Strategic issue management practices by commercial banks in Kenya
Strategic Issue Management is a discipline that is gaining a lot of popularity and receives generous attention from scholars and professionals. It is a management tool that helps managers not only to manage but also take advantage of the opportunities arising out of the evolving business environment. The dynamism of the banking environment in the current times is posing a lot of challenges to all commercial banks in Kenya and for this reason, the researcher was propelled to study and determine whether Strategic Issue Management practices plays its role in contributing to effective management of the commercial banks in Kenya. Over the last several years, financial modernization, deregulation, industry consolidation, the rise of new institutions, shifting trends in borrowing and lending, globalization and emerging technology e.g. internet have significantly influenced and affected how commercial banks operate. The evolution of the banking industry has presented both challenges and opportunities for commercial banking institutions. Since commercial banks are in the business of taking risks, a pertinent question that comes to mind is, is there an effective system in place to counter unpredictable events that can sustain their operations and minimize the risks involved? The objectives of the study were therefore to establish the kind of Strategic Issue Management practices commercial banks in Kenya employ to strengthen their positions and the factors that influence those practices. Out of the 41 commercial banks in operation as at 31st December 2006, 40 banks responded to structured questionnaire which was used to collect the data. The result of the study revealed that 87.5% of the banks were practicing SIM techniques even though majority confirmed that it has not been fully adopted or effectively utilized to take maximum advantage of the opportunities in the banking industry. However, it is encouraging to note that majority of the banks considered strategic issue management a project worth investing in to a 'very great extent' by 62.5% of respondents, while 37.5% viewed it important to a great extent.