A competitive strategy for an automotive firm in preparation for Saudi Vision 2030
In recent years, many governments have announced transformation and reform plans, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Saudi Arabia announced its reform plan – Saudi Vision 2030 – during 2016. The strategic objective is to achieve a thriving economy. The plan is fundamentally focused on diversifying the economy, which would result in an increase in employment. The aim of this thesis was to develop a competitive strategy for a selected automotive distribution company in preparation for Saudi Vision 2030 to evaluate the readiness and willingness of a private sector company to deal with such transformation. Furthermore, ANT is applied to better understand the translation of actor and network relations in the company when transforming ALJ’s competitive strategy in preparation for Saudi Vision 2030. The study included a case study with the selection of a company from the automotive sector in Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, namely Abdul Latif Jameel Company Ltd. (ALJ). ALJ has a huge footprint in the Saudi Arabian automotive sector and can be representative of the sector in the region of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) or Middle East. The research followed a sequential mixed method design comprising a literature review (qualitative phase) and empirical case study (quantitative phase). The qualitative data were collected by conducting face-to-face semi-structured interviews with 32 senior actors in ALJ, while an electronic questionnaire was designed based on the results of the interviews to collect quantitative data from 205 ALJ employees. A combination of three strategic models, a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis, a PESTEL (political, economic, social, technical, environmental and legal) analysis, and a balanced scorecard (BSC) was applied and investigated. Concepts such as competitive environment and competitive intelligence were considered. These models and concepts were applied through the lens of the actor–network theory. The triangulated results of the qualitative and quantitative empirical phases, combined with insights gained from the literature review, facilitated the formulation of the new actor intelligence theory (AIT). It is recommended that ALJ utilise the conceptual model of AIT as its competitive strategy in preparation for Saudi Vision 2030. The focal point and assertion of AIT is that the human being is a fundamental actor and he/she should be empowered with three kinds of knowledge: (1) behavioural (interpersonal), (2) intellectual, and (3) practical (techniques). This would enable an individual to perform his or her role at a level that exceeds expectations. An actor can elevate his or her network so that it becomes a competitive environment. This applies successively to the rest of the networks of a particular firm or environment. The relationship in this sense is bi-directional from the top down as well as from the bottom up. Each direction strengthens or weakens the other. An actor therefore has either a positive or negative effect on his or her network. Whatever effect an actor has, it will necessarily extend to other actors. In order to prevail over the bad or negative influence, senior actors must evaluate (communicate and engage) his or her actors closely to be proactive for mitigation and remedy. The case study and the resulting theory contribute to the field in two ways, theoretically and practically. Theoretically, the conceptual framework of AIT creates a field and platform for further academic research. Practically, AIT can be presented and applied as a business model or a competitive strategy that centres on upskilling actor knowledge and upgrading his or her performance. Accordingly, the actor will become a key success factor to achieve a superior sustainable competitive environment. The AIT suggests that only human actors can make and steer the change and attain the sustained competitiveness by reinforcing and improvising actor knowledge and cognitive ability.