Strategic planning and performance of University of Nairobi
Strategic planning is effective in envisioning a desired future and translating this vision into broadly defined goals or objectives and a series of steps to attain them. Strategic planning is used to set priorities, focus energy and resources, strengthen operations, ensure that employees and other stakeholders are working toward common goals, establish agreement around intended outcomes/results, and assess and adjust the organization’s direction in response to changing environment. The strategic planning process assists organizations to match their capabilities and resources to a dynamic environment. Universities are operating in a very dynamic environment which creates new opportunities and challenges. Institutions that address the opportunities and challenges survive and prosper in the foreseeable future. The University of Nairobi has adopted strategic planning to successfully align itself to the ever changing environment. This study therefore sought to establish the influence of strategic planning on the performance of the University of Nairobi. The study used a case study design, which involved an in-depth investigation of strategic planning and performance of University of Nairobi. Primary data which was collected by use of an interview guide was used to meet the objective of the study. The respondents were College Principals, Deans and Directors. Since the data collected was qualitative in nature, thematic content analysis was used in the data analysis. From the results, the study established that the University of Nairobi has a strategic plan, which is reviewed every five years. The study also found that strategic planning helps the University of Nairobi to improve its performance. In addition, the plans and budgets in the strategic plan are used as the basis for the annual performance contracts. The use of a strategic plan has helped the University of Nairobi to improve on its competitiveness both locally and globally and hence it has been in a position to establish strategic partnerships and sign Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with other reputable Universities all over the world. The study therefore recommends that the management should thus take keen interest in each of the aspects of strategic planning in order to ensure that the accumulative and multiple effects are enhanced and harnessed in the entire strategic planning practice. The study also recommends that the University of Nairobi should ensure the inclusion of all stakeholders in the strategic plan. Stakeholders should include the teaching staff, non-teaching staff and the students’ body. The main limitations of the study was that some target respondents failed to give the required information as the information they offered could be used against them and results of this study were thus not generalizable because the University of Nairobi cannot be considered to be a representation of all the 22 public universities in Kenya. The study also used qualitative data. In qualitative research research quality is heavily dependent on the individual skills of the researcher and more easily influenced by the researcher's personal biases and idiosyncrasies. In addition, Data collection and analysis is often time consuming. The study suggests further studies on the influence of strategic planning on the performance of the public universities in Kenya. Further, the study suggests further studies on the strategic plan comparison in both public and private universities in Kenya. The study also suggests further studies on the challenges facing the implementation of the strategic plan in public and private universities in Kenya.