Original Research

Towards a substantive theory of synergy

Gerhard Beneke, Willem Schurink, Gert Roodt
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 5, No 2 | a115 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v5i2.115 | © 2007 Gerhard Beneke, Willem Schurink, Gert Roodt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 February 2007 | Published: 28 February 2007

About the author(s)

Gerhard Beneke, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Willem Schurink, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Gert Roodt, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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The literature on synergy suggests that synergy is systemic and hence should be viewed in the context of processes, but that an integrative definition of this phenomenon does not exist. Against this background the article explains synergy as a concept describing the systemic processes whereby business units of diversified organisations may generate greater value through working as one system rather than working as separate entities. Through the application of grounded theory in a modernistic qualitative context and the use of a case study a substantive theory is presented for leading change towards synergy in a diversified organisation that has business units in three continents.


Synergy; competitive performance; diversification; co-ordination


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