A strategic planning process : a value creating imperative for service delivery enhancement in the publlic sector or a mechanism for compliance : a case study in the Department of Arts, Culture and Tourism.
Hlathi, Thabo Robert.
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As the first decade of the 21st century nears its end, it is undoubtedly clear that the challenges facing the world today are profoundly different in both character and prominence from those faced by various societies during the last decade of the 20th century. In part, this change derives from, among other things, the rapid growth in the use of information technology, intensification of globalization and its attendant consequences and the hyper-competitive business environment within which most, if not all, business organizations operate. These factors, together with the visible and unrelenting shift away from the 'industrial economy' to 'service economy', accompanied by an emphasis on human rights culture across the globe, are radically changing the way people as citizens and people as customers, individually and collectively, understand their role in this new emerging context. Coupled with this changing network of individual and collective psyches is the changing nature and role expected of both the business and government institutions. In response to these changing expectations, businesses and governments are continuously seeking to find creative and working ways to better respond to the needs of their stakeholders. As part of this developing dynamic, the government of the Republic of South Africa has sought to target its strategy planning process as one mechanism through which the enhancement of its service delivery endeavour may be achieved. Taking the cue from their national counterpart, provincial governments are following on the same footsteps. In view of the prominence enjoyed by the strategic planning process in government circles as a tool, firstly, for linking and integrating departmental budgets and service delivery intentions, and secondly, channel efforts and energies of public servants to enhance service delivery improvement for the electorate, the need to examine the strategic planning process becomes critical. This study, therefore, finds its conceptual origin in the context of this developing dynamic. To this end, the KZN Department of Arts, Culture and Tourism has been identified as a case to study whether the strategic planning process is understood, and therefore used, as a value-creating imperative for service delivery enhancement in the public sector, or mechanism for compliance. To accomplish its purpose, the study relies primarily on the responses received from interviews conducted with the employees of the Department of Arts, Culture and Tourism on the question of the department's strategy planning process. Coupled with this primary source of information, literature review was also conducted as a secondary source. This process is important in that it provides an opportunity for the researcher to conduct a comparative analysis, firstly, to establish whether what the department says it does strategically has any link or relation to what is contained in the literature on strategy. Secondly, it affords space to assess whether the rhetorical articulations of the department on its strategic planning process link back to what the department does in practice around the same phenomena. On the basis of this analysis and assessment, the study moves on to articulate, whether, in its own opinion, based on its findings, the strategy planning process is currently used by the department as a value-creating mechanism for service delivery improvement or a mechanism for compliance.