Impact of innovation on firm competitiveness in the milling industry in Zimbabwe – A case study of National Foods Limited. (2005 – 2010)
MetadataShow full item record
The universal conclusion from literature on innovation and competitiveness is that innovation results in competitiveness. Yet no matter how many innovation strategies a firm implement, if the firm does not deal with impediments to successful innovations, it can not enjoy competitiveness. This research is an assessment of the impact of innovation on firm competitiveness in the Milling industry in Zimbabwe. The research was centred on a single case study design of National Foods Limited. The objectives of this study included examining the link between innovation and competitiveness; determining whether competition is a powerful incentive for National Foods Limited to innovate, whilst at the same time assessing whether National Foods Limited has the appropriate conditions to utilise their innovations into competitiveness. The researcher also established the benefits that are brought about by innovations at National Foods Limited. Pragmatic data was collected through face-to-face interviews with middle and senior management who hold strategic and operational positions in the organization. Respondents included nine middle managers; seven senior managers; six departmental heads; and three directors. In-depth information was gathered from the respondents through the use of unstructured questions. The researcher used a qualitative research philosophy. The gathered data was analysed through Data Displays in the form of charts and content analytic summary tables. The findings of the study were that, there is a strong link between National Foods Limited‟s innovation and competitiveness. National Foods Limited failed to successfully enjoy the competitiveness that is supposed to be derived from innovation due to management‟s failure to manage change and poor communication of innovation strategies, as well as failure to adequately budget for and fund innovations. Hindrances also played their part; these included critical skills flight; failure to recognize and reward new ideas and entrepreneurship; lack of management commitment and nonalignment of innovation to overall organizational strategy. Based on these findings, the recommendations of this study are that National Foods Limited management should negotiate with public policy makers for flexible and favourable policies. It is also recommended that National Foods Limited should manage change in the best possible way or even engage outside agents to help manage change; make adequate budget provisions and funding for innovations; and implement policies that enable retaining of critical skills.