Management training and management of strategic change at Kenyatta National Hospital
Public healthcare institutions in Kenya, including Kenyatta National Hospital, have been characterized by change management failure and poor customer satisfaction. Success of strategic change in other industries has been linked to management training. This study therefore sought to establish challenges facing strategic change management at Kenyatta National Hospital and to establish the role of management training in overcoming these challenges. This was a case study employing qualitative data. Data was collected through interviews with the Chief Executive Officer and his two deputies, the Human Resources Manager and two randomly selected heads of departments. Analysis was then done using content analysis and data presented in a descriptive format. The challenges facing strategic change at the hospital were poor government support, lack of finances, reluctance of staff and resistance to change. Lack of management skills and business acumen among workers was also reported as a challenge. All the respondents stated that some aspects of these challenges could be overcome by management training. Some of the reasons provided for this response were that workers find it difficult to understand the rationale and process of change. Some also added that highly trained and specialized personnel find it difficult to understand why they have to be involved in change processes. Creation of harmony in the unique setting of a hospital was also difficult without management training. At the operation level, training was deemed necessary in order to educate on quality service delivery, work layout and customer satisfaction. There were hardly any reported changes that were not attributable to management training. Indeed, the estimated extent to which every respondent thought that management training could help overcome challenges at the hospital was over 50%. The respondents suggested that management training could be offered in seminars, hiring of managers with a management background and learning from others. Some of the issues that could be addressed through training were provided as leading strategic change, quality service provision and improving working relations. Thus, there exist pertinent challenges facing strategic change at Kenyatta National Hospital. The respondents in this study view management training as likely to play a major role in overcoming these challenges. It may therefore be necessary to institute management training in this hospital and other public healthcare institutions in Kenya. This may partly provide a solution to the continuing failure of change management strategies.