Challenges of strategic leadership in strategy implementation by the independent electoral and boundaries commission of Kenya
This research project was set out to address the objective of determining the challenges of strategic leadership in strategy implementation by the IEBC in Kenya. The study was carried out through case study focusing on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in Kenya. Primary data was collected from the respondents through interview guides and key informant interviews. A total of 16 respondents were targeted to be interviewed using interview guides as follows 3 Commissioners, 3 Directors, 5 managers, 5 Assistant managers/Coordinators out of which, 15 responded and 1 (one) did not respond. Secondary data from respondent organization, reports and past strategic plans was used to verify and validate the primary data. The data collected was analyzed using content analysis results presented analyzed to give information pertaining to the study objective. Research findings revealed that at IEBC strategic leadership is critical in addressing not only every day issues of the organization but also instrumental in directioning, resourcing and influence strategic performance of the IEBC. It also brought forth several challenges facing IEBC in the process of strategy implementation. These challenges included limited resources, management of diversity among staff, political interests and interference, voter registration and education, people’s perception that IEBC was incompetent, suspicion in management of electoral results, wide mandate covering the entire aspects of electoral process and delimitation of boundaries across the country and negative publicity. In mitigating the challenges, IEBC had adopted various strategies including strategies that had been adopted to mitigate the challenges included civic education among its staff and the general public to create awareness and enhance rights of the citizenry; carry out critical electoral systems reforms, enhance the communication strategy, management of public expectations, realistic costing of projects, dialogue, enhance capacity building and trainings of staff, eliminate bureaucracy, embrace proper planning, build strong corporate culture at IEBC, enhance job descriptions, clearly spell out roles and responsibility of each office and integration/synergy of departments to deliver as a single entity. The research recommends that IEBC takes strategic leadership in planning and implementation seriously and focus the entire team of staff towards attainment of the strategic objectives. The commission should carry out regular scanning of the environment to equip itself with the current trends in electoral process, use appropriate technology to deliver its mandate and enforce a code of conduct and ethics to be followed by staff and commissioners, employ some of the strategic management tools like balance score card, performance contracting and ISO standards for effective performance management which is linked with individual performance. This had the possibility to further reduce mistrust, suspicions and lack of coordination of the team leading to enhanced organizational output. The research findings therefore addressed the question under investigation and would be practical to the practitioners of strategic leadership and management and especially at IEBC in the provision and implementation of the strategic leadership.