Organizational culture and strategy implementation at Airtel Kenya
Strategy implementation has attracted much less attention in strategic and organizational research than strategy formulation or strategic planning. Strategy implementation is an enigma in many companies. The problem is illustrated by the unsatisfying low success rate (only 10% to 30%) of intended strategies. The telecommunications industry in Kenya has been rated as the fasted growing sectors in the last 5 years. With the rapid growth, the industry has shifted from having one mobile operator to having other players join in such as Airtel, Telkom. This has caused stiff competition to be stiff among the mobile operators hence causing them to have innovative solutions that will set them apart from the rest. One area where industry players can differentiate themselves is on creating sustainable internal environment that differentiates them from the competition. One of these advantages is the organizational culture. An organizational culture can become a unique market differentiator or a strategic advantage for an organization if deliberately designed to do so. Many organizations failures occur due to lack of implementation and not formulation of strategies and as a result studies have shown that implementation of strategy is critical. There is fierce completion within telecommunications industry in Kenya and Airtel Kenya finds itself in a place where its execution of its strategies is a top most priority to win over the market share. Airtel Kenya has evolved over time in terms of change of ownership that brings about different management styles and cultures. It has foreign investments which play a big role in defining the value system, structures and how work is done. The company also being foreign owned means it has differing cultures, norms and beliefs of the owners (founders) and those of the native Kenyans. It is important to understand the influence these cultural differences has on strategy implementation. Organizational culture is the shared values, beliefs and norms within an organization, and is the foundation from which strategy emerges. In order for strategy to receive sustained support, it must be aligned with organizational culture. Organization’s strategy requires a culture that is supportive of change. Company performances are greatly influence by how it executes its strategies. The study therefore was identifying the nature of organizational culture at Airtel Kenya and establishes the extent of influence of organizational culture at Airtel Kenya in the strategy implementation. The study was based on the Resource-Based View (RBV) Theory, Organizational Culture Model and Culture Dimension Theory. The study employed a case study research design which involved an in-depth investigation of a phenomenon – Airtel Kenya. Primary data was obtained through interviews from senior managers of different departments in the company. Data collected was analyzed using content analysis technique. The findings of the study established that Airtel Kenya has two dominant cultures, that is the Market Culture and the clan culture. Characteristics of Adhocracy and Hierarchy culture were also observed. The study established that organization culture has greatly influenced strategy implementation in a positive way at Airtel Kenya. It concluded that the multidimensional nature of culture, making smart managers aware of the reality that they should account all aspects of culture elegantly so that to apply its productive functions. Finally, the findings supply support for the logic idea of highly significant relation between strategic emphases in culture of an organization and its strategy implementation. The study recommended that communication policy to be improved and all the Airtel Kenya departments to be connected through intranet. It also found that culture cannot be ignored in strategy implementation. It recommended that Airtel Kenya should create higher levels of participation and involvement of members in the organization.