The South African Military in Transition: Part 1 – From Strategy Formulation to Strategy Formation

  • GM Louw
  • A Esterhuyse


By 2013, sufficient evidence had become publicly available to confirm what defence analysts had been suspecting for a while now: the military  effectiveness of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is deficient. This article proposes that this condition is due to strategic failure, brought about by the dynamic interaction between the preferred strategic management model of the organisation and its acquired strategic  culture(s). The study on which this article reports, further suggests that a design school strategic management model best explains the method towards the SANDF’s current condition of organisational entropy, but that its root cause actually lies in a dichotomous strategic culture. In combination, these two variables conspired to diminish the defence force’s  responsiveness to its operational context, resulting in the formation of inappropriate strategy that prevented the SANDF from achieving military effectiveness. While the authors consider the article to be hypothesis generating, it also has an exploratory dimension and paves the way for a validational study at a later stage. Part 1 therefore argues towards a strategic management model that could explain the SANDF’s strategy formulation process, its method of ensuring that strategic outcomes correlate with strategic intent, and ultimately its weakness in accounting for the external environment in realised strategy. This first part mainly employs inductive reasoning and draws its conclusions from an eclectic literary review that included business studies and dynamic systems theory.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2224-0020
print ISSN: 1022-8136