Strategic management practices in flower firms in Kenya
The conditions of the business environment within Kenya have been very volatile especially in the last eleven years. The influencing factors include political, economic, climatic and technological factors. All the business organizations and individuals have a story to tell. Those in the floricultural industry have not been spared. Their woes have gone as far as those of any other industry if not worse. A good number of them have gone under while some are still in receivership. However, these conditions not withstanding, a number of them seem to be holding on and in fact flourishing, prompting the desire to establish the strategic management practices they have adopted in this environment. - This •study had one mam objective. This was to establish the strategic management practices within flower firms in Kenya. All the cut flower growing and exporting firms registered with Fresh Produce Association of Kenya (FPEAK) formed the population of the study. All the firms (101) were contacted. 16 companies returned the questionnaires duly completed. These 16 formed the achieved sample ofthe study. Data was collected through a questionnaire that was posted to the respective firms. Both closed as well as open-ended questions were used to gather data. The results indicated that strategy is largely informal in flower firms in Kenya. Strategy was found to exist in the minds of the top management, usually a single individual. The resulting strategy was thus intuitive, creative, -original and limited. This may be attributed to the nature of competition in flower firms. In any industry, competition, a key factor of the environment of organizations is a critical driver and influencing factor of strategy formulation. The competition in flower farming for export is global. Thus, flower firms do not perceive themselves strictly as competitors. Many of them use agents in their marketing. Once the produce reaches the auction in Holland, which is the main market, individual firms constitute very small units of the whole market as produce pours in from many other countries. In deed many firms indicated that they were too small to bother with strategic management. The study concluded that the practice of strategy in flower firms in Kenya is largely informal. The management of most of the firms have the strategy existing in their minds. - There is little formality involved and strategies are seldom documented. Future studies in this area can get more in depth information by adopting the case study approach.