Strategic responses to changes in the external environment by Universities in Kenya
Njiru, Christine Kaari
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Organizations are environment serving and environment dependent. The environment in which organizations operate is constantly changing with different factors influencing the organizations. Coping with the increasingly competitive environment has called on firms to rethink their strategies. Strategic responses ensure the survival of organizations at large and at the same time enhance relevance in the environment in which they serve. The purpose of this study was to establish the strategic responses to changes in the external environment by universities in Kenya. The objectives of the study were to determine the challenges facing universities in Kenya that emanate from the external environment and to establish strategic responses by the universities in Kenya to effectively deal with challenges that emanate from the external environment. The research design used was cross-sectional survey. The population of this study was all the 27 universities that were registered and accredited by the Commission of Higher Education As at June 2012. Primary data was collected using questionnaires to the senior university administrators either deans, heads of departments and deputy vice chancellors while secondary data was from secondary sources. The questionnaire was the primary data collection instrument. The data and information obtained through the questionnaire was coded and all the data entered into statistical package for social sciences and analyzed based on descriptive statistics. The descriptive statistics that were used included mean scores, percentages and ratios. The study findings indicate that universities in Kenya face various challenges including increased competition from local and international institutions of higher learning, escalating cost of education, lack of integration between curriculum and industry demands, low ICT integration, HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life threatening medical conditions, high cost of ICT facilities, faculty shortage, poaching of staff by other institutions, high rate of poverty in the country, increased pressure to admit more students and inadequate budgetary allocation. Strategic responses to cope with these challenges included forging links with other institutions and the corporate world in general, improving resource management and governance, increasing and diversifying the revenue base, safeguarding, upgrading and fully exploiting university assets and preparing a university strategic plan for the development and use of physical facilities. Another response included promoting research, consultancy, innovation and technology transfer. Following the findings from this study, the following recommendations are made. First, universities should develop strong linkages and partnerships that enhance mutual learning, research and innovation. Secondly, universities should monitor the developments in the global, regional and local social and economic systems to ensure that their training and development is in line with the current needs in the country and globally. Thirdly, universities should develop comprehensive ICT policies and strategies.
SponsorhipUniversity of Nairobi
School of business