Enock Takudzwa Zenda, Austin Musundire, Obediah Mumanyi
Abstract: Little is known of the economic phenomenon called a cash crisis, with only a handful of nations having ever experienced it across the globe. More recently of which is the sub-Saharan nation of Zimbabwe where this crisis has manifested itself in a multitude of scenarios affecting Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and their ability to adapt strategically through organisational change management. This study explored the experiences, perceived magnitude and impact of the Zimbabwean cash crisis on SMEs while relating its findings to organisational change management theory and its applications. Qualitative and quantitative research methods were used to capture in-depth interviews, administer questionnaires and provide statistical analysis on 8 SME participants. Subsequent thematic analysis resulted in four themes; mistrust towards the banking system, significant appreciation for cash transactions, survival, change management and adaptation strategies and lastly more government assistance to SMEs. Most SMEs perceived conducting business during the persistent cash crisis an immense challenge to their operations, posing the threat of closure. They described a common need to be constantly transacting in cash (both local and foreign) to sustain their business and adapt ideal change management models that were highly reactive to their rapidly evolving and volatile business environment. In conclusion the study provides a detailed understanding of the experiences of diverse Zimbabwean SMEs during the cash crisis. SMEs change management theory and support programmes need to take into account the different realities, challenges and risks SMEs in Zimbabwe currently face.
Keywords: Organisational Change Management, cash crisis, small enterprises, medium enterprises, adaptation strategies