“Strategy is the direction and scope of an organization over the long-term: which achieves advantage for the organization through its configuration of resources within a challenging environment, to meet the needs of markets and to fulfill stakeholder expectations”. Strategy plays a great role in Public Universities in that, Public Universities have progressively realized that effective service delivery to customers (students) and competitive advantage relies on implementing proper strategies. This has obliged Public Universities to enhance their professionalism and performance.
Strategy helps in: Competitive advantage Deepen the rationalization of the organizational structure and functions of Resource mobilization Capacity Development Many Public Universities in Kenya now go beyond one year budgeting and capital expenditure and are planning for long-term results focused strategies To achieve this focus they use robust strategic and operational planning processes e. g. the initiation of a 20-storey building at the university of Nairobi that will cost US$18 million. It is meant to alleviate the infrastructure nightmare that continues to thwart the university’s growth ambitions.
These strategic processes have had the benefit of allowing Public Universities to have linkages to national planning, accommodate the need to respond to customer/market priorities, and ensure accountability. Examination of some Public Universities provides insights on results-based management in action and on how results focus can transform performance. Strategic planning – as a framework for action – is one of the significant tools that has enabled Public Universities in Kenya to cope with far-reaching responsibilities geared to promote development.
Strategic planning requires the integration of professional knowledge and capacities, and the creation of organizational platforms. This enables Public Universities to promote the best practices and manage the development process through harnessing local resources, assets and opportunities to achieve strategic goals. The external environment of the higher education sector has also changed greatly over the past decade. The number of chartered universities both private and public has increased. For this reason proper strategies are necessary not just for competitive advantage but also to provide quality services to customers.
External environment refers to the major factors and forces outside the organization that have the potential to significantly affect the performance of an organization. Technological It refers to the current state of knowledge about not only Public Universities but universities in general. Technological environment can positively or negatively impact the overall success of an organization. Therefore in order to remain competitive, Public Universities must be up-to-date with current technological developments. Economic Prevailing economic conditions have great impact on the management practices in Public Universities.
Different economic factors such as inflation, interest rates, changes in per capita income etc affect the profitability and success of an organization. For example if the per capita income of people decreases, it will decrease their purchasing power which will ultimately lower the demand services. Due to lower demand, prices fall and the profit of a Public Universities shrinks. Legal-Political (Government) Legal-political element refers to the legal and governmental systems within which an organization must function.
There are various state and local government regulations which have significantly influence the overall performance of Public Universities. The government policy to increase higher level learning institutions to support Vision 2030 has led to an increase in these institutions. Similarly political stability and positive attitude of elected government official towards the business of an organization is very important for the organization’s progress and prosperity e. g the Kibaki regime as mentioned above. Socio-Cultural this are customs, norms, behaviors, societal values, beliefs etc.
Socio-cultural aspects are subject to change therefore Public Universities must adapt their practices to the changing expectations of the society. It is necessary to monitor the prevailing trend from time to time because such changes might offer new opportunities or pose significant threats. Competitors: There has been an increase in the number of higher level learning institutions. This is an increase in the number of other organizations that are engaged in similar business to those of a given firm. Competitors largely pose a threat to a given firm though some competition opens up opportunities.