Evaluating middle management's perceptions of the strategic management process within Ezemvelo.
The aim of this study was to evaluate middle management’s perceptions of the strategic management process within Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, a provincial public entity located in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa. The decision to embark on such research was due to the fact that the literature on strategic management processes thus far has focused primarily on top management and front-line staff. The performance of the South African public sector remains of great concern, despite the various strategic management models available and research that proves that good management of organisational processes (involving development, execution, monitoring and evaluation) invariably produces improved performance. Hence, this research further aimed to understand how middle management at Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife as a public entity view the organisation’s strategic management process, the business model, and their role within the strategic processes; which factors are most important to that level of management; and what their level of satisfaction with those factors is. Based on the reporting criteria used, 126 middle managers were identified and the entire population was invited to participate in the research. A quantitative research method based on postpositivist assumptions was selected, and a survey with a questionnaire containing a set of predetermined questions was administered. Four important results emerged. Firstly, middle management had a low level of knowledge on the organisation’s strategy. Secondly, middle managers considered the organisation’s business model to be unsuitable, and did not believe that value was being created and delivered efficiently, effectively and economically. Thirdly, while the majority of middle managers agreed that the strategic management process assists in focusing and improving performance within the organisation, they were unsure of their role. Finally, while middle managers identified team work across the organisation as the most important factor, it was in relation to team work that they experienced the least satisfaction. The main recommendations were to increase middle management’s knowledge of organisational strategy, clarify their roles, and promote team work within and between the organisational structures.