability as a business is altered or modified to fit environmental conditions. Successful networked economy firms have high dynamic pliancy scores. They maintain flexibility, are cautiously responsive, employ multi-skilled people, instil routines and remain agile. The findings of this study have direct application to South African firms as they strive for global competitiveness.

We continue to research new ideas and tools as they appear. In our book list and articles you can find literature on different aspects of strategy, technology, organisational development and other thought-leadership documentation. You can also download the entire PhD thesis if you wish.

2017 - 2020

Retirement Village - Institute Director assists community complex with accounts, management and strategy development.


Country-wide water delivery - Strategy Institute assists the Swaziland Water Services Corporation with their strategy for improving community access to water...
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Current discussion threads

  • Motivating IT staff
  • IT project failure
  • Business & IT alignment
  • Technology & poverty
  • Strategy in the public sector
  • The relevance of Porter
  • Technology and strategy





Recommended reading

  • Making sense of change management
  • eBusiness management
  • Good to great - Collins
  • Leading the revolution - Hamel
  • Alignment - Kaplan
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Current articles

  • Strategy and business models for SA's managers
  • Customer centricity and business success
  • What is strategic architecture
  • e-Business metrics
  • SA ecommerce
  • Mansfield thesis abstract