Strategic management in the Kenya Red Cross Society
Strategic management is the art, science and craft of formulating, implementing and evaluating cross-functional decisions that will enable an organization to achieve its objectives. It is the process of specifying the organization's mission, vision and objectives, developing policies and plans, often in terms of projects and programs, which are designed to achieve business objectives, and then allocating resources to implement the policies and plans, projects and programs. Strategic management seeks to coordinate and integrate the activities of the various functional areas of a business in order to achieve organizational objectives. Strategy implementation is normally evaluated to determine the effectiveness towards achieving the objectives. This study sought to determine the strategic management practices in Kenya Red Cross Society. The study was carried out to fulfill the following objectives, to establish the extent to which strategic management has been adopted in Kenya Red Cross Society, to determine the factors influencing the adoption of strategic management in Kenya Red Cross Society and to identify the challenges faced by Kenya Red Cross Society in applying strategic management. To achieve the above stated objectives, case study design was used. The study respondents were the top management staff of KRCS who are. the Chief Executive Officer, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer and heads of departments in Disaster Management, Health Care, Organizational Development and Finance and Administration. Interview guide was used to conduct personal interviews in order to collect primary data. For purposes of this study, content analysis was used in data analysis. The study revealed several factors which influenced adoption of strategic management practices in KRCS. They include, to strategically position KRCS in the NGO industry and to effectively and efficiently serve Kenyans, for purposes of sourcing for funds from local and international donors. Other factors are, to adapt strategies of the wider Red Cross movement and to also to align the organization with the National Development Goals in Kenya. Challenges faced by KRCS in implementation of the strategic plans emanate from both internal and external environments. Some of the internal challenges include o\crstrctchcd resources due to frequent and enormous occurrence of emergencies, budgetary constraints,difficulty in retaining volunteers for long periods, lack of clear understanding of the strategic plan by low cadre staff and volunteers and dealing with emergencies of all forms, hence little time allocated for evaluation. Challenges that emanate from external environment are political interference, poor infrastructure in Kenya, negative media publicity, very high expectations from the beneficiaries whose numbers are overwhelming and insecurity in some areas of Kenya such as Mt Elgon during the 2007 ethnic clashes. The research had some limitations. The researcher faced difficulties in getting KRCS staff spare time to meet and carry out interviews due to their busy time schedules dealing with emergency responses and reporting. This resulted to relatively shorter interview sessions than expected hence, failure to obtain in-depth information. Some respondents felt that they were giving out too much information and were at times hesitant to respond. This resulted, to some extent, in less detailed information than expected to complete this study. The study was also carried out within a short period of time and therefore, concentrated only on senior management of KRCS. The researcher feels that the study would have been richer if other staff and stakeholders were also interviewed. However, the findings are adequate to respond to the objectives of this study. The following areas are suggested for lurther research. Whereas the current study focused on responses from the senior management of the KRCS, future studies should focus on responses from the employees, volunteers, donors and beneficiaries. Future studies should seek to establish the nature, extent and adoption profile of strategic management practices within the private and public organizations in Kenya.
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