It is a well-known fact that the strategy of an organisation is mandated by the environment that it operates in. It is also common knowledge that the current environment that organisations function in is far from stable. Organisations and their members are required to go through change if they are to perform at competitive levels in this turbulent environment, and as Robbins and Judge (2012) argue, radical change is sometimes needed. Organisations need to adapt to changing environments and Waddell, Cummings and Worley (2011) put forward that in order to cope with the challenges and opportunities they face, organisations have to confront the challenge of developing a suitable management style and culture that is appropriate for them.
While many companies will inevitably have to face a form of organisational transformation (OT), Waddell, Cummings and Worley (2011) argue that organisational development (OD), a collection of change methods that attempt to advance organisational effectiveness and employee well-being (Sinangil & Avallone 2001; Marshak & Grant 2008; cited in Robbins & Judge 2012, p. 263), is what many companies desire to engage in. The increasing scale and complexity of organisational change due to technological, political and social environments, and organisations themselves becoming more complicated and uncertain, has seen firms address OD from a strategic perspective (Jelinek & Litterer 1988; Buller 1988; Worley, Hitchin & Ross 1996, cited in Waddell, Cummings & Worley 2011, p. 20).
Lines (2004, cited in Robbins & Judge 2012) articulated that human and organisational growth, collaborative and participative processes, and a spirit of inquiry are valued by OD methods. The most critical resource a firm has, especially for producing innovation and gaining a competitive advantage, are its people, and the sustainability of a firm’s competitive advantage is largely dependent on the core competencies of its employees (Makhija 2003; Yeoh & Roth 1999, cited in Hanson et al. 2011, p. 71). It is difficult to disagree with this assertion; with researchers also arguing that the challenge for all organisations should be focused on managing current core competencies effectively whilst also striving to concurrently develop new ones (Abell 1999; Leonard-Barton 1995; McGrath, MacMillan & Venkataraman 1995; cited in Hanson et al. 2011, p. 71).
The primary change agents in most organisations are managers (Robbins & Judge 2012, p. 272), but other scholars recognise change is facilitated by a range of frontline employees (Gilley 2005; Kotter 1996, cited in Charles & Dawson 2011, p. 332). This study highlights the importance of organisations developing core competencies and capabilities which supports organisational learning and assists adaptation to changing environmental factors.
The Strategic Organisation
The overarching goal of every organisation is to achieve a competitive advantage which is the result of implementing a strategy...