Deliberate strategy and the tangible link to performance: lessons from South African higher education
De Klerk, N.
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The notion of deliberate versus emergent strategy has long been debated. However, researchers have failed to show which method will bring about an increase in organisational performance, which is the bottom line for business organizations. The study proposes that higher education institutions (HEIs) can be regarded as businesses, and thus, also have to be concerned about their performance within competitive environments. Using a quantitative methodology, we set out to explore the environments in four public HEIs in South Africa and sought information on their use of deliberate strategy. The study then compared their use of strategy with their performance (determined by their research outputs – an inarguable measure of performance in the current South African higher education landscape). The paper further compared two types of HEIs in South Africa, namely traditional universities and universities of technology. Statistical significance testing was done to determine mean differencebetween the various groups. The paper found that with regard to deliberate strategic management processes deployed, there were no significant differences between the types of institution. However, asignificant finding was that more deliberate use of strategic management was likely to result in higher research outputs in HEIs. The article concludes with recommendations to policy makers regarding their strategic management directives.