The Unending Struggle for Relevance

(3 customer reviews)



“Fit for Purpose” will benefit all people who are running organisations irrespective of their size, scope or field of operation.

Students will find the book useful as reference material in their management and organisational development studies.

Employers and those who are in politics and are concerned with socio-economic and development issues will derive value from the book.

It will help frame strategic questions and conversations, throughout the entire organisation, in order to achieve commonality of purpose and to ensure that the organisation is “Fit for Purpose” over the course of its life cycle.

The book was inspired by the experiential reality that the core challenges impacting the growth and success of organisations are – the failure to understand the changes in the dynamic operating context and the need to adapt and respond in a way that ensures sustainability and success.

The book also tackles the organisational structure of the governing party, The African National Congress (ANC), and proposes a thesis that, due to conflicting ideological principles and perceptions within its Tripartite Alliance structure, it is not ideally organised for the purpose of governing in the post-apartheid era. It has long surpassed its contextual relevance and utility in facing and meeting the country’s contemporary developmental challenges and aspirations.

Since 2009, I have published several opinion contributions that discuss these topics in greater detail. The leadership challenge for organisations and governments alike is to reflect on whether their institutions are indeed “Fit for Purpose”, at all times.

Weight 0.4 kg
Dimensions 23.5 × 15.3 × 0.2 cm

3 reviews for The Unending Struggle for Relevance

  1. Jabulani Sikhakhane (Deputy Editor – The Conversation)

    “Peter Drucker, the late management guru, once observed: ‘A time of turbulence is a dangerous time, but its greatest danger is a temptation to deny reality.’ The Unending Struggle for Relevance, Thabang Motsohi’s new book, contains case studies of South African institutions, both economic and political, that have suffered immensely in recent years because they fell for the temptation to deny reality, their own internal reality as well as the reality of the environment within which they operate. In this book, Motsohi eloquently explains how institutions can create the contextual intelligence they need to survive the turbulent times and thereby become fit for purpose.”

  2. Prof. Lesiba Teffo

    The author is a patriot in pursuit of the vision and strategies that could divert South Africa from the ruinous trajectory it has been on in the past 15 years. There is universal concurrence even within the ruling alliance that the political rhetoric underpinned by archaic slogans and ideology no longer resonate with masses of the people.

    The first pandemic to hit our shores past 1994 was corruption and the elevation and celebration of mediocrity. The deployment rather than appointment of people on merit. The ‘dethroning’ of meritocracy in favour of cadre deployment. Evidence of this abounds in the book. There is no sphere of government and the social structure that is not affected and impacted by the plaque of corruption. The exposition is lucid and persuasive. Chapter 4 of the book: The Contradictions of Purpose and Governance at State-Owned Enterprises (SOE’s), enunciates the challenges of leadership, and the calibre of people necessary to turn organisations around, especially in the knowledge economy undergirded by science, engineering, technology and innovation.

    Thabang is not an unrealistic critic. in Chapter 9, he explores and envisions the strategic repositioning that can reignite sustainable and inclusive growth. As a leading organisational strategist, he is convinced that South Africa is endowed with adequate talent and capacity to become the economic powerhouse it is destined to be in the Continent.

    The book deals with complex organisational challenges lucidly and concisely that students in tertiary institutions, public servants, corporate managers, and political leadership would immensely benefit from. It is not fiction. It is informed by empirical evidence and is rooted in the existential experiences of the people of South Africa and beyond.

    Any student from any discipline will derive some form of benefit from reading this book, including people who are just into lifelong learning.


  3. Mlamuli Delani Mthembu (Leadership Coach, Facilitator, and writer)

    This book comes at a time when there is so much debate about leadership, management, and relevance of leaders in their organisation, their followers and more so their context. In this, the writer poses an important question about assurance of leaders: “The Unending Struggle for Relevance,” is about leaders who are not preoccupied with their own “unending struggle for Personal survival.”

    The above statements put Mr Motsohi as an insightful, inquisitive critic of context and as a scholar, teacher, contributor, and an active observer on matters of organisational life and growth. The writer sees common factors of life and change to be in the following areas:

    • Planning and Futures of organisations, departments, and propositions for future,
    • Research and Development that provides critical thinking, strategic conversation, and innovation,
    • Execution of plans to provide bridging of concepts and application, and
    • Purpose-Driven and vision aligned with focus.

    In this book, the writer emphasises the need to find fit for purpose, which is critical in the face of complexity, change and changing dynamics of the context. In this the emphasis is put on areas of contextual intelligence through discernment; leading from the future as it emerges, agility to meet the higher purpose, capacity to manage conversation, shared vision, defining moments of positioning with bravery, boldness and decisiveness.

    These matters highlight what the book calls leadership failures when there is greater absence of leadership discernment, failure to understand and respond to change, absence of development od scenarios for the future and alignment of skills and competencies to the need. Chapters 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 directly speak to the South African context and failures in SOEs, political system of the ruling party, and the State Capture experience. The writer makes valuable contributions in the earlier chapter by providing a “Fit for Purpose Methodology,”, sharing his perspectives for leadership and most importantly, looking at curriculum design at Universities of Technology.

    This is a book that is important to organisational leaders, managers, coaches and facilitators of change and transformation for organisations. The appendix at the end on leadership concretises a need to localise and make knowledge indigenous. This is a MUST-read book and a manual to refer to all the time.

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