Emergent strategies for responding to the financial crisis : lessons for South African banks

Opolot, Janet Rose
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Throughout the twentieth century, corporations and business in general have seen dramatic regional and global financial crises. One such crisis was the global financial crisis of 2007, whose devastating effects were adversely felt by the banking industry globally. When this happens, effective use of strategies, emergent and deliberate, as a means of restoring the stability of operations in order to remain competitive, becomes crucial. This was proved during the `Asian financial crisis of 1998, which prompted many firms including banks to adopt emergent strategies to respond successfully. This study intends to explore how South African banks applied emergent strategies to respond to the 2007 financial crisis, and then recommend applicable emergent strategies, to the South African banking sector as a means of responding to future financial crises when they occur. Data on the use of emergent strategy during the 2007 crisis was collected from banking executives, senior managers and managers from strategy areas of the banks, such as strategy formulation and implementation. Qualitative methods were then applied to analyse the data. Findings indicate that, in response to the 2007 financial crisis, South African banks applied similar emergent strategies used by firms in past responses to previous financial crises. The study also identified responses used by South African banks which had not been used before. These findings demonstrate that emergent strategies provide banks with a strong means of responding to and remaining competitive when there is a financial crisis, and suggest that many of these strategies are applicable to the South African banking context now, and are likely to be in the future.
Banks and banking -- South Africa.Financial crises -- Economic aspects.