SURVIVING HYPERINFLATION WITHOUT CURRENCY: A PHENOMENOLOGICAL STUDY OF ZIMBABWEAN BUSINESS OWNERS

Robert Shanahan, California Intercontinental University, U.S.A.

Published in

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF BUSINESS RESEARCH
Volume 18, Issue 4, p73-80, December 2018

ABSTRACT

The phenomenological study sought to explore the experiences of business owners who survived Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation without currency from 2003 to 2008. A gap in the literature justified this foundational study to investigate nontraditional risk management methods: diversification, adaptation, and nontraditional forms of currency. Fourteen Zimbabwean businesses responded to an open-ended survey. Six concurrent themes were (a) fuel as nontraditional currency; (b) constant innovation; (c) unorthodox assets; (d) barter and trade to sustain operations; (e) diversification into other businesses; and (f) stable base linked to the U.S. dollar. Four recommendations included: (a) operations between parallel market and regulations; (b) tangible stable asset and currency base; (c) communal barter trade; and (d) multiple simultaneous strategies. The implications included the potential to (a) allow businesses to sustain themselves through a hyperinflationary situation; (b) change practices for international businesses dealing with financial crisis and hyperinflation; and (c) contribute to organizational change in countries experiencing hyperinflation and economic crisis. Zimbabwean business owners enhanced survivability during hyperinflation by implementing multiple adaptations, diversification, and nontraditional currencies simultaneously to successfully navigate the unstable economic environment. Future quantitative research is needed within and outside of Zimbabwe to continue examining business survivability amid hyperinflation using nontraditional risk management.

Keywords

survivability of hyperinflation, Zimbabwe, nontraditional currencies, adaptation, diversification


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