Strategic responses by private hospitals in Nairobi to changes in external environment
Hospitals are an important source of critical health care services, providing both basic and advanced care for the population. Given that businesses do not exist in a vacuum, several factors influence the core conduct of the business as well as the objectives and strategies of the business known as the external environment; these are the social, legal, economic, political, technological and ethical factors. This study sought to investigate the strategic responses adopted by private hospitals in Nairobi to changes in the external environment. The study was guided by the following research objectives: to establish the strategic responses adopted by private hospitals in Nairobi to changes in the external environment and to establish the relative importance of the external environmental factors facing private hospitals in Nairobi. To achieve these objectives the study was guided by the following research questions: what are the strategic responses adopted by private hospitals in Nairobi in response to environmental changes? And what are the environmental factors influencing private hospitals in Nairobi? The study employed a cross-section research design. The study targeted 32 private hospitals in Nairobi using a semi structured questionnaire to collect primary data. The collected data was examined and checked for completeness and comprehensibility. Quantitative techniques were used to analyze the closed-ended questions where a computer program (SPSS software) was used. Qualitative techniques were used to analyze the open-ended questions. The study found out that the hospitals were affected by economic factors, political factors, legal factors, ecological factors and technological factors. Globalization, societal concerns over global warming, increase in poverty levels and ecosystem destruction influenced the adoption of strategies in the hospitals among other factors. Of these factors economic factors, political factors, legal factors, ecological factors and technological factors affected the hospitals to a great extent. The study recommends that the hospitals adopt collaboration and strategic alliances with other hospitals, competitive action to introduce new products and services among other measures to mitigate the challenges from the external environment. Since the study had various limitations it therefore recommends further research to be done with an aim of investigating the other strategic responses adopted by private hospitals in Kenya in response to environmental changes.