Strategic responses by Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) to changes in the external environment
Organizations‟ are open systems due to their dependency nature to their environment. Organizations should constantly scan their environment for any changes and respond accordingly or risk their existence. Strategic responses should create a fit between an organization and its environment, for survival and attainment of sustainable competitive advantage in a complex environment. KNCHR like any other organization in the public sector in Kenya has faced its fair share of challenges due to changing environment. This study addresses two main objectives that is, to identify changes in KNCHR‟s external environment and secondly, establish the various strategic responses adopted by KNCHR. A case study approach was used, where face to face interviews were undertaken with eight respondents using an interview guide. The study found that KNCHR had experienced key changes in its macro environment touching on political, economic, socio-cultural, environmental and legal factors. This led to internal changes which largely impacted on KNCHR‟s structure, systems and processes. One of the key external changes is the new legislative frameworks such as the Constitution (2010) that led to creation of Article 59 Commissions. This resulted to increased competition, increased rivalry among the three commissions, funding constraints, high staff turnover among others. Further, the study found that in response to these changes, KNCHR had to adopt key strategic responses such as competitive, restructuring, organizational leadership, culture change and information technologies to survive. In conclusion the study established that an organization whether in public or private sector must constantly adjust to its environment so as to create a strategic fit for survival. Further, that the changes in the environment automatically affects the organizational structure, leadership, decision making processes, culture as well as operations hence the need for formulation of adequate strategic responses. The study recommends the need for KNCHR to focus more on capitalising on the opportunities brought about by the new legislative framework such as its constitutional guaranteed independence, devolution, increased democratic space, and a comprehensive Bill of rights to increase its vibrancy instead of getting distracted by boardroom wars with the other Commissions. This study‟s limitations are that one, the study adopted a case study approach hence generalization of this findings to all other government institutions is limited. Further, the study drew its respondents from the top management level only that is not to mean the rest of the staff do not influence KNCHR‟s strategic direction. The study recommends for a similar study targeting the other two Article 59 Commissions to enable comparison of findings in addition to the need for a comprehensive research on the issue of high staff turnover at KNCHR.