Factors influencing implementation of strategic plans in local authorities in Migori County
Kirui, Samuel Kipkorir
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While strategy is a practically central concern in contemporary management, its successful implementation remains an essential challenge for virtually any organization. In situations where the organization‟s environment is changing, the organization itself is faced with a need to change. The fact that local authorities in Kenya were in transition following promulgation of the new constitutional dispensation, required an appropriate background and detailed understanding on previous and existing strategic challenges so that a new shift was established. In rhythm with this, the study was intended to investigate the significant institutional factors that influenced the overall push of the authorities to their pre-determined strategic goals. The thematic focus was on organizational culture, structure, leadership and financial resources. Towards achieving this, the study purposively targeted a case of Migori County to form a basis for objective generalization. The county had five local authorities in whose purview the target population of 180 staffers was constituted. Sampling was conducted by proportional stratified sampling to generate ultimate respondents of 90 whose views and opinions led to the study‟s generalizations. From the identified respondents/informants, interviews and questionnaires were administered to collect the required data, which was processed and analyzed using descriptive statistics and content analysis. Organizational culture, structure, strategic leadership, and financial resources affected implementation of strategic plans in Migori County local authorities. Culturally, poor internationalization of mission and strategic content, lack of participation in making of rules and regulations, lack of operational manuals, insensitive employee development policies, and highly structured downward communication effected employees‟ mobilization to executing strategic plans. Organizational structures of the local authorities influenced implementation of strategic plans in the forms of task allocation, decentralization of authority, span of control, hierarchical length, employee co-ordination and integration, and structural flexibility. Management did not give employees required independence in performing their implementation duties. Also, authority was more centralized than decentralized, making employees wait for instructions from the top. In addition, spans of control were relatively big and difficult for efficient control. The long hierarchy derailed most of the essential decisions as information flow delayed to a large extent. Structurally, the authorities were more rigid than flexible as they hardly conducted reviewed regularly. Employee leadership influenced implementation of strategic plans through managerial involvement, employee support, downward communication, conflict resolution, and employee representation in key decision making. The extent to which management committed itself to strategy execution was not satisfactory. This yield employee resistance, meaning that management did not have super support from the shop-floor employees. Moreover, the downward communication was strictly formal and missing the requisite personal touch, while conflict resolutions did not meet the employees‟ benchmark. Finally, financial resources affected strategic implementation through budgetary allocations, financial controls, revenue efficiency, and external donor support.