Strategic issue management practices of savings and credit cooperative societies in Mombasa County, Kenya
This study focused on Strategic Issue Management (SIM) practices by Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies in Mombasa County in Kenya. Strategic Issue Management specialises in detecting surprise developments in the business environment through constant monitoring and surveillance; and execution of timely responses (Ansoff and McDonnell, 1990). The study was deemed necessary because the environments are full of surprises and instabilities the world over. Such instabilities include: political instability, traditional products, competition and capital base to mention but a few. Ansoff and McDonnell (1990) define strategic issues as forthcoming developments, either inside or outside of the organization that are likely to have an important impact on the ability of the enterprise to meet its objectives. They are developments or trends that emerge from an organization’s internal or external environment, perceived to have the potential to affect an organization’s performance (Ansoff, 1984; King, 1982). The issues require to be viewed from the context of strength, weaknesses, opportunity and threats of an enterprise (Ansoff and McDonnell, 1990:369). In fact, issue management has become established as a distinct business discipline, with proven capacity to add strategic value to organizations (Pearce & Robinsonl, 2005). Broadly speaking, issue management attempts to minimise surprises which accompany social and political change by serving as an early warning system for potential and environmental threats and attempts to promote more systematic and effective responses to particular issues by serving as a co-ordinating and integrating force within the corporation (David, 2005). Cooperatives in Kenya’s turbulent business environment have faced critical moments. Despite of their fundamental socio-economic role in Kenya, most cooperatives are faced with a number of challenges, such as: traditional products, leadership and governance issues, capitalisation, taxation, Information and Communications Technology, regulation and supervision, developing competitive business models, demand for loans, non-remittance of fees by members, forgery, HIV/AIDS and outreach issues. These among others have forced cooperatives managers to pause, ponder and devise ways to strengthen their enterprises. Thus the central challenge for cooperatives is to find constructive ways to build and retain competitive advantages in the market place. This is only possible if they incorporate good governance practices in their institutions (Sacco Societies Act, 2008). It is evident that Strategic Issue Management is very significant to a cooperative’s future. This is in line with what Perrot (2008) found out when he posits that tracking, monitoring and managing priority issues is necessary for a firm’s survival during turbulence. Today may not be the same as yesterday and tomorrow may be very different from today. It is therefore today more relevant than ever, to understand the dynamics of how to respond to strategic issues, due to the increasingly fast-paced changes in the globalized world (Kajanto, Keijola, Kunnas, Laamanen & Maula, 2006).