Determinants of effective capacity in tertiary education institutions in Kenya
Tertiary education has always been an important priority in the public agenda. It is a repository and defender of culture, an agent of change in the culture, an engine for national economic growth, and an instrument for the realization of collective aspirations (Gerald, 1995). Furthermore, the public interest in tertiary education is generally present whether the delivering institutions are publicly or privately owned and/or are publicly or privately financed. However, the modern world of tertiary education is undergoing enormous challenges in various aspects such as expansion and diversification, fiscal pressure, wide markets, demand for greater accountability, greater quality and efficiency. This calls for the proper management of the institutions in order to cope with these challenges (Johnston, 1998). Hayes et al (2005) defines capacity as the level of activity or output that can be achieved (by an operation, facility or organization) in a given period of time under normal working conditions. Effective capacity refers to the volume that a workstation or process can produce in a given period under normal operating conditions. This allows for set-up times, breakdowns, stoppages, maintenance etc. To be able to manage capacity efficiently, the determinants of effective capacity in every organization need to be established. The study aimed at identifying the determinants of effective capacity in tertiary education institutions in Kenya and to establish the relative importance of the determinants. The study was a descriptive survey where data was collected using questionnaires with both closed and open ended questions. A total of 60 respondents from 30 tertiary education institutions in Kenya were interviewed and the response rate was 78%. Findings of the research indicated that there are many determinants of effective capacity in tertiary education institutions in Kenya. The most important were established as operational, facilities and human factors. Other determinants, in order from most to least important were process, external, policy, service, supply chain and other factors. Limitations of the study were that the respondents did not have enough time to fill the questions and some had a tendency to conceal some information. From the results, it is recommended that tertiary education institutions should seek to know the determinants of their effective capacity if they are to manage their capacity well.