Implications of organisational capacity


on project delivery of SMMEs in South Africa:

A review of literature



By Ashley Majika

South Africa


In this study, organisational capacity is considered as the sum of organisational capabilities to perform functions that will deliver expected levels of performance; suggesting that organisations must be enabled to solve problems, set and achieve objectives, learn and adapt operations to attain set goals. Therefore, this research investigates the relationship between organisational capacity of South African SMMEs and project delivery. Through a review of literature, the qualitative study sought to address the increasing levels of project failure among SMMEs in South Africa and move beyond understanding the failures in the context of finances as has been researched in the past to an organisational capacity context. The theory of resources and skills was adapted as theoretical lenses to enhance understanding of the importance of resources and skills for an organisation to fulfil its business objectives and gain competitive advantage. The study’s findings reveal that SMMEs in South Africa lack the appropriate human resources with skills and innovative capabilities to enhance the organisation’s capacity for project delivery. Instead of focusing on financial limitations alone, the study prompts a broader view of the problem to incorporate organisational capacity of SMMEs.

Key words:    Organisational capacity; project delivery; small businesses; innovation; human resources; South Africa


Organisations require some sort of enablement in order to carry out actions that fulfil their mission or achieve certain goals. According to Audenis (2010), perfect fulfilment of organisational activities is possible by establishing matching capacity in terms of the right resources at the right time, determining how much of those resources is required, and taking the steps necessary to ensure that service level requirements are met. In order to generate adequate capacity to contain organisational activities, investment decisions should be centred on strategy creation, ideal structure setup, finance, facilities, skill and program leadership (Clutterbuck & Doherty, 2019).

To emphasise the importance of organisational capacity, the South African government has launched a number of initiatives to assist SMMEs in developing capacity. Supplier Development (SD), for example, is part of a company’s efforts to help SMMEs improve capacity under the Broad Based Economic Empowerment (B-BEE) program. Enterprise development, according to Morales-Pooe (2016), is an organisational approach in which small businesses with growth potential are integrated into the economic mainstream (i.e., the value chain system) of industries to which they would not otherwise have had access.

South African public authorities, conscious of the capabilities of SMMEs, have attempted to establish support for these fragile entities through different measures, including financial aid and empowerment programs, since the early 2000s (Darroll, 2015; Mukwarami & Tengeh, 2020). Despite their efforts, many South African SMMEs are failing (Lose, Robertson, & Tengeh, 2015) due to a lack of organisational capacity; this is due to a management problem, which, although vital for any firm, is much more so for the SMMEs. It is even more so when we consider how difficult it is for these SMMEs to properly channel and optimize their internal capabilities. Furthermore, in the current context of the pandemic Covid-19 crisis, which has harmed many organisations, SMMEs’ survival, sustainability, and project delivery ability are more important than ever, in particular by becoming more innovative and agile in order to better adapt to an increasingly complex, uncertain, and paradoxical world, but also by responding to a growing demand from employees who aspire to more “well-being” and “freedom” (Boubakary & Moskolai, 2021:4).


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How to cite this paper: Majika, A. (2023). Implications of organisational capacity on project delivery of SMMEs in South Africa: A review of literature; PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue VI, June. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/pmwj130-Jun2023-Majika-implications-of-organisational-capacity-literature-review.pdf

About the Author

Ashley Majika

South Africa


Ashley Majika holds MCOM PM (Master of Commerce in Programme Management) degree from Cranefield College in South Africa, Effective Directorship from Stellenbosch Graduate Institution, and Biomatrix- A Systems Approach to Organisation and Societal Change / Post-MBA Programme from Stellenbosch Graduate Institution. Ashley Majika can be contacted at ashleymaj@webmail.co.za