Impact of firmographics, expertise, constraints and constraint management methods on weddings organized by wedding planning firms in Nairobi County, Kenya.
Olanga, Christine Achieng
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Special events, particularly weddings have long been part of Kenyan culture. The organization of this key milestone involves elaborate budgets, numerous stakeholders and varied tasks. Pursuant to these elaborate demands, a large number of couples are turning to wedding planning firms to wholly or partially plan and execute the event. However, little appears to be known about management and practices within these firms in Kenya. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of firmographics, expertise, constraints and constraint management methods on weddings organized by wedding planning firms in Nairobi County, Kenya. Therefore, and the objectives of this study were to profile wedding planning firms, determine planning expertise, constraints to the wedding planning process and approaches to constraint management. The study was carried out in Nairobi County in Kenya and adopted a descriptive research design. A convenient listing of thirty one wedding planning firms formed the sampling frame. Research instrument was pretested in three randomly selected firms. Wedding planners from the remaining twenty eight firms were respondents for the main study. The researcher received a response rate of eighty two percent. Data was systematically collected through semi structured interviews. Quantitative data was summarized using descriptive statistics. Mann Whitney U-Test tested for significant differences in expertise and constraints among wedding planning firms based on the duration of operation firmographic. Multiple regression was used to determine the impact of constraints on the overall wedding planning process. All qualitative data was organized into themes, analyzed manually and conclusions drawn. The study established that wedding planning firms had been in operation for between one and fifteen years. Fifty two percent of firms had less than five years of operational experience. Additionally, firms had an average of six permanent and ten temporary employees. In descending order, respondent firms also organized conferences and conventions (85%), business and corporate events (75%) festivals (25%) and sports events (10%). The services offered to clients in descending order of popularity were identified as wedding execution and coordination (95%), design (87%), management of wedding finances (84%), research on event goals (57%) and measuring event success (53%). Fifty nine percent of wedding planners recorded above average performance in thirteen out of fifteen tasks within the wedding planning process. Sixty and ninety six percent of firms exhibited below average performance in monitoring standards and debriefing staff respectively. However no significant differences (p>.05) were noted in expertise in wedding planning based on the duration of operation. Variables that influenced the outcome of the wedding planning process were identified in descending order as lack of information to improve business performance (70%), poor cash flow (30%), unreliability of suppliers (26%), unavailability of facilities (23%), low demand for services (22%), lack of equipment of satisfy demand (17%), lack of materials to satisfy demand (8%), limited staff skills (8%), inadequate staff numbers (4%) and restrictive firm policies (4%). No significant differences (p>.05) were noted in constraints to the wedding planning process based on the duration of operation. The model derived using multiple regression further indicated that constraints identified accounted for 94.7 percent of the variance in the wedding planning process. Firms maximized resources and increased resource capacity to assure event success. The study therefore recommended that wedding planning firms continuously monitor and evaluate planning tasks in order to identify constraints. Furthermore, firms should develop policies to further assist in utilization, support and increased access to constrained resources.