Survival strategies : changes to systems and controls in agricultural based businesses during a period of economic instability and hyperinflation in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe is currently experiencing unprecedented hyperinflation, which is impacting on the effectiveness and efficiency of businesses operating in this unstable economic climate. The current skewed economic policies are producing unusual threats for these businesses but are also providing unusual opportunities for exploitation. Some of these threats can be summarised as the breakdown of social infrastructure, which has worsened the effects on these operations of low world market prices for primary products. There is a large amount of strategic systems and controls theory about management in turbulent operating environments. Most of these focus on survival against fast moving competition from rivals and substitutes, rapid pace of technological change and similar developed country problems. Conventional strategic theory relies on stable currency and procurement environments and is not well adapted to operations in hyperinflation situations. This paper reports the results of a study of strategic changes introduced as survival mechanism by four businesses with a long operating cycle in primary agricultural production. The study examines the relevance of specific strategic theories to each of the respondents. The respondents questioned all expect that the economic situation will return to "normal" and that these strategic adjustments will be replaced with conventional theory soon thereafter.