Firm-Level Capabilities for Industrial and Economic Growth in South Africa


September 16, 2020

As part of BRG Institute’s partnership with the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), Dr David Teece delivered a masterclass seminar for South African CEOs on firm-level capabilities as “the missing link for industrial and economic growth strategy in South Africa”. Invited CEOs represented diverse sectors of the South African economy, from finance and resources to automotive and consumables. The presentation and interactive discussion centred around challenging existing paradigms of economic growth in the country, with a strong practical focus on discussing how to apply firm-centric and capabilities-led approaches to policy and practical interventions by managers and entrepreneurs. Participants heard how managers in firms, and the capabilities they have and develop, have the most significant impact on competitiveness, productivity and innovation for long-run growth in South Africa. Dr Teece also shared insights into the industries and global corporations that are pivoting and innovating effectively through the impact of COVID-19.

The CEO masterclass also covered major advances in research in both economics and strategic management, where the capabilities of firms play a significant role in the wealth and success of nations. The Dynamic Capabilities framework plays an important role in developing capabilities in firms operating in complex and uncertain environments, like the one South Africa faces today. Dr Teece, together with Dr Morris Mthombeni, interim dean of GIBS, reflected on the collaborative efforts between the state and business and the ongoing need for greater cross-sectorial investment into South African firm capabilities, with more research and better evidence into current situations and challenges.

A white paper entitled Firm-Level Capabilities: The Missing Link in South African Industrial Growth Strategy, authored by Dr Teece, Kieran Brown, Phil Alves and Dr Mthombeni, will be published next month.

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David J. Teece

Executive Chairman

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