The strategic planning practices of small to medium enterprises in the food and beverages manufacturing sector in South Africa
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This thesis examines the strategic planning practices of small to medium enterprises (SMEs), to establish how SMEs can be better enabled to practice strategic planning. The aim of this study is to use a qualitative approach to elaborate on the practice of strategic planning by SMEs in South Africa. Existing literature on the practices of strategic planning by SMEs in general and in the food and beverages manufacturing sector in South Africa was reviewed and synthesised. The synthesis informed the development of a theoretical strategic planning framework to frame the empirical study. The research followed the case study method and nine case studies were identified for the main empirical study using theoretical sampling. There were at least three case studies under each of the SME development stages on (i) very small, (ii) small and (iii) medium enterprises. The use of case studies enabled the collection of data through in depth interviews, observations and archival documents from the identified case studies. A pilot study was conducted to test, refine and improve the data collection and respective data analysis. The research established that majority of the SMEs (i) lack an appreciation of the benefits of practicing strategic planning and having a strategy, (ii) they also do not have the strategic management knowledge and skills to facilitate the practice of strategic planning on their own; The study further established (iii) why SMEs do not practice strategic planning and instead focus more on operational planning to achieve their short term goals and objectives, and (iv) highlighted challenges SMEs face in accessing support available in South Africa. The research contributes to knowledge on the practice of strategic planning by SMEs in South Africa. This is achieved through (i) the provision of a proposed strategic planning framework that SMEs can use to improve their practice of strategic planning (ii) provision of an accompanying guideline that SMEs can use to better understand how to use the proposed framework and (iii) a theoretical definition of strategy to standardise the view of strategy by SMEs utilising the proposed strategic planning framework.