Original Research

Organisational agility, business best practices and the performance of small to medium enterprises in South Africa

Sithembiso Govuzela, Chengedzai Mafini
South African Journal of Business Management | Vol 50, No 1 | a1417 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajbm.v50i1.1417 | © 2019 Sithembiso Govuzela, Chengedzai Mafini | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 January 2019 | Published: 26 September 2019

About the author(s)

Sithembiso Govuzela, Department of Logistics, Faculty of Management Sciences, Vaal University of Technology, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa
Chengedzai Mafini, Department of Logistics, Faculty of Management Sciences, Vaal University of Technology, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa


Background: Only one in 10 newly established business enterprises survives for longer than 10 years in the South African business environment. The primary reasons behind the demise of these small enterprises include the lack of access to financing, lack of financial and managerial skills, lack of expertise, as well as economic factors such as poor sales and weak growth prospects. The new norm in industrial markets is that business organisations must possess a remarkable amount of agility to survive and succeed. Success is important for South African small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) given their significant contributions to the national economy.

Objectives: This study investigated the connection between organisational agility, business best practices and the performance of SMEs in South Africa.

Method: A quantitative approach using the cross-sectional survey research design was employed in which a structured questionnaire was administered to 564 randomly selected owner-managers of SMEs. Hypotheses were tested using the structural equation modelling procedure, which was conducted after implementing a confirmatory factor analysis to test the psychometric properties of the measurement scales.

Results: Hypotheses tests indicated that the four business best practices, namely, technology capability, collaborative innovation, organisational learning and internal alignment, exerted a significant positive influence on organisational agility. Also, organisational agility exerted a significant positive influence on business performance.

Conclusion: The study demonstrates that the performance of SMEs can be improved significantly through a proper alignment between the four business best practices considered in this study. Improving the level of organisational agility in SMEs is also important in stimulating their performance. The results of the study can be applied to assist SMEs to survive and flourish in turbulent and dynamic markets, where agile organisational abilities are a requirement for success.


Organisational agility; technology capability; collaborative innovation; organisational learning internal alignment; business performance.


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Crossref Citations

1. Organisational agility: systematic literature review and future research agenda
Mário Franco, Jaiandra Guimarães, Margarida Rodrigues
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